The Tuesday Count: First component of 2012 ballot measure analysis shows initiative increase

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December 4, 2012

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By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

Every year after a general election takes place and voters chime in on multiple statewide ballot measures across the country, Ballotpedia conducts an annual ballot measure analysis. In this analysis, aspects such as ballot measure type, initiative certification rates, campaign contributions, and ballot topics are closely examined.

With still no activity from 2013 ballot measures and very little developments to report on, the Tuesday Count report will shift focus this week to the completion of the first part of Ballotpedia's analysis of 2012 ballot measures.

The first part examines the types of measures on the ballot, and the change from 2012 to the last even-numbered year election - 2010.

Below is a summary of citizen initiative changes and legislative referral changes from 2010 to 2012.

Citizen initiative changes

See also: Chart of 2012 ballot measure changes

Nine of the twenty-six I&R states did not have any citizen initiatives on their 2012 ballot. Of the thirty-nine total states with measures on the ballot, twenty-five were initiative and referendum states. The following were I&R states that had ballot measures in 2012, but none were citizen initiatives: Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming. The ninth I&R state, Mississippi, had no measures on the ballot whatsoever.

  • A total of thirteen more citizen initiatives appeared in 2012 than in 2010.
  • The following statistics include veto referendums.
# of initiatives in 2010 # of initiatives in 2012 Change between the two years
Totals: 50 63 +13

Legislative referral changes

See also: Chart of 2012 ballot measure changes

In total 2010 featured 134 legislative referrals, while 2012 featured 125. 2012 had 9 fewer referrals on the ballot than 2010. Oklahoma (-4) and Florida (+7) had the most significant changes in the number legislative referrals on the ballot.

Of the thirty-four states that featured legislative measures on either 2010 and/or 2012, not a single one featured a double digit number of referrals on both the 2010 and 2012 ballots.

  • Three states did not have legislative referrals on the ballot in 2012, but did in 2010. The states included: Vermont, Tennessee, and Iowa.
  • With two measures in 2012, Minnesota doubled the total of ballot measures it has seen seen since 2000.
  • The following statistics include automatic ballot referrals and advisory questions.
# of referrals in 2010 # of referrals in 2012 Change between the two years
Totals: 134 125 -9

See more of this analysis, by state, here.

Quick hits

Michigan joins host of states facing possible marijuana legalization: According to reports, supporters of legalizing marijuana in Michigan are looking at another possible drive to get the issue on the ballot. These same sources, however, report that the first step in the campaign will be introducing several bills in the state legislature next year. Though it is doubtful the legislature will pass any bill decriminalizing the substance, supporters believe it is necessary to garner out of state interests and donors. Voters in Michigan approved marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2008.[1]

Debate over same-sex marriage heats up in Illinois: Illinois House Bill 5170, known as the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, may receive a vote from the state legislature in January 2013. The bill, introduced by Representative Greg Harris, would amend current laws regarding marriage in Illinois to include same-sex couples. At the same time, however, voters could be looking at a possible constitutional amendment banning the practice. Senator Bill Haine, who opposed the bill allowing for same-sex civil unions in the state, is pushing for such an amendment - an amendment he believes supporters of same-sex marriage should support because it will allow for public input. Of the issue, he said, "We could have a great debate among our citizens."[2]


Removal of mayor via recall election leaves Michigan city in a tangled web

The city of Troy is at odds with the state of Michigan over how to proceed following the recall of former mayor Janice Daniels on November 6. After voters removed Daniels from office, the city council chose councilman Dane Slate to serve as interim mayor. According to Troy's city charter, Slate will serve until Troy's next regularly scheduled mayoral election, which is slated to take place on November 5, 2013. However, according to Michigan state law, Troy must hold a special election on February 26, 2013 to fill the mayor's seat.

On November 30, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson sued the city of Troy over how the city is handling the mayoral vacancy. Johnson said, "Troy residents have the right to choose the city's mayor in February, and the attorney general and I will see that that happens." The state's lawsuit will be heard on December 12 by Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford-Morris. At that hearing, Langford-Morris could immediately order the city to hold the election. A special recall election is projected to cost Troy taxpayers from $50,000 to $100,000.

The Tuesday Count Spotlight highlights notable developments from local ballot measures across the country as well as international ballot measures.

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Fate of two voter approved measures in Alabama up to the courts: Just days before the general election, an individual representing the Alabama Association for Judeo-Christian Values filed a lawsuit challenging Amendment 9 and Amendment 10. Though unofficial vote totals show both measures as being approved, the Alabama Secretary of State has not certified the results. This means that there remains time for the courts to rule on the suit and declare the vote unconstitutional and throw out the ballots.[3]

Michigan lawmakers respond to emergency manager law's defeat: Though a court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, on what will happen to existing emergency managers, Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers are moving fast to find a replacement for the law. Though the governor would like to see a viable replacement for the vetoed law, he, reportedly, did say that the new one should acknowledge voters' feelings. Sources report that the governor would like to see a draft finished before the end of the "lame duck" period, though he adds, "I’m not sure when I would expect to see something passed. I would think it could be possible to see what the legislation looks like sometime in the next week." One suggestion for a replacement program was to allow localities in financial trouble to request a manager from the state.[4]

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According to reports, what states so far may consider the issue of same-sex marriage on future ballots? Click here to find out!

A new update will be released later this month. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard