Difference between revisions of "2010 ballot measure litigation"

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* [[Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)|Amendment 8]] appeaerd on the [[Florida 2010 ballot measures|November 2, 2010 general election ballot]]. On [[BC2010#September|September 10, 2010]] Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.<ref>[http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/judge-clears-class-size-amendment-for-florida-ballot/1120916 ''St. Petersburg Times'',"Judge clears class-size amendment for Florida ballot," September 11, 2010]</ref> In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."<ref>[http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/judge-keeps-class-size-amendment-on-the-ballot-908888.html?cxntcid=breaking_news ''The Palm Beach Post'',"Judge keeps class-size amendment on the ballot; teachers union to appeal," September 13, 2010]</ref> An appeal was filed but after being heard by the [[Florida Supreme Court]] the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.<ref>[http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/sc10-1784.pdf ''Supreme Court of Florida'',"(Florida Education Association vs. Florida Department of State) ruling," October 7, 2010]</ref>
 
* [[Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)|Amendment 8]] appeaerd on the [[Florida 2010 ballot measures|November 2, 2010 general election ballot]]. On [[BC2010#September|September 10, 2010]] Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.<ref>[http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/judge-clears-class-size-amendment-for-florida-ballot/1120916 ''St. Petersburg Times'',"Judge clears class-size amendment for Florida ballot," September 11, 2010]</ref> In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."<ref>[http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/judge-keeps-class-size-amendment-on-the-ballot-908888.html?cxntcid=breaking_news ''The Palm Beach Post'',"Judge keeps class-size amendment on the ballot; teachers union to appeal," September 13, 2010]</ref> An appeal was filed but after being heard by the [[Florida Supreme Court]] the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.<ref>[http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/sc10-1784.pdf ''Supreme Court of Florida'',"(Florida Education Association vs. Florida Department of State) ruling," October 7, 2010]</ref>
  
:: ''[[Florida Health Care Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)]]''
+
:: ''[[Florida Healthcare Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)]]''
  
 
* [http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/FloridaBallot.pdf Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court)] - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.<ref>[http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Voters_Sue_Florida_over_Misleading_Ballot_Language_100701 ''AllGov'',"Voters Sue Florida over Misleading Ballot Language," July 1, 2010]</ref> [[Bill McCollum|Attorney General Bill McCollum]] has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said [[Scott Plakon|Rep. Scott Plakon]].<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GN59J05.htm ''Associated Press'',"4 voters challenging Fla. health care amendment," July 2, 2010]</ref> On [[BC2010#August|August 31]] the [[Florida Supreme Court|state's high court]] upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.<ref name="CSMAug31"/>
 
* [http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/FloridaBallot.pdf Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court)] - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.<ref>[http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Voters_Sue_Florida_over_Misleading_Ballot_Language_100701 ''AllGov'',"Voters Sue Florida over Misleading Ballot Language," July 1, 2010]</ref> [[Bill McCollum|Attorney General Bill McCollum]] has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said [[Scott Plakon|Rep. Scott Plakon]].<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GN59J05.htm ''Associated Press'',"4 voters challenging Fla. health care amendment," July 2, 2010]</ref> On [[BC2010#August|August 31]] the [[Florida Supreme Court|state's high court]] upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.<ref name="CSMAug31"/>
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===Missouri===
 
===Missouri===
:: ''[[Missouri Health Care Freedom, Proposition C (2010)]]''
+
:: ''[[Missouri Healthcare Freedom, Proposition C (2010)]]''
  
 
* A lawsuit was filed in [[BC2010#June|late June 2010]] in the Cole County Circuit Court in an attempt to block Proposition C from appearing on the ballot. According to reports the lawsuit argues that the proposed measure violates the [[Missouri Constitution]] because of the way - as a {{lrcafull}} - in which it was certified for the ballot.<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GH46E82.htm ''Associated Press'',"Lawsuit challenges Mo. health care referendum," June 23, 2010]</ref> Specifically plaintiff cite a constitutional prohibition against bills containing multiple subjects. Originally the measure addressed procedures for "insurance companies to voluntarily dissolve. It was amended to include a section stating that people cannot be compelled to have health insurance or penalized for paying their health bills with their own money."<ref>[http://www.ky3.com/news/local/96987149.html ''Jefferson City News-Tribune'',"Lawsuit challenges Missouri referendum on national health care law," June 23, 2010]</ref>
 
* A lawsuit was filed in [[BC2010#June|late June 2010]] in the Cole County Circuit Court in an attempt to block Proposition C from appearing on the ballot. According to reports the lawsuit argues that the proposed measure violates the [[Missouri Constitution]] because of the way - as a {{lrcafull}} - in which it was certified for the ballot.<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GH46E82.htm ''Associated Press'',"Lawsuit challenges Mo. health care referendum," June 23, 2010]</ref> Specifically plaintiff cite a constitutional prohibition against bills containing multiple subjects. Originally the measure addressed procedures for "insurance companies to voluntarily dissolve. It was amended to include a section stating that people cannot be compelled to have health insurance or penalized for paying their health bills with their own money."<ref>[http://www.ky3.com/news/local/96987149.html ''Jefferson City News-Tribune'',"Lawsuit challenges Missouri referendum on national health care law," June 23, 2010]</ref>
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* [[Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)|Amendment 8]] appeaerd on the [[Florida 2010 ballot measures|November 2, 2010 general election ballot]]. On [[BC2010#September|September 10, 2010]] Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.<ref>[http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/judge-clears-class-size-amendment-for-florida-ballot/1120916 ''St. Petersburg Times'',"Judge clears class-size amendment for Florida ballot," September 11, 2010]</ref> In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."<ref>[http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/judge-keeps-class-size-amendment-on-the-ballot-908888.html?cxntcid=breaking_news ''The Palm Beach Post'',"Judge keeps class-size amendment on the ballot; teachers union to appeal," September 13, 2010]</ref> An appeal was filed but after being heard by the [[Florida Supreme Court]] the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.<ref>[http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/sc10-1784.pdf ''Supreme Court of Florida'',"(Florida Education Association vs. Florida Department of State) ruling," October 7, 2010]</ref>
 
* [[Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)|Amendment 8]] appeaerd on the [[Florida 2010 ballot measures|November 2, 2010 general election ballot]]. On [[BC2010#September|September 10, 2010]] Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.<ref>[http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/judge-clears-class-size-amendment-for-florida-ballot/1120916 ''St. Petersburg Times'',"Judge clears class-size amendment for Florida ballot," September 11, 2010]</ref> In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."<ref>[http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/judge-keeps-class-size-amendment-on-the-ballot-908888.html?cxntcid=breaking_news ''The Palm Beach Post'',"Judge keeps class-size amendment on the ballot; teachers union to appeal," September 13, 2010]</ref> An appeal was filed but after being heard by the [[Florida Supreme Court]] the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.<ref>[http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/sc10-1784.pdf ''Supreme Court of Florida'',"(Florida Education Association vs. Florida Department of State) ruling," October 7, 2010]</ref>
  
:: ''[[Florida Health Care Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)]]''
+
:: ''[[Florida Healthcare Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)]]''
  
