The Tuesday Count: Seven more measures barge onto ballot; court ruling frees up state's initiative process

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August 7, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

A downpour of ballot measures has engulfed the Tuesday Count. Seven ballot measure certifications recently made it to the ballot; all but one was sent by state legislatures in four states.

The count has bulked up to 162 ballot measures in 36 states.

In addition, today, August 7, is Primary election day for the state of Missouri. Thus, voters will finally get to chime in on Amendment 2, the public prayer measure.

Starting with ballot-certifications, Colorado voters saw the state's petition drive deadline pass on August 6. Although two measures submitted petitions to the Secretary of State, signatures are still being verified.

However, one more measure was added to the statewide 2012 ballot, compliments of the Colorado Legislature. Amendment S was placed on the ballot for the fall, which was proposed to change aspects to the state personnel system.

Specifically, the measure would implement certain testing methods for job applicants, restrict the number of finalists for a particular job or position, place limits on the hiring of temporary workers and require that applicants be residents of the state, according to reports. The formal title of the measure was House Concurrent Resolution 1001.

Meanwhile, although Missourians will vote on one measure today, another one was added to the statewide general election ballot. The measure was added as a citizen initiative and was placed on the ballot after a court ruling that decided that the Missouri Secretary of State had correctly written the language of the proposal. Also included in that ruling, was that the state auditor has the constitutional right to prepare the financial summaries of the measures. The state auditor's role in the initiative process had previously been legally questioned.

The ruling ends what was a tangled web in the state initiative process that began with a simple legal challenge to a potential tobacco tax initiative. That initiative, along with one other, is still having signatures reviewed to determine if they can be placed on the ballot.

The state of New Mexico also added three more measures to the statewide ballot, resulting in the state's final total of eight ballot measures. The three measures all relate to bonds, with Bond Questions A, B and C dealing with bonds for senior citizen facilities, public library resource acquisitions and higher education improvements.

Since 1998, every even-numbered year in the state of New Mexico has had bond measures on the ballot. With the addition of the three bond issues for 2012, New Mexico voters will have voted on a total of 31 bond issues since 1998.

Finally, Washington voters will head to the polls this November to find eight measures of their own to vote on after two advisory questions were added to the ballot.

The first of the two would delay the expiration of the pollution liability insurance agency's funding until July 1, 2020. The second measure would declare an intent to improve the long-term sustainability of the state budget.

An advisory question is a type of ballot measure in which citizens vote on a non-binding question. The largest difference between an advisory vote and any other type of ballot measure is that the outcome of the ballot question will not result in a new, changed, or rejected law or constitutional amendment. Rather, the advisory question symbolically makes heard the general opinion of the voting population in regard to the issue at hand.

Missouri primary election

As previously stated, the statewide primary election in Missouri is today, August 7, and voters will be deciding on one ballot measure, Amendment 2.

If passed, the measure would alter the state constitution by expanding the general statewide constitutional right to religious freedom. The measure specifies that citizens have the right to express their religious beliefs through worship "in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools." The measure also mandates that public schools display the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Read more about this measure in Ballotpedia's preview article.

Quick hits

Proposals with recent activity

Oregon ballot measures receive formal number and title: The Oregon Secretary of State has finished verifying signatures for submitted ballot initiatives and has numbered the qualifying measures. Voters this fall will see nine total measures of varying types, two measures are legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, four are initiated state statutes, and three are initiated constitutional amendments. The nine are counted beginning with Measure 77 through Measure 85 and have each received their official ballot title. For more information on these measures, click here.

Initiative supporters in North Dakota gear up for deadline: According to reports, four ballot proposals are preparing to submit signatures on the August 8 deadline. The four proposals cover diverse topics, including: farming and ranching, oil taxes, animal cruelty, and a smoking ban. Those same reports also state that supporters of the North Dakota University Nickname Amendment have not yet decided whether or not to submit their proposal.[1]


Four states host local election today

Today, August 7, in the states of Washington, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, residents will decide on several local issues.

In Washington, fifteen counties have items on their election ballot. One notable measure is a vote in King County concerning the local youth center. The measure seeks to increase the current property tax rate in order to help pay for rebuilding and refurbishing the current center. Those in favor believe the facility badly needs upgrades to ensure that services are up to current standards. On the other hand opponents state that funds could be used elsewhere and higher taxes lead to further burdens on residents.

In Ohio, thirty counties have posted information about issues on their ballots for the election. A measure in the Buckeye Valley School District will let voters decide on a combined income tax and bond measure option. The income tax would go towards school operational costs and the bond would go towards paying for a new school facility as well as renovation coats.

In Michigan, forty counties posted information about local issues for the August 7 ballot. A notable measure is in the city of Detroit where the Detroit Institute of Arts is seeking to have its own permanent levy to fund services and programs. Those in favor of the levy have stated that with a dedicated levy, the museum would not have to worry about funding. Opponents have stated that those who use the museum should pay and that it would not be beneficial to residents to have further tax increases in the city.

In Missouri, several counties have posted election information, and in Springfield. two proposed charter amendments are of significance to future petitions in the city. One seeks to change the signature requirement amount for proposed petitions in the city. The amendment would make it so that there would need to be signatures from 7 percent of all total registered voters for a petition to be valid. The current requirement is 10 percent of voters who participated in the last election. Opponents to the amendment have stated that this would result in a more difficult path to the ballot for initiative proposals, while proponents have stressed that this will encourage those wanting to place issues on a future ballot to work harder for the extra signatures.

Results for these measures will be posted on Ballotpedia as soon as they are reported by County officials.

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

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Arkansas legislature orders study on initiative process: Following the disqualification of thousands of signatures for proposed ballot initiatives, the Arkansas House and Senate committees on state agencies and government affairs voted for a study on the laws and procedures related to the initiative process. Reportedly, a number of complaints were raised by critics claiming that there are no repercussions for political campaigns that submit high numbers of invalid petition signatures. According to some legislators, one solution may be to prohibit campaigns from paying signature gatherers. According to the Associated Press, over two-thirds of the names submitted for some of the proposals were thrown out as invalid.[2]

Michigan Emergency Manager Referendum officially back on the ballot: Following a contentious court battle, a narrow 4-3 vote by the Michigan Supreme Court on August 3 placed the referendum back on this fall's ballot. According to reports, Justice Mary Beth Kelly, who wrote the controlling opinion, was the only justice who felt the font sizes were correct. Three other justices did not share that exact opinion but believed that "substantial compliance" with the law regarding the petition process was enough and voted to qualify the measure. The court's remaining three justices felt that strict compliance with the law is necessary and voted to keep the issue off the ballot.[3]

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