Ballotpedia begins analysis of 2010 ballot measures

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September 17, 2010

By Al Ortiz (Updated November 1, 2010)

The general election is on the horizon, election pamphlets are being printed and campaigns are in full swing. As such, Ballotpedia is taking a closer look at the big picture concerning 2010 certified ballot measures.

According to Ballotpedia's 2010 ballot measure count, there are a total of 184 measures in 38 states that are slated for statewide ballots and up for voter approval. Given that an average of 220 ballot questions were on statewide ballots in the even-numbered years from 1990-2008 this provides notable changes to consider. As all petition drive deadlines in 2010 ended and state legislatures concluded their sessions, all signs pointed to a comparatively lower ballot measure count than in previous years' averages, as much as 23% lower.

A closer look at the most recent even-numbered year elections confirms that a decrease in measures can be seen not only generally in the last decade but in the number of certified citizen initiatives for 2010. A closer look at 2008 and 2010 legislative referrals and citizen initiatives validated this finding.

According to Bailey Ludlam, the project director of ballot measure content, "Ballotpedia tracked about 605 filed initiatives for the 2010 ballot but most met defeat as petition drive deadlines came to a close. For this year's ballot an estimated 8% are certified for the ballot."

Citizen initiatives

  • 11 states in 2010 have fewer citizen initiatives on their 2010 ballot than in 2008, while only 5 states have more initiatives on their 2010 ballot than in 2008.
  • 10 states had no changes in their initiative count from 2008 to 2010. It must be noted that 11 of the 26 I&R states do not have any citizen initiatives on their 2010 ballot.
  • In all, there were 74 total citizen initiatives on the 2008 ballot, while there are 50 citizen initiatives on the 2010 ballot, leading to a total of 23 fewer initiatives in 2010. The biggest change came from the state of California, who saw a drop in 8 ballot initiatives in 2010.

Also, 24 out of the 26 I&R states have measures on the 2010 ballot, which includes both legislative referrals and citizen initiatives. The only two I&R states with zero measures on the 2010 ballot were Mississippi and Wyoming. By contrast, in 2008, of all of the 26 I&R states, Mississippi was the only state without citizen initiatives and legislative referrals.

Legislative referrals

  • 15 states will have fewer legislative referrals on the ballot than they did in 2008, while 21 states have more legislative referrals than they did two years ago.
  • A total of 8 states did not have any changes in their legislative referral count when compared to 2008.

In 2008 there were 99 referrals, while in 2010 there were 130. In total, 2010 has 31 more referrals on the ballot than in 2008. The biggest change came from the west side of the country yet again, as Arizona will see 8 more referrals on the ballot for voter approval. Oklahoma came in second with 6 more referrals.

Seven states had ballot measures - legislative referrals or citizen initiatives - on the 2008 ballot, but did not have any on the 2010 ballot. Those states were Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Another seven states had measures on the 2010 ballot but did not have any on the 2008 ballot. Those states were Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

An analysis of the 2010 ballot measures, will be ongoing in the weeks leading up to the election, will include dissections of different topics relating to 2010 proposals.

See also

2010 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2010 Scorecard
AnalysisIssues on ballot