 
* [http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/FloridaBallot.pdf Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court)] - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.<ref>[http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Voters_Sue_Florida_over_Misleading_Ballot_Language_100701 ''AllGov'',"Voters Sue Florida over Misleading Ballot Language," July 1, 2010]</ref> [[Bill McCollum|Attorney General Bill McCollum]] has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said [[Scott Plakon|Rep. Scott Plakon]].<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GN59J05.htm ''Associated Press'',"4 voters challenging Fla. health care amendment," July 2, 2010]</ref> On [[BC2010#August|August 31]] the [[Florida Supreme Court|state's high court]] upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.<ref name="CSMAug31">[http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0831/Florida-voters-can-t-strip-down-Obama-health-care-bill-judge-rules ''The Christian Science Monitor'',"Florida voters can’t strip down Obama health-care bill, judge rules," August 31, 2010]</ref>
 
* [http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/30/FloridaBallot.pdf Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court)] - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.<ref>[http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Voters_Sue_Florida_over_Misleading_Ballot_Language_100701 ''AllGov'',"Voters Sue Florida over Misleading Ballot Language," July 1, 2010]</ref> [[Bill McCollum|Attorney General Bill McCollum]] has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said [[Scott Plakon|Rep. Scott Plakon]].<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9GN59J05.htm ''Associated Press'',"4 voters challenging Fla. health care amendment," July 2, 2010]</ref> On [[BC2010#August|August 31]] the [[Florida Supreme Court|state's high court]] upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.<ref name="CSMAug31">[http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0831/Florida-voters-can-t-strip-down-Obama-health-care-bill-judge-rules ''The Christian Science Monitor'',"Florida voters can’t strip down Obama health-care bill, judge rules," August 31, 2010]</ref>
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===Colorado===
 
===Colorado===
  
:: ''[[Colorado Health Care Amendment (2010)]]''
+
:: ''[[Colorado Healthcare Amendment (2010)]]''
  
*On [[BC2010#June|June 21, 2010]] the [[Colorado Supreme Court]] ruled 5-2 in favor of allowing the currently proposed amendment to circulate petitions. Specifically the decision concluded that initiative met the state's single subject rule and noted that the initiative's title "Right to health care choice" was not "misleading" or "an impermisible slogan."<ref>[http://www.lawweekonline.com/2010/06/health-care-choice-bill-gets-ok-from-colo-supreme-court/ ''Law Week Colorado'',"‘Health Care Choice’ Initiative Gets OK From Colo. Supreme Court," June 21, 2010]</ref>
+
*On [[BC2010#June|June 21, 2010]] the [[Colorado Supreme Court]] ruled 5-2 in favor of allowing the currently proposed amendment to circulate petitions. Specifically the decision concluded that initiative met the state's single subject rule and noted that the initiative's title "Right to health care choice" was not "misleading" or "an impermisible slogan."<ref>[http://www.lawweekonline.com/2010/06/health-care-choice-bill-gets-ok-from-colo-supreme-court/ ''Law Week Colorado'',"‘Healthcare Choice’ Initiative Gets OK From Colo. Supreme Court," June 21, 2010]</ref>
  
 
===Missouri===
 
===Missouri===

Revision as of 18:34, 9 March 2014

Note: A lawsuit may be included in more than one section of this article.
See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2010

Post-election invalidation

Alaska

  • A lawsuit that was filed by Planned Parenthood during the week of November 23, 2010 in order to block the state parental notification law got its ruling on December 13, 2010. The measure, which was on the August 24, 2010 primary ballot, forbids a minor from getting an abortion without a doctor informing at least one parent before moving forward with the procedure. The proposal also includes enforcing legal penalties on doctors who perform abortions on minors without consent of the minor's parents. Although Superior Court Judge John Suddock ruled that the measure should stand, he stated that doctors should not go to jail for failing to comply with the new law.[1][2]

Arkansas

See also: Arkansas Interest Rate Limit, Issue 2 (2010)
  • Arkansas's Issue 2 passed during the general election but on November 29, 2010 opponents filed an appeal.[3] The appeal marks the second effort in a pre-election lawsuit. In the 11-page ruling before the election, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Mary McGowan rejected arguments against the measure, and decided not to disqualify the amendment from the general election ballot. The lawsuit argued that the measure violated single-subject law and that the proposal combined three separate issues into one measure, sidestepping the limit on Legislature to refer only up to three measures in an election year.[4] The Arkansas Supreme Court, who also heard arguments, previously dismissed the case.[5]

California

  • With regard to the Santa Rosa Sales Tax Increase, Measure P, in the wake of Measure P's victory at the polls, Santa Rosa resident Michael Hilber filed an election complaint with the California Secretary of State’s office. Hilber said in the complaint that Measure P should be voided because the ballot wording was "flawed and unenforceable" because it asked voters whether the city should "enact a one-quarter cent sales tax for eight years." According to Hilber, they should have asked for a "one quarter of a percent" sales tax. According to Hilber, "One quarter of a cent and one quarter of a percent are two entirely different things."[6]

Florida

See also: Florida Legislative District Boundaries, Amendment 5 (2010) and Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)
  • On November 3, 2010, hours following the November 2 general election, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Rep. Corrine Brown, opponents of Amendments 5 & 6 announced that they were suing to block the measures. Both lawmakers argued that the measure was unconstitutional. According to their statement, they argued "The reason is simple: because traditional redistricting principles, such as maintaining communities of interest or minority access districts, will become entirely irrelevant if Amendments 5&6 are implemented, primarily because of the Amendments’ requirement of 'compact districts.' Certainly, minority communities do not live in compact, cookie-cutter like neighborhoods, and so district 'compactness' would defeat the ability of the state Legislature to draw access and majority-minority seats, since minority communities would become fragmented across the state."[7][8] Both state representatives previously challenged the measures in May 2010. However, in late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to two both citizen proposed redistricting initiatives - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6. The lawsuit was filed November 3, 2010. The case is Brown v State of Florida, southern district, 1:10-cv-23968.

Maine

See also: Maine Oxford Casino Initiative, Question 1 (2010)
  • Maine Question 1 opponents announced on November 3, 2010 that they planned to call for a recount of votes on the proposed measure. The measure, as of November 4 unofficial counts, passed by 51%. According to state law, the group had until November 9 at 5 pm to file the request for the recount.[9] On November 9, deadline day, opponents filed petitions with more than 150 signatures to official request a recount.[10] According to reports, if a recount had not been pursued a legal challenge would have been filed. "I don't think you can write a public law for private gain," said a spokesperson of Casinos No!.[11][12] Casino supporters and investors, however, said they are confident the vote would be upheld.[10] The recount began December 2, 2010. The recount was called off on December 13, 2010.[13]

Maryland

See also: Maryland Orphan's Court Judges in Baltimore Amendment, Question 3 (2010)
  • During the general election, Maryland voters elected Ramona Moore Baker for the position of judge in the Orphans' Court. Ramona Moore Baker is not a lawyer, according to reports, and the Maryland Attorney General's office issued an opinion stating that the amendment should prevent Baker from taking that office. Baker stated on November 3 that she planned to sue on the grounds that the measure was unclear. She stated that the proposal did not define "Orphans' Court" on the ballot. She argued that voters believed that the court only deals with children who have lost their parents, and not with estate and probate problems.[14] A lawsuit has not been filed.

