Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count remains steadily above 160 despite lawsuits

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July 27, 2010

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By Bailey Ludlam

With less than a week before two of the three remaining petition drive deadlines come to an end, Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count is remaining steady at 162 certified ballot measures in 36 states. The current number of certified measures is well below the general average in even-numbered years. From 1990-2008 there has been average of 210 ballot questions.

In the past week, ballot questions have been put to the challenge in numerous states. Specifically, Florida has been hit hard with lawsuits. Of the original 10 certified ballot measures, two have been removed from the ballot by court order. Most recently, on July 23 the Florida Property Tax Limit, Amendment 3 was removed by Circuit Judge John Cooper. The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment proposed providing additional tax exemption for some homeowners of at least 25% in the first year. The exemptions would have continued for four years and would have been reduced incrementally. However, a challenge was filed by the Florida AFL-CIO and Jacksonville resident Brian K. Doyle. Both argued that the the title and summary of the amendment were flawed. Specifically they said that the text did not mention the purchase date. The day following the court hearing on July 22, Judge Cooper said, "Neither the title nor the summary provide notice that the additional exemption is only available for properties purchased on or after Jan.1, 2010. The failure of the title to give notice of this condition is materially misleading." According to reports, the ruling is expected to be appealed.

Florida Health Care Freedom, Amendment 9 remains pending in court but is scheduled to be heard later this week on July 29. Four individuals filed a lawsuit against the state regarding the ballot title and summary of Amendment 9. 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. Joining the slew of ballot measure lawsuits this week was Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 after Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit to block Amendment 8 from the 2010 statewide ballot. The teachers union argues that the proposed measure is misleading and an under-handed attempt to reduce state funding for education.

In Arizona, after hearing arguments for both sides on the validity and neutrality of Arizona Proposition 302's ballot wording on July 26, 2010, Judge Robert Oberbillig of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the measure's wording was in fact impartial and fair. If enacted by voters, the measure would repeal the First Things First program, which is an early childhood services program, and put it's $324 million into the general fund.

Despite all of the lawsuits removing and challenging ballot measures, one measure in Washington was certified for the November general election ballot. Initiative 1105 was certified by the secretary of state following a 3 percent random sample check. The proposed measure would close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. Additionally it would revise laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues. In addition to I-1105, I-1100, which has already been certified, also relates to privatizing state liquor stores. However, unlike I-1100, I-1105 prices liquor licenses based on the volume of liquor sold. I-1100, on the other hand, does not include price controls.

In local news, the Anne Arundel Mills Mall Casino Referendum has been upheld and re-added to the Anne Arundel County November 2 ballot in Maryland. Cordish Co. filed a total of two lawsuits: one on the grounds that the county had not properly checked for fraud on the petitions filed against the slots and a second stating that the petition goes against the revised Maryland Constitution which states that slots are legal in the state. The judge's decision on the first left the measure invalid for voting in November, but an appeal to the highest Maryland court put it back on to the ballot.

This week, stay tuned for up to the minute election results on Missouri's Health Care Freedom, Proposition C!!

Upcoming elections:

See also

2010 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2010 Scorecard
AnalysisIssues on ballot