Direct democracy in full swing as seven state initiative deadlines arrive this week
By Al Ortiz
The Fourth of July holiday is quickly approaching, so it seems fitting for direct democracy to take over across the country. Supporters of statewide ballot initiatives in seven states this week face deadlines on different days.
Starting on July 4, for three consecutive days there will be petition drive deadlines in Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. The required amount of valid signatures must be turned in by supporters to the appropriate election officials on those days in order for initiatives to be placed on the ballot.
Five out of those seven states had initiatives on the ballot during the last ballot measure election in 2010. However, a different year could mean different results.
Below is a summary of key initiatives being circulating in certain states, the requirements that must be met to obtain ballot access and the date of states' deadlines.
Massachusetts has the most complex initiative process among the states with petition drive deadlines this week.
Proponents of potential citizen-initiated measures must have collected 68,911 signatures by November 23, 2011 to turn them into local registrars. After it finding that enough valid signatures were collected, petitions are then returned to supporters, who this year had until the December 7, 2011 petition drive deadline to turn those signatures in to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office.
Once signatures are deemed valid, proposed laws are then sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly for consideration.
If the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must then gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks. This amounts to about 11,000 signatures
Only four initiatives, out of the original 31 that were proposed for circulation with the Massachusetts Attorney General, made it to the state legislature and subsequently to the second signature phase.
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- Arizona 2012 ballot measures
- Arizona Legislature
- 2012 ballot measures
- List of Arizona ballot measures