Missouri

See also: Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A (2010)
  • A month following voters' approval of Proposition A, supporters of the earnings tax in St. Louis and Kansas City initiated efforts to overturn the voter-approved measure. According to reports, they argued that the measure was unconstitutional. The case is pending and a hearing date has not yet been set. Specifically, supporters argue that the measure does not provide funding for the required elections set by Proposition A. The elections, they said, could cost up to $500,000 each.[15]

Oklahoma

See also: Oklahoma Voter Identification Measure, State Question 746 (2010)
  • A lawsuit was filed on November 16, 2010 in Tulsa County District Court challenging the passage of the measure, stating that statewide question interferes with the "right of suffrage by those entitled to such right." The measure was filed by James C. Thomas, who also filed a similar lawsuit challenging State Question 751 the previous week. According to Thomas, a Tulsa attorney and a University of Tulsa professor, the measure implements limits on the right to vote, and is unconstitutional. Thomas also stated that the proposal violated the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The lawsuit, according to reports, was filed on behalf of Delilah Christine Gentges, a Tulsa County resident. Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry is listed as the sole defendant.[16]
See also: Oklahoma State Question 751 (2010)
  • On November 9, 2010, a lawsuit was filed in Tulsa County District Court against the measure. James C. Thomas, a Tulsa attorney and University of Tulsa law professor, filed the lawsuit. According to Thomas, the measure violates free speech, which is held in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the free speech clause of the Oklahoma Constitution. Thomas stated, "This English only takes away the right to speak of all public officials of Oklahoma. They cannot render service ... in any language other than English."[17]
See also: Oklahoma "Sharia Law Amendment", State Question 755 (2010)
  • With the passage of the measure, Muslims in the state planned for action against the measure in court. According to reports, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Oklahoma argued the measure was unconstitutional. Muneer Awad, executive director of the group, filed the lawsuit on November 4, 2010. On November 29, 2010, an injunction was issued by U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange on the measure which will continue to bar the law from taking effect in the state. The injunction will also allow Miles-LaGrange to consider arguments from both sides of the lawsuit. According to the order, "The court finds that defendants have presented no evidence which would show the amendment is justified by any compelling interest or is narrowly tailored." Muneer Awad will now ask that the court issue a permanent injunction on the measure. The outcome of the lawsuit could be appealed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.[18]
See also: Oklahoma Apportionment Commission Measure, State Question 748 (2010)
  • Clark Duffe, vice-chairman of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, filed a lawsuit on January 24, 2011 with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the measure. The former independent candidate for the 5th Congressional District requested that the court reject the measure, which was approved by voters back in the general election. Before the measure was placed on the ballot and approved, the commission was comprised of three members: the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General and state Treasurer. With the approval of the measure, the commission increased to seven members: three Democrats, three Republicans and the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma acting as the non-voting chairman of the commission. This, according to reports, is where Duffe took issue with the effects of the measure, stating that it discriminates against independents. According to the lawsuit, "The voting class is recognized to include Democrat voters, Republican voters and independent voters. When one or more of the class is given more rights than the other class members or one or more of the class is discriminated against then the U.S. Constitution, due process of law and equal protection of law are violated."[19]

Washington

Washington Supermajority Vote Required in State Legislature to Raise Taxes, Initiative 1053 (2010)
  • In late July 2011 Washington House Democrats filed a lawsuit arguing that the supermajority vote required for tax increases is an unconstitutional limit on legislative authority.[20] The suit was filed in King County Superior Court with League of Education Voters and he Washington Education Association listed among the plaintiffs.[21]

Post-certification removal

Alaska

Alaska Parental Notification Initiative (2010), Planned Parenthood of Alaska and Susan Wingrove vs Craig Campbell, Lt Governor, State of Alaska et al

California

  • Deborah Bress, an opponent of the 49ers stadium measure, filed a lawsuit during March 2010, claiming that the city attorney's analysis of Measure J was biased and understated the city's financial contributions to the proposed stadium project. According to Bress's lawsuit, "The total for Santa Clara as a direct subsidy for the stadium is $114 million, without bond and loan interest. This number should appear in the ‘impartial analysis.’” The purpose of the filed lawsuit is to completely remove Measure J from the June ballot, or at least have the city change the title and ballot language. Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy, who is the city's attorney, stated, "The city does not believe that the suit has merit."[25]
  • On August 24, supporters of Proposition L asked John Arntz, director of elections for San Francisco, to remove Proposition M from the ballot. The grounds given by Proposition L supporters as to why Proposition M ought to be taken off the ballot revolve around whether or not the San Francisco Board of Supervisors held a required "second comment period" before voting to put Proposition M on the ballot.[29]
  • After having been certified for the ballot, a Siskiyou County Measure A (November), the "City of Mt. Shasta Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance", was removed from the ballot by Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer on August 12. She said she was removing it "due to alleged procedural errors and violations of elections code, including a changing of initiative language and improper filing of documents and fees." Supporters of Measure A filed an appeal of Setzer's decision in Siskiyou County Superior Court. In addition to a procedural dispute about who the appropriate election official was with whom to file the initiative language before circulation, Siskiyou County claimed in its court filings that Measure A would have been unconstitutional because, they argued, it violated the "Doctrine of Preemption." The Doctrine of Preemption says that no ordinance can be valid if it duplicates, contradicts or enters into an area fully occupied by general law.[30]

Florida

Florida Redistricting, Amendment 7 (2010)
  • On May 21, 2010 proponents of Amendment 5 and 6, citizen initiatives, filed a lawsuit to remove Amendment 7 from the statewide ballot. The suit was filed in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee by Florida State Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Democracia Ahora as well as former Republican comptroller Bob Milligan. Citizen initiative supporters argue that the legislatively-referred amendment is a "poison pill" specifically designed to divert Amendments 5 and 6. They argue that the ballot title and summary are misleading and is hiding the measure's "true purpose."[31] In a statement Rep. Dean Cannon said Amendment 7 means exactly what is said and that the lawsuit was trying to argue "that the intent matters more than the plain meaning of the words."[32]
    • On July 8 a circuit court judge ruled the measure off the 2010 ballot. According to reports, the ruling will be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out the proposed measure. The court ruled that the measure was also misleading because it did not highlight to voters the effect on the state's district requirements and because it would undermine the state's current requirement that districts be "contiguous."[33][33]
Florida Legislative District Boundaries, Amendment 5 and Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6
  • On May 24, 2010 U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart filed a lawsuit against Amendment 6 in Leon County Circuit Court. Balart said,"Amendment 6 is riddled with inconsistencies and, if passed, would set unworkable standards in drawing districts." Both U.S. Representatives had previously testified against Amendment 6. Ellen Freidin, FairDistricts chairwoman - sponsors of Amendment 5 and 6, said the lawsuit by the congressional members was aimed at "playing games." Amendment 5, also a proposed redistricting measure, is not directly cited in the lawsuit. Freidin added,"They clearly haven’t read the language of our amendments. We specifically have addressed their concerns."[34] But both Brown and Diaz-Balart argue that Amendment 6 is not only misleading but would dilute minority voting powers in the state.[35] In late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to two both citizen proposed redistricting initiatives - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6.[36]
Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)
  • Amendment 8 appeaerd on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot. On September 10, 2010 Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.[37] In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."[38] An appeal was filed but after being heard by the Florida Supreme Court the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.[39]
Florida Healthcare Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)
  • Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court) - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.[40] Attorney General Bill McCollum has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said Rep. Scott Plakon.[41] On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.[42]
Florida Property Tax Limit, Amendment 3 (2010)
  • The Florida AFL-CIO and Jacksonville resident Brian K. Doyle filed a lawsuit challenging proposed Amendment 3. Both argue that the title and summary of the amendment are flawed. Specifically they said that the text does not mention the purchase date. The proposal would give people who haven't owned a home for at least 8 years an addition, temporary homestead exemption. The exemption would only apply to residences purchases on or after January 1, 2010. Additionally, plaintiffs argue that the title and the summary conflict because the title states that the exemption applies to "new homestead owners," while the summary states that it applies to "a first-time homestead." The provision, however, allows for previous homeowners to qualify.[43] On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out the proposed measure. Specifically, the high court ruled that the proposed Amendment 3 was misleading because the ballot language did not clarify to voters that the tax break applied only to property bought after January 1, 2010.[33][44]

