Difference between revisions of "List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2010"

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* [[Missouri Eminent Domain Reform Initiatives (2010)]]: The [[Missouri Municipal League|Missouri Municipal League]] filed two lawsuits in January 2009 arguing that the fiscal impact statements prepared by the state auditor and the ballot language approved by the [[Missouri Secretary of State]] are misleading.<ref>[http://sbj.net/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=23&ArticleID=84454&TM=56292.41 ''Springfield Business Journal Online'', "Eminent domain petitions await court decisions", March 16, 2009]</ref>
* [[Missouri Eminent Domain Reform Initiatives (2010)]]: The [[Missouri Municipal League|Missouri Municipal League]] filed two lawsuits in January 2009 arguing that the fiscal impact statements prepared by the state auditor and the ballot language approved by the [[Missouri Secretary of State]] are misleading.<ref>[http://sbj.net/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=23&ArticleID=84454&TM=56292.41 ''Springfield Business Journal Online'', "Eminent domain petitions await court decisions", March 16, 2009]</ref>
**Conclusion: Ballot summary was revised and the second lawsuit was dropped. [http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=inmoco20100105224 A summary of Missouri Municipal League v. Carnahan can be viewed here.]
**Conclusion: Ballot summary was revised and the second lawsuit was dropped. [http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=inmoco20100105224 A summary of Missouri Municipal League v. Carnahan can be viewed here.]
* [[Missouri Health Care Freedom Act (2010)]]: According to filed lawsuits, challenges address both the language of the [[ballot title]] and the fiscal impact statement.<ref>[http://sbj.net/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=23&ArticleID=85976 ''Springfield Business Journal'',"Group works to put patient choice on 2010 ballot," December 14, 2009]</ref>
* [[Missouri Healthcare Freedom Act (2010)]]: According to filed lawsuits, challenges address both the language of the [[ballot title]] and the fiscal impact statement.<ref>[http://sbj.net/main.asp?SectionID=18&SubSectionID=23&ArticleID=85976 ''Springfield Business Journal'',"Group works to put patient choice on 2010 ballot," December 14, 2009]</ref>
:: ''See also: [[Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A (2010)]]''
:: ''See also: [[Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A (2010)]]''

Revision as of 19:07, 9 March 2014

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation



  • 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."[4]
  • 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.[6]


  • 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.[2]
  • 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.[8][9][10]
    • Arkansas's Issue 2 passed during the general election but on November 29, 2010 opponents filed an appeal.[11] 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.[12] The Arkansas Supreme Court, who also heard arguments, previously dismissed the case.[13]



Statewide propositions

  • Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act. A group of plaintiffs including Richard Winger filed the first of what is expected to be several lawsuits against Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act in San Francisco Superior Court on July 29.[14] The lawsuit challenges two provisions in Proposition 14 and asks the court to block enforcement of the new law until legislation has been enacted that removes the two contested provisions. Gautam Dutta is the attorney for the group of plaintiffs. He said that voters did not know about Prop 14's ban on write-in votes because the ban was not described in the state's voter guide: "They'll be throwing their votes away without even being told that by voting for a write-in, your vote won't count."
  • Proposition 15. A variety of lawsuits were filed with regard to this measure that was on the June 8, 2010 ballot, including an attempt by opponents to have it removed from the ballot on the grounds that it violated the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and another attempt to have it stricken from the ballot on the grounds that it unconstitutionally restricts the right of people to peacefully assemble. Both failed. Supporters and opponents also filed lawsuits challenging various aspects of the ballot title, ballot text, and ballot arguments submitted by the other side.[15].[16][17] ,[18]
  • Proposition 16. A consortium of public utilities filed a lawsuit on March 18 to remove Proposition 16 from the ballot.[19] 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."[17]
  • Proposition 22. Supporters 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."[20] 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."[21]
  • Proposition 23. 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 California Proposition 23 (2010) was "false, misleading and unfair" and should therefore be changed.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]
  • Proposition 25. 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."[25] 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.[26] Proposition 25 supporters appealed Judge Marlette's ruling to California's Third District Court of Appeals. There, Judge Marlette's ruling was overturned.[27]

