The Tuesday Count: Constitutional convention, "Fighting Sioux" mascot topics of newly certified measures

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March 20, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

Two more measures have been tacked on to the Tuesday Count total, with one proposal being twenty years in the making. While the count rose to 76 ballot measures in 28 states, registered Ohio voters will decide on a ballot question with deep implications regarding the state constitution.

In the Buckeye State, a constitutional convention question appears on the ballot every 20 years. The question asks voters whether to create a convention to revise, alter or amend the state constitution. The last time a constitutional convention question appeared on the ballot in the state was in 1992. That measure was defeated. Of the four constitutional convention questions that have been previously placed on the ballot in Ohio since 1932, none have ever been approved.

In 2010, four constitutional convention questions were on statewide ballots. Of those four, only one obtained a majority of the vote. That measure, approved in Maryland by state voters, did not result in a convention.

The measure, according to the state constitution, needed to have the approval of those who turned in an election ballot for the position of Governor and not just the majority of those who simply voted on the measure. Reports stated that the proposal fell short and a constitutional convention would not be held. Only 48% voters who voted for the position of Governor voted 'yes' on the question, essentially voting down the measure, according to preliminary figures from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

This week's other ballot certification came from the state of North Dakota, where a competitive brawl is taking place surrounding the University of North Dakota's use of the "Fighting Sioux" mascot. On March 13, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced that the signature verification process was complete and the North Dakota University "Fighting Sioux" Referendum was qualified to appear on the June 12 ballot.

According to Secretary Jaeger, 14,901 names of the 16,824 that were submitted were validated, which put referendum supporters 1,449 signatures ahead of the 13,452 that were required.

Though the measure is certified to appear on the ballot in June, it is still not entirely clear that the referendum will make it that far. In February the North Dakota Board of Higher Education filed a lawsuit with the state aiming to keep the question off the ballot. The state Supreme Court is currently reviewing the lawsuit.

In other news, Kentucky voters may see a ballot measure relating to redistricting when they flock to the polls this November. The state legislature is currently reviewing the proposal after the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the state's legislative districts on February 24.

The measure would set new standards for the process of redistricting for the Kentucky Legislature. Specifically, the measure would require the general assembly to remain in session without pay if it fails to complete redistricting by April 15. The April 15 date is the mandatory deadline to end a state legislative session in even-numbered years.

The measure was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on March 14, 2012 with a vote of 9-0, sending the measure to the full state senate for a vote. If the measure is approved by that chamber, it would then be sent to the Kentucky House of Representatives for a similar vote.

Gambling is also at the forefront of the ballot measure world, with that particular topic being considered in Rhode Island. Although Rhode Island voters are already going to be served up one casino measure on their fall ballot, the state legislature is trying to hand them a second helping.

Featured campaign quotes:
Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support
Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system.[1]

Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition
State Representative Jason Murphey
When you take the governor out of [the parole] process [for non-violent crimes] the people of Oklahoma have no one to hold accountable...[1]

On February 29, 2012, the House Finance Committee endorsed putting a question on the ballot that would authorize casino games at Newport Grand.

The measure is similar to the other casino amendment already on the ballot that would authorize casino games at Twin River. This sent the proposal to the full chamber for a vote. The state house then voted to approve the measure with a tally of 69 to 3, sending it to the Rhode Island State Senate. If the senate approves the bill, it would then be decided by the public.

Quick hits

Proposals with recent activity


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SPOTLIGHT:Four states to host April 3 elections
In two weeks, the states of Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin will all hold local elections on April 3.

In Colorado and Florida, just one measure will appear on a local ballot. However in Wisconsin, thirty-seven counties will vote on local ballot issues, mostly dealing with school bonds and taxes.

  • Some notable non-school issues in Milwaukee County will be voted on by twelve municipalities. They will vote on two issues concerning the county board - whether to reduce the number of board members by half, as well as make their job a part time position. Though the questions are just advisory, those in favor of the Board being reduced are hopeful county officials will take the residents' vote seriously.
  • Additionally, there will be a total of thirty school issues decided. Most ask residents to allow for levy increases and exceed set revenue limits so that schools have more available funds for operational costs.
  • Another notable school measure in the Beloit School District area is seeking approval of a bond in the amount of $70 million. The bond money would go towards general facility improvement and maintenance costs as well as building additions to a few of the schools in the district.

Also, today in Illinois residents throughout the state will vote on varying local issues ranging from electricity aggregation to city and county tax issues. An estimated 391 measures are on county ballots throughout the state.

Click here for a full list: March 20, 2012 ballot measures in Illinois
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A recent ballot measure certification in Nebraska deals with what political topic?
Click here to find out!
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BALLOT LAW UPDATE

Ninth Circuit upholds distribution requirement: On March 14, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Nevada's distribution requirement. The decision in Angle v Miller comes after two successful challenges, each resulting in changes to the state's requirement. For more on the history of Nevada's distribution requirement, click here.[6]

  • The full decision in the case can be found here.

Nebraska repeals residency requirement: On March 14, the Governor of Nebraska, Dave Heineman, signed Legislative Bill 759 into law. The bill repeals the state's residency requirement--a law that prohibits out-of-state residents from gathering signatures for state ballot measures. The restriction was declared unconstitutional last year in Citizens in Charge v. Gale.[7][8]

  • Official bill information can be found here.

WA Court Upholds Liquor Measure: On March 19, Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Warning reversed his decision invalidating Initiative 1183. The measure, passed in 2011, privatized liquor sales and also allocated $10 million dollars for public safety efforts. Warning initially held that these two provisions together violated the state's single-subject rule. However, he was ultimately persuaded to reverse the decision given the connection between liquor regulation and public safety. Opponents will likely appeal the decision.[9]

A new update will be released on March 28, 2012. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard

References