Missouri

Missouri Healthcare Freedom, Proposition C (2010)
  • A lawsuit was filed in late June 2010 in the Cole County Circuit Court in an attempt to block Proposition C from appearing on the ballot. According to reports the lawsuit argues that the proposed measure violates the Missouri Constitution because of the way - as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment - in which it was certified for the ballot.[45] Specifically plaintiff cite a constitutional prohibition against bills containing multiple subjects. Originally the measure addressed procedures for "insurance companies to voluntarily dissolve. It was amended to include a section stating that people cannot be compelled to have health insurance or penalized for paying their health bills with their own money."[46]
Missouri Dog Breeding Regulation Initiative, Proposition B (2010)
  • Karen Strange of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan that challenges the approved ballot language. The term "puppy mills" is at the center of the challenge. "The Humane Society intentionally uses the term 'puppy mill' because they know it infuriates people," she said. However, Strange also questions whether the language details the actual legislation being proposed.[48]
    • On August 13, 2010 Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled to uphold the ballot language for Proposition B.[49] Specifically, the judge ruled that the ballot summary drafted by Secretary Carnahan was "neither insufficient nor unfair."[50]

Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A (2010)
  • On August 13, 2010 Galen Beaufort, the Kansas City attorney, filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court against Proposition A. Challengers argue that the proposed measure is unconstitutional and are asking the court to remove the measure from the November 2010 ballot.[49] Specifically the lawsuit said the measure violates the state's single-subject rule, fails to make necessary distinctions between personal and business versions of the tax and mandates elections without funding them.[51] On September 20 Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that Proposition A would remain on the 2010 ballot. In a two-page ruling Judge Beetem ruled that the allegations should be raised in a lawsuit following the November elections and rejected the challenges raised by Kansas City officials.[52]

Montana

Montana Loan Interest Rate Limit (2010)
  • On August 17, 2010, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the Montana interest rate limit measure could stay on the November ballot, after The Montana Consumer Finance Association requested that the court remove it from the ballot. The measure was allowed to stay on the ballot after a 4-2 vote to allow the measure to be decided by voters, but to alter the for and against statements and the statement of purpose on the ballot. The group requesting that the measure be taken off the ballot did so due to their concerns that the Montana Attorney General, Steve Bullock, did not comply with state law, because ballot statements prepared by the AG's office were not impartial. According to Justice Brian Morris, "We decline petitioners' request to overrule the attorney general's legal sufficiency for I-164, or to tamper with the text of the initiative itself. The attorney general acted within his considerable discretion in drafting the ballot statements and fiscal statements for I-164."[53]

South Dakota

South Dakota Vote by Secret Ballot, Amendment K (2010)
  • The South Dakota State Federation of Labor filed a lawsuit in May 2010 to either rewrite Amendment K's ballot summary or remove it from the ballot. "The bottom line is we would like the court to go ahead and strike the measure, or at the very least to direct the attorney general to write a better explanation," said Steven Sandven, a Sioux Falls lawyer representing the federation. Specifically the federation argues that the summary incorrectly explains the measures and does not explain that voter approval of the amendment may make the state "vulnerable to an expensive lawsuit." However, Attorney General Marty Jackley argues that it is not his job to revise what legislators have approved. He defends the summary and said the measure should appear on the ballot for voters to decide.[54]
    • Following a court hearing Circuit Judge John Brown denied the federation's request to remove measure from the ballot. Additionally the judge upheld the South Dakota attorney general's official ballot explanation of the measure.[55]
    • On July 22 the South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously upheld the ballot summary for Amendment K. According to the high court's ruling, the attorney general's summary "objectively educates the voters of its purpose and effect."[56] The court stated that the mere possibility of lawsuit does not justify the amendment of the summary. "In deciding what to state and how to state it, the attorney general is limited to 200 words. We have repeatedly held that how the attorney general says it is up to his professional discretion as attorney for the state. This court does not sit as an editorial review board," according to the opinion, written by Chief Justice David Gilbertson. Justices added that any further constitutional challenges to Amendment K will have to wait until after the November 2 general election.[57]

Ballot text

See also: Ballot title litigation, Fiscal impact statement litigation

Alaska

Alaska Parental Notification Initiative (2010), Planned Parenthood of Alaska and Susan Wingrove vs Craig Campbell, Lt Governor, State of Alaska et al
  • A lawsuit was filed by Jeff Feldman, an attorney for Planned Parenthood of Alaska, in opposition to the Parental Notification Initiative. Feldman stated that the lieutenant governor should not have approved the initiative, because in the view of the plaintiffs, it is misleading and unlawful. The case was heard by an Alaska trial court in February and has subsequently been appealed to the state's intermediate appellate court and the Alaska Supreme Court.[22][23][58]

Arizona

Arizona Medical Marijuana Question, 2010
  • According to reports, there could be possible legal action in separate cases if the medical marijuana initiative is sent to the ballot and enacted by voters. The aspect of the initiative that is under concern is the provision that states that employers cannot hire, fire and discipline residents who are considered holders of medical marijuana cards. According to Arizona attorney Don Johnsen, current state law does not mandate that employers and companies accommodate medical marijuana patients that are employees, or potential employees of the company. According to Johnsen, "This ballot initiative obviously would reverse that." However, there could be challenges to this provision if the measure is passed. Johnsen later stated, "One doctor may say, 'Yeah, based on these facts, in my professional opinion this person was impaired or under the influence.' In another case, a doctor might reach a different conclusion."[59]
Arizona First Things First Program Repeal, Proposition 302 (2010)
  • An initial hearing was set for July 12, 2010 to review the description of First Things First Repeal Measure. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig will review the validity of the description, which opponents are stating persuades voters to vote for the measure during the November elections. The suit, filed on behalf of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, claims that Proposition 302's description misleads voters and hides important facts to consider. On July 12, 2010, Oberbillig ordered a hearing of each side's arguments on July 26, 2010.[60]

Arkansas

Arkansas Legislative Tax Abolishment, 2010
  • Brandon Woodrome, director for the group backing the flat tax initiative, Arkansas Progressive Group, filed a legal sufficiency challenge on the ballot language with the Arkansas Supreme Court in order to see if the measure's wording was in compliance with state and federal constitutions. The group was technically taking their own ballot language to court, in order to cover every base. According to Woodrome, the group did not want to spend their money, time and effort on the initiative only to have it taken off the ballot by legal action in the weeks leading up to the November election. On May 20, 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that sponsors of the initiative could not file a challenge to their own measure, dismissing the challenge from court.[23]

California

  • The "Yes on Proposition 17" campaign filed a lawsuit against the "No on 17" campaign to "force Proposition 17 opponents to make changes to their ballot arguments and ballot rebuttals and correct the patently false and misleading statements contained therein."[61] The "Yes on 17" campaign wanted the court to order a re-write of the opposition's ballot arguments before March 15, which is the statutory deadline for resolving all ballot language issues before the Official Voter's Guide goes to press.[61]
  • Deborah Bress, an opponent of the 49ers stadium measure, filed a lawsuit during March 2010, claiming that the city attorney's analysis of Measure J was biased and understated the city's financial contributions to the proposed stadium project. According to Bress's lawsuit, "The total for Santa Clara as a direct subsidy for the stadium is $114 million, without bond and loan interest. This number should appear in the ‘impartial analysis.’” The purpose of the filed lawsuit is to completely remove Measure J from the June ballot, or at least have the city change the title and ballot language. Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy, who is the city's attorney, stated, "The city does not believe that the suit has merit."[63]
  • A consortium of public utilities filed a lawsuit on March 18 to remove Proposition 16 from the ballot on the grounds that the reasons given in official ballot arguments were fraudulent, because the real motivation behind the initiative, they said, was to protect PG&E's market share.[64] On May 5, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner rejected the lawsuit, allowing Proposition 16 to stay on the ballot. He said that the plaintiffs had waited to long to file the lawsuit and on the issue of the merits, that, "The question is whether the title and summary of Proposition 16 adequately disclose its purpose - not the motivation of its sponsors."[65]
  • Allan Zaremberg of the California Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit contesting the ballot title that was written for Proposition 25 by the Office of the Attorney General of California. Zaremberg said, ""We've said for weeks that Prop. 25 is riddled with flaws, chief among them the ability of the Legislature to pass majority vote tax increases, and the title and summary perpetrated that deception."[66] On August 5, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette ruled that the phrase in the ballot title, "retains the two-thirds vote requirement on taxes" might mislead voters into thinking that they had to vote for Prop. 25 in order to keep the state's supermajority requirement on tax increases intact and ordered that it be changed.[67] Proposition 25 supporters appealed Judge Marlette's ruling to California's Third District Court of Appeals. There, Judge Marlette's ruling was overturned.[68]
  • The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court on July 29 asserting that the ballot title prepared by the Office of the Attorney General of California for Proposition 23 was "false, misleading and unfair" and should therefore be changed.[69] Arguments filed in court said the title and summary should not refer to "air pollution control laws" because Proposition 23 does not apply to multiple laws and should not refer to "major polluters" because power plants and refineries are not the only businesses affected by the law, since emissions from universities, agricultural facilities, municipal buildings, and other private companies and citizens are also affected.[70] On Tuesday, August 3, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley issued a ruling that took the side of the plaintiffs and ordered that the state government change the ballot title and summary.[71]
  • Supporters of Proposition 22 filed a lawsuit in early August seeking to force the fiscal impact statement for the measure to use the phrase "local government." The plaintiffs said, "Despite the fact that Prop. 22 is the most significant ballot measure in recent memory protecting and stabilizing local government revenues, the fiscal impact statement fails to even include the phrase 'local government' once...In fact, of the 58 words summarizing Proposition 22's fiscal impact, 51 words detail the impacts to the state. Only 7 words contain even an obtuse reference to local government revenues and, again, the phrase 'local government' is completely excluded."[72] On August 6, the court ruled in their favor, saying that the second bullet point of the proposition's Fiscal Impact Statement is to read, "Comparable increases in funding for state and local transportation programs and local redevelopment," instead of the original wording of "Comparable increases in transportation and redevelopment resources."[73]
  • With regard to the Petaluma Sewer Rate Rollback Initiative, Measure U, a lawsuit was filed by the City of Petaluma to force a change in the way that supporters of Measure U present their arguments in the official ballot pamphlet on Measure U.[74] In the challenged ballot argument, supporters of Measure U say that the city raised sewer rates an average of 20% each year over the past five years, allowed the costs of the plant to grow from $34 million to $160 million and that the city is planning to borrow another $50 million. The city disagreed in its lawsuit, saying that the rate increases averaged 14.3% a year, that the $34 million bid wasn't for the wastewater treatment plant but for a different project and that the loan they intend to take out is for about $27 million, not $50 million. A Superior Court judge agreed with the city, and ordered some changes made to the ballot arguments.[75]
  • With regard to Palo Alto Voter Approval Required for Firefighter Staffing Decisions, Measure R, Dena Mossar, a former mayor of Palo Alto, filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court asking that the ballot measure arguments submitted by Measure R's supporters for the official voter pamphlet be changed by a judge, on the grounds that those arguments were misleading and in the case of one sentence, "blatantly false." Superior Court Judge Kevin J. Murphy agreed with plaintiff Mossar and ordered the changes. Mossar contested the line made by Measure R supporters that "Such a decision should not be made solely by one or two individuals on the city council or in the city administration." Mossar said that that assertion is false because it takes a majority of Palo Alto's nine-member city council to reduce emergency service levels. The line was changed to say "Such a decision should not be made solely by the city council."[76]
  • With regard to San Bernardino Measure C, James F. Penman and Renee Affaitati filed a lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court asking the court to re-write some of the arguments submitted by Measure C supporters for the official voter pamphlet. Penman and Affaitati say that the arguments are misleading and contain "numerous errors." The gist of their claim is that Measure C supporters present Measure C as a tax reform proposal, when it is in fact a proposal to change the way that three city officials are selected. Six passages in the arguments submitted by Measure C supporters refer to "sav[ing] taxpayer money." The lawsuit asked the judge to remove all of those references.[77]
  • With regard to the Point Molate Casino in Richmond Advisory Vote, Measure U, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barry Baskin was asked by casino supporters to alter or remove ballot arguments opposing the casino project that were submitted for the official voter guide. However, Judge Baskin declined to do so, saying that the arguments were not false or misleading. Parts of the argument that casino supporters particularly objected to were the statements of opponents that there is no guarantee that locals would be hired to work at the casino and that the jobs, to the extent that they materialize for local workers, could be described as low wage jobs.[78]
In Reform CUSD's lawsuit, they said:
  • "Children First" should not be allowed to say that the incumbents are backed by "interests hostile to public education,"
  • "Children First" should not be allowed to say "No union was involved in the placement of this measure on the ballot."[79]
In the lawsuit filed by "Children First", they said:
  • "Reform CUSD" should not be allowed to say that "public employee unions and their allies" spent "months getting this on the ballot."
  • "Reform CUSD' should not be allowed to say that Capistrano's employee unions are "fighting to preserve an unsustainable status quo" with regard to their salaries.[79]
  • With regard to the Santa Rosa Sales Tax Increase, Measure P, in the wake of Measure P's victory at the polls, Santa Rosa resident Michael Hilber filed an election complaint with the California Secretary of State’s office. Hilber said in the complaint that Measure P should be voided because the ballot wording was "flawed and unenforceable" because it asked voters whether the city should "enact a one-quarter cent sales tax for eight years." According to Hilber, they should have asked for a "one quarter of a percent" sales tax. According to Hilber, "One quarter of a cent and one quarter of a percent are two entirely different things."[6]