Local ballot questions

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Calendar2010 local ballot measures
  • A California appeals court ruled in January that with regard to 2004's Measure C in Santa Clara County, the county did not run afoul of electioneering laws when it discussed Measure C in labor negotiations that took place during the election campaign.
  • In January, a judge ordered that the unsuccessful plaintiffs who sued to void the vote on the 2002 vote in Salinas to repeal the city's utility user tax have to pay $229,423 to the City of Salinas to reimburse the city for the legal costs it incurred defending itself against the lawsuit.
  • Entertainment company Great America filed a lawsuit against 49ers stadium measure on the basis that the pact between the city and the professional football organization was illegal due to that fact that the agreement should not have been finalized before the release and approval of the environmental report.[28]
  • 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."[29]
  • Humboldt Baykeeper and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed a lawsuit against the City of Eureka in Humboldt County Superior Court in July 2010 for putting the City of Eureka Balloon Track Zoning measure on the ballot.[31]
  • The City of Carpinteria appealed to California's Second Circuit on the question of whether Measure J, the Carpinteria Oil Drilling Initiative, should have been allowed on the ballot. A trial court judge allowed it to stay on the ballot, where it lost. Carpinteria is appealing that lower court decision because it wants to prevent any similar initiative from ever appearing on the ballot in Carpinteria. The gist of the lawsuit is that Measure J would have improperly granted administrative ("adjudicatory") powers to the city's voters, and that state law prohibits that. The lawsuit also says that parts of Measure J would have violated Article II, Section 12 of the California Constitution. Section 12 says that private corporations are not allowed to gain special privileges or advantages through ballot initiatives.[32]
  • Regarding 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 it off the November ballot.[33] The lawsuit asserted a variety of different reasons to keep Proposition B off the ballot, including allegations of petition circulator misrepresentation, failure of the circulated petition to disclose the full text of Proposition B and the claim that Proposition B violates the single-subject rule.
  • In August 2010, Jennifer and Frederick Lins filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court to allow them to go ahead with their development plans in defiance of Pleasanton Referendum on Oak Grove, Measure D (June 2010) on the grounds that Measure D only negated Ordinance No. 1961, whereas Ordinance No. 1962 is the ordinance that approved the development.[34]
  • A lawsuit to remove Measure A from the Mount Shasta (Siskiyou County) ballot was successful. The lawsuit contended that changes were made to the measure after the signatures were collected.[35]
  • 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.[36] 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.[37]
  • 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.[38]
  • In August 2010, Jennifer and Frederick Lins filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court to allow them to go ahead with their development plans on the grounds that Pleasanton Referendum on Oak Grove, Measure D only negated Ordinance No. 1961, whereas Ordinance No. 1962 is the ordinance that approved the development.[39][40]
  • 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 violated the single-subject rule and "Doctrine of Preemption." The Doctrine of Preemption says hat no ordinance can be valid if it duplicates, contradicts or enters into an area fully occupied by general law.[41]
  • 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."[42]
  • 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.[43]
  • 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.[44]
  • A federal judge ruled in September that San Francisco's system of ranked-choice voting, approved by the city's voters in 2002 is not an overly severe restriction on voting rights.[49]
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."[15]
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.[15]
  • 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."[50]

Challenges to election law


  • 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.[52][53]


  • On January 20, 2010 a Ft. Myers group of activists requested that the United States Supreme Court here its case - Citizens for Police Accountability Political Committee v Browning, 09-861 - about a proposed local initiative. The issue is a Florida law that allows for exit pollsters to talk to voters as they are exiting the polls as long as they stay within 25 feet of the entrance. Petitioners, however, must be no closer than 100 feet from the entrance. On August 28, 2008 a U.S. District Court granted an injunction on the Florida law, however, on June 25, 2009 a U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the injunction.[54][55]
  • 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.[56] According to reports, plaintiffs said, "The amendment, as written, has nothing to do with any 'mandates,' nor does it explain how any such mandates 'don't work,' nor does it state how the amendment would protect against some phantom unworkable mandates." They describe the summary as "nothing more than political commentary on the federal health care reform act."[57] 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.[58]
  • 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."[59][60] 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.
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.[61] 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.[62]


Statewide measures

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.[63] A lawsuit has not been filed.

Local ballot questions

  • Anne Arundel Mills Mall Casino Referendum (November 2010): Two lawsuits were filed against this measures, both from the group opposing the issue, Cordish Co. A judge ruled on the first lawsuit, stating that the issue of zoning and the appropriations package that would put the slots parlor at the mall could not be subject to a vote. The second lawsuit was not taken to court because of the ruling on the first. Advocate groups who sponsored the referendum took the issue to the highest Maryland court, the Court of Appeals, where it was pushed ahead and will be heard by a judge. The issue therefore is still pending.
  • Judge rules Turf Valley referendum drive dead

Challenges to election law

  • 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.[64] The decision can be found here.


  • 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."[65] The full text of the ruling can be found here.


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.[69]


  • 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."[70]
  • 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.[71]


  • Lincoln County District Judge John P. Murphy ruled in favor of the City of North Platte, and against a taxpayer group. The taxpayer group had collected signatures to put a vote about how the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center is funded on the May 11 ballot. The measure was certified for the ballot. The city filed suit in February, asking that the measure be removed from the ballot. Murphy ruled in favor of the city, throwing the measure off the ballot. Members of the taxpayer group filed an appeal in late May, asking that Judge Murphy's decision be overturned. If Judge Murphy's decision is overturned, it will be too late for the May 11 election, so what could happen is that the ballot measure would go on the ballot in a future election.[72]


See also: 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.”[73]
  • 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.[74]
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."[75]
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.[76]


Local fee measures

  • A lawsuit in the city of Newberg was decided on July 6, 2010. The lawsuit was in regards to allowing a petition to be approved by the city, a petition that wanted to allow for a city vote when the city council was going to increase taxes or fees in the city. The city had rejected the petition on the grounds that it did not follow the one subject rule, Oregon law states that a petition can only deal with one issue. The judge made the decision that increasing taxes and fees was one subject, they are all actions by the city to increase its revenues. The question of if the issue was a legislative or administrative process was also decided. Due to the potential changes to the legal framework if the petition were approved, the matter was decided on being legislative in nature. Common Sense for Oregon was the non-profit that represented the defendant during the court proceedings.[77]

Signature recovery

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.[78]

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.[79] The court's ruling can be found here.


  • Utahns for Ethical Government v