Florida

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Florida Redistricting, Amendment 7 (2010)
  • On May 21, 2010 proponents of Amendment 5 and 6, citizen initiatives, filed a lawsuit to removed Amendment 7 from the statewide ballot. The suit was filed in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee by Florida State Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Democracia Ahora as well as former Republican comptroller Bob Milligan. Citizen initiative supporters argue that the legislatively-referred amendment is a "poison pill" specifically designed to divert Amendments 5 and 6. They argue that the ballot title and summary are misleading and is hiding the measure's "true purpose."[31] In a statement Rep. Dean Cannon said Amendment 7 means exactly what is said and that the lawsuit is trying to argue "that the intent matters more than the plain meaning of the words."[32] On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out the proposed measure. The court ruled that the measure was also misleading because it did not highlight to voters the effect on the state's district requirements and because it would undermine the state's current requirement that districts be "contiguous."[33][33]
Florida Legislative District Boundaries, Amendment 5 and Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6
  • On May 24, 2010 U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart filed a lawsuit against Amendment 6 in Leon County Circuit Court. Balart said,"Amendment 6 is riddled with inconsistencies and, if passed, would set unworkable standards in drawing districts." Both U.S. Representatives had previously testified against Amendment 6. Ellen Freidin, FairDistricts chairwoman - sponsors of Amendment 5 and 6, said the lawsuit by the congressional members was aimed at "playing games." Amendment 5, also a proposed redistricting measure, is not directly cited in the lawsuit. Freidin added,"They clearly haven’t read the language of our amendments. We specifically have addressed their concerns."[34] But both Brown and Diaz-Balart argue that Amendment 6 is not only misleading but would dilute minority voting powers in the state.[35] In late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to two both citizen proposed redistricting initiatives - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6.[36]
Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)
  • Amendment 8 appeaerd on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot. On September 10, 2010 Leon County Circuit Court Chief Judge Charles Francis upheld the measure after citing that the measure was neither misleading or ambiguous.[80] In the 10-page opinion Francis said, "When read together, the ballot title and summary clearly and unambiguously advise the voter that the Legislature is still obligated to provide the funding required to meet the class size approved by the voter."[81] An appeal was filed but after being heard by the Florida Supreme Court the measure was upheld and remained on the 2010 ballot.[82]
Florida Healthcare Freedom, Amendment 9 (2010)
  • Mona Mangat et al. v. Florida Department of State (Florida Second Judicial Circuit Court) - In early July 2010, four Florida voters filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State. Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat said the current ballot title and summary mislead the public of the measure's true intent. All four plaintiffs are asking the court to consider the wording invalid.[83] Attorney General Bill McCollum has agreed to defend the proposed measure. McCollum has also filed a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. "Attorney General McCollum is upholding a right that Floridians and people across the nation continue to demand in the face of big-government mandates," said Rep. Scott Plakon.[84] On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out Amendment 9. "The ballot language put forth … contains misleading and ambiguous language. Currently our only recourse is to strike the proposed constitutional amendment from the ballot," said the justices.[42]
Florida Property Tax Limit, Amendment 3 (2010)
  • The Florida AFL-CIO and Jacksonville resident Brian K. Doyle filed a lawsuit challenging proposed Amendment 3. Both argue that the title and summary of the amendment are flawed. Specifically they said that the text does not mention the purchase date. The proposal would give people who haven't owned a home for at least 8 years an addition, temporary homestead exemption. The exemption would only apply to residences purchases on or after January 1, 2010. Additionally, plaintiffs argue that the title and the summary conflict because the title states that the exemption applies to "new homestead owners," while the summary states that it applies to "a first-time homestead." The provision, however, allows for previous homeowners to qualify.[85] Less than a day following the July 22 court hearings, Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that Amendment 3 should be removed from the ballot. In early August, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments on August 18.[86] On August 31 the state's high court upheld previous lower court decisions to throw out the proposed measure. Specifically, the high court ruled that the proposed Amendment 3 was misleading because the ballot language did not clarify to voters that the tax break applied only to property bought after January 1, 2010.[33][44]

Missouri

Missouri No Public Funds for Stem Cell Research Initiative (2010)
  • Supporters of abortion rights (who are opposed to this initiative) filed a lawsuit claiming that the ballot title written by Robin Carnahan's office does not fully explain that the initiative, if approved, could bar abortions at public hospitals and possibly also put the state in conflict with Medicaid requirements.[87]
  • Missouri Roundtable for Life, supporters of the initiative, say that Carnahan's title is biased and misleading in such a way as to artificially skew public perception against the initiative.[87]

Missouri Judicial Selection Amendment (2010)
  • On September 15, 2009 two lawsuits were filed in the Cole County Circuit Court against the proposed amendment.[88] One argued that the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment did not follow the laws governing the initiative process and should be thrown out. The other argued that State Auditor Susan Montee did not offer an accurate fiscal note. On February 26, 2010 Cole County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that the challenge was invalid. An appeal was argued and submitted on July 22, 2010. However, on August 3, 2010 the secretary of state announced that the initiative had failed to qualify for the 2010 ballot because an insufficient number of valid signatures were obtained. Shortly, thereafter the court dismissed the case on the grounds that the case was moot and a ruling would have no impact on the 2010 initiative efforts.[89]

Missouri Personhood Amendment (2010)
Missouri Dog Breeding Regulation Initiative, Proposition B (2010)
  • Karen Strange of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan that challenges the approved ballot language. The term "puppy mills" is at the center of the challenge. "The Humane Society intentionally uses the term 'puppy mill' because they know it infuriates people," she said. However, Strange also questions whether the language details the actual legislation being proposed.[48]
    • On August 13, 2010 Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled to uphold the ballot language for Proposition B.[49] Specifically, the judge ruled that the ballot summary drafted by Secretary Carnahan was "neither insufficient nor unfair."[50]

Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A (2010)
  • On August 13, 2010 Galen Beaufort, the Kansas City attorney, filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court against Proposition A. Challengers argue that the proposed measure is unconstitutional and are asking the court to remove the measure from the November 2010 ballot.[49] Specifically the lawsuit said the measure violates the state's single-subject rule, fails to make necessary distinctions between personal and business versions of the tax and mandates elections without funding them.[51] On September 20 Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that Proposition A would remain on the 2010 ballot. In a two-page ruling Judge Beetem ruled that the allegations should be raised in a lawsuit following the November elections and rejected the challenges raised by Kansas City officials.[91]

Nevada

Nevada Personhood Amendment (2010)
  • Opponents of the Nevada Personhood Amendment filed a lawsuit in November 2009 alleging that the petition and the description are "misleading" and does not include an explanation of the proposition's objective. Should the lawsuit be successful, the petition could still be allowed on the ballot if the language is altered.[92] A hearing took place on January 8, 2010, where Carson City District Court Judge James Russell ruled against the petition circulation citing that the petition was too vague and violated a state law that limits questions to one subject.[93] The ruling was appealed. A hearing by the Nevada Supreme Court is scheduled for April 6, 2010.[94]

South Dakota

South Dakota Vote by Secret Ballot, Amendment K (2010)
  • The South Dakota State Federation of Labor filed a lawsuit in May 2010 to either rewrite Amendment K's ballot summary or remove it from the ballot. "The bottom line is we would like the court to go ahead and strike the measure, or at the very least to direct the attorney general to write a better explanation," said Steven Sandven, a Sioux Falls lawyer representing the federation. Specifically the federation argues that the summary incorrectly explains the measures and does not explain that voter approval of the amendment may make the state "vulnerable to an expensive lawsuit." However, Attorney General Marty Jackley argues that it is not his job to revise what legislators have approved. He defends the summary and said the measure should appear on the ballot for voters to decide.[54]
    • Following a court hearing Circuit Judge John Brown denied the federation's request to remove measure from the ballot. Additionally the judge upheld the South Dakota attorney general's official ballot explanation of the measure.[55]
    • On July 22 the South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously upheld the ballot summary for Amendment K. According to the high court's ruling, the attorney general's summary "objectively educates the voters of its purpose and effect."[56] The court stated that the mere possibility of lawsuit does not justify the amendment of the summary. "In deciding what to state and how to state it, the attorney general is limited to 200 words. We have repeatedly held that how the attorney general says it is up to his professional discretion as attorney for the state. This court does not sit as an editorial review board," according to the opinion, written by Chief Justice David Gilbertson. Justices added that any further constitutional challenges to Amendment K will have to wait until after the November 2 general election.[57]

Washington

Washington Public Works Bond Measure (2010)
Washington Privatize State Liquor Stores, Initiative 1100 (2010) and Washington Revise State Liquor Laws, Initiative 1105 (2010)
  • On June 1, 2010 supporters of competing initiative - Initiative 1100 - filed a ballot title and summary challenge against Initiative 1105. According to the filed challenge the ballot language is too vague. I-1100 supporters point to the fact that the language does not reflect that in addition to privatizing state liquor stores the language does not specifiy thet I-1105 would repeal the existing alcohol tax and require the legislature to create a new tax.[96][97] A hearing on the challenge is scheduled for June 9.

Campaign contributions

Colorado

Colorado Motor Vehicle, Income, and Telecom Taxes, Proposition 101 (2010)
Colorado Property Taxes, Amendment 60 (2010)
Colorado State and Local Debt Limitations, Amendment 61 (2010)
  • In early January 2010 Protect Colorado's Communities, a group opposed to Proportion 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61, asked the Colorado Secretary of State to look into the campaign finances of advocates for measures to see if they had spent over the $200 threshold that requires registering issue committees. A decision was expected to be made the same month over if any laws were broken and if it would need to be sent before a judge. In April 2010 a campaign finance hearing was held to determine where the finances came from to get the measures on the ballot. Russell Haas, Amendment 61's sponsor, insisted in court that there is no evidence of unreported donations and that those who volunteered and helped get the amendment on the ballot should have their privacy protected. Douglas Bruce, an anti-tax activist, was expected to be at the hearing to determine his involvement, if any, with the three measures making it onto the ballot, but he was not there, despite being served 23 court orders by mid-May. On May 24 Douglas Bruce was determined to have been a key figure in all three measures. He had sent unsigned emails to proponents with advice on all the steps to making it to the ballot. Despite being served with another 6 court orders he still did not appear in court. On June 18 a contempt motion was filed against Douglas Bruce, asking him to be found in contempt of court for failing to show at the hearing and to be fined for every day that he did not attend the hearing. He was found in contempt of court one week later on June 23 and a hearing was set for him on July 26 to face the charges. The hearing was postponed to allow for Bruce to be a witness in an unrelated June 30 grand jury investigation.

Maine

Maine Oxford Casino Initiative, Question 1 (2010)
  • In March 2010 Dennis Bailey of Casinos NO!, an anti-gambling grassroots organization, filed a complaint against Peter Martin, a spokesperson for Black Bear Entertainment, claiming that Peter had spent over eight hours lobbying that month without regisering as a lobbyist according to state law. Peter was also accused of not disclosing a $50,000 payment from Black Bear Entertainment from January. The Maine Ethics Commission ruled in late April that Peter had violated the lobbying and campaign laws, providing evidence against him on both charges.[98]

Florida

Florida Comprehensive Land Use Plans, Amendment 4 (2010)
  • On July 28, 2011 Federal Judge Robert Hinkle heard arguments on a campaign disclosure case related to 2010's Florida Comprehensive Land Use Plans, Amendment 4. Specifically the case will decide whether small groups of citizens that group together to campaign for or against a measure must submit campaign disclosure forms.[99] Specifically, the case refers to a group of four Sarasota residents that joined in donating and raising funds in favor of Amendment 4. However, according to reports, the group did not believe it was necessary to form a political action committee and submit campaign disclosure forms.[100]

Constitutionality

California

California Fair Elections Act (2010)
  • The Institute of Governmental Advocates (IGA) filed a state lawsuit against the California Fair Elections Act (2010) on August 25, 2009, asserting that the proposal unconstitutionally restricts people's right to petition their government.[101] A California Superior Court judge ruled on November 20, 2009 that the plaintiffs can't pursue their lawsuit until and unless voters approve the measure. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to California's 3rd District Court of Appeal.[102]
  • A potential Siskiyou County Measure A (November), the "City of Mt. Shasta Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance", was removed from the ballot by Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer on August 12. She said she was removing it "due to alleged procedural errors and violations of elections code, including a changing of initiative language and improper filing of documents and fees." Supporters of Measure A filed an appeal of Setzer's decision in Siskiyou County Superior Court. In addition to a procedural dispute about who the appropriate election official was with whom to file the initiative language before circulation, Siskiyou County claimed in its court filings that Measure A would have been unconstitutional because, they argued, it violated the "Doctrine of Preemption." The Doctrine of Preemption says that no ordinance can be valid if it duplicates, contradicts or enters into an area fully occupied by general law.[103]

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Voter Identification Measure, State Question 746 (2010)
  • A hearing was scheduled for September 17, 2010 in a Tulsa County District court in order to hear arguments that State Question 746 should be taken off the ballot. The lawsuit includes James C. Thomas, attorney and professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Thomas is representing a Tulsa resident who argued that the measure is unconstitutional. According to Thomas, "There is a specific provision in the (state) Constitution that says ‘no power, civil or military, shall interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.' And requiring voters to show an identification before is interference and to that extent it conflicts with our Constitution.”[104]

Missouri

Missouri No Public Funds for Stem Cell Research Initiative (2010)

Motivation of sponsors

California

  • A consortium of public utilities filed a lawsuit on March 18 to remove Proposition 16 from the ballot on the grounds that the reasons given in official ballot arguments were fraudulent, because the real motivation behind the initiative, they said, was to protect PG&E's market share.[64] On May 5, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner rejected the lawsuit, allowing Proposition 16 to stay on the ballot. He said that the plaintiffs had waited to long to file the lawsuit and on the issue of the merits, that, "The question is whether the title and summary of Proposition 16 adequately disclose its purpose - not the motivation of its sponsors."[65]

Petitioner residency

California

South Dakota

  • Constitution Party of South Dakota v Nelson: On May 4, 2011 the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Constitution Party of South Dakota v Nelson which challenged the state's residency requirement. The court found that the Constitution Party did not have standing since the affected petitioner, Mark Pickens, never submitted a declaration to begin collecting signatures. Since the court ruled without prejudice, it leaves the door open for further legal challenges to the law.[106] The court's ruling can be found here.

Virginia

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

Arizona

Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment, Proposition 108 (2010)

Arkansas

Arkansas Interest Rate Limit, Issue 2 (2010)
  • A challenge to Arkansas Issue 2 was filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court opposing the measure and asking the court to take the issue off of the November ballot. The lawsuit argues that the measure violates single-subject law and that the proposal combines three separate issues into one measure, sidestepping the limit on Arkansas Legislature to refer only up to three measures in an election year.[109][110][111]

California

San Francisco Pension Reform, Proposition B (November 2010)
  • A group of unions filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court in August to try to keep Proposition B off the November ballot. The lawsuit asserted a variety of different reasons to keep Proposition B off the ballot, including the claim that Proposition B violates the single-subject rule.[112]
  • A Siskiyou County Measure A (November), the "City of Mt. Shasta Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance", was removed from the ballot by Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer on August 12. She said she was removing it "due to alleged procedural errors and violations of elections code, including a changing of initiative language and improper filing of documents and fees." In addition to a procedural dispute about who the appropriate election official was with whom to file the initiative language before circulation, Siskiyou County claimed in its court filings that Measure A violated the single-subject rule.[113]

Colorado

Colorado Healthcare Amendment (2010)
  • On June 21, 2010 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of allowing the currently proposed amendment to circulate petitions. Specifically the decision concluded that initiative met the state's single subject rule and noted that the initiative's title "Right to health care choice" was not "misleading" or "an impermisible slogan."[114]

Missouri

Missouri Personhood Amendment (2010)

Nevada

Nevada Immigration Reform Initiative (2012)
  • On June 18, 2010 the ACLU of Nevada and the Nevada Open for Business Coalition filed a lawsuit with the Carson District Court. The lawsuit requested that District Court Judge James Wilson block the proposed initiative. According to the groups the initiative was a violation of the state's single-subject law. Additionally, they argued that the proposed measure "promotes racial profiling and would hurt the state's economy."[115] Of the alleged single-subject violation the Nevada Open for Business Coalition specifically said, "It embraces numerous subjects — everything from enacting voter identification laws to creating task forces and advisory boards and to criminalizing the stopping of a vehicle to pick up passengers for work,” the coalition states."[116]

Signature challenges

See also: Post-certification signature challenge

Maine

Maine Tax Code People's Veto (2010)
  • Opponents of the Tax Code Veto Vote filed a lawsuit, Johnson v. Dunlap, with the Kennebec Superior Court, challenging the certified petitions. According to opponents, Maine's Secretary of State should not have certified the petition for the ballot because two of the notaries that notarized the petitions got married and did not notify the state that their last names had changed. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 1, 2010.[117]

Maryland

  • Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association and Eric N. Bernard v. Montgomery Bounty Board of Elections and Montgomery County, Maryland (filed August 31, 2010): The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's supreme court, ruled 5-2 on March 22, 2011 that illegible signatures can be valid. If the voter's printed name and address match his or her voter registration, then only the appearance of the voter's signature must match voter registration records.[118] The decision can be found here.

Montana

Montana Hunter Access Funding Initiative, I-161 (2010)
  • The Montana Outfitters and Guides Association filed a lawsuit during the week of August 23, 2010, aiming to block the hunting initiative from being placed in front of voters on November 2, 2010. Mac Minard, the executive director the group, stated that the initiative should be removed from the ballot due to the allegations that there were violations of state law when the initiative process was in operation. According to Minard, "These are such broad violations. We're asking them to toss the thing out." The lawsuit, filed in Lewis and Clark County District Court, lists initiative leader Kurt Kephart, the Montana Public Wildlife, who obtained signatures from registered voters, and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, who certified those signatures.[119]

Missouri

Missouri Real Estate Taxation Amendment (2010)

Oregon

Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I (2010)
  • A lawsuit was filed July 28, 2010 in Marion County Circuit Court by initiative supporters. According to reports, supporters argued that the state’s petition signature-counting methods were invalid and may have resulted in the rejection of valid signatures thus causing the initiative to fail to qualify for the ballot.[124] On August 23, 2010 initiative supporters dropped their lawsuit efforts. In their August announcement, supporters said a constitutional amendment wasn't necessary to build and operate a facility in Wood Village.[125]

Utah

See also: Utah Ethics Commission Initiative (2010)
  • In April 2010, David Irvine and Alan Smith filed a federal lawsuit in Utah's U.S. District Court alleging that Utah's laws about making signatures available to the public are unconstitutional. Irvine and Smith, working on behalf of supporters of the Ethics Commission Initiative, have asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order to prevent the signatures from being disclosed to members of the public or, more to the point, opponents of the measure.[126] The Irvine-Smith lawsuit mirrors a court case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in late April, Doe v. Reed, which is about signature privacy regarding the signatures filed to qualify Washington Referendum 71 (2009) for the ballot.

Signature recovery

Oregon

See also: Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I (2010)

Backers of the Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Secretary of State after election officials said that supporters failed to collect enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.[127]

Subject restrictions

Colorado

  • City of Boulder City v. Jensen: On April 1, 2011, a state court in Las Vegas, Nevada ruled that the City Council of Boulder City was wrong to sue the sponsors of two local initiatives. The initiatives, both passed by voters, imposed term-limits on members of city appointed boards and required the city to get voter approval before borrowing more than $1 million. The city council argued that the initiatives were invalid because they considered topics which are not subject to initiative. However, the court determined that the city was wrong to sue proponents of the measures since they could have sued to overturn the initiatives without targeting the proponents. The city was ordered to pay the defendants' legal fees, but the judge stayed the ruling in order to allow time for an appeal.[128][129]

Campaign finance and advertising

  • On April 28, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Care Committee v Arneson can proceed. The lawsuit challenges a Minnesota law against recklessly or knowingly making false statements regarding ballot measures. The defendants, charged under the law, argue that it violates their First Amendment rights. The case was initially dismissed on procedural grounds by a US District Court. However, 8th Circuit's ruling sends the case back to the District Court to be decided on merits. The ruling also directs the court to ensure that "any regulation be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling government interest."[130] The full text of the ruling can be found here.

See also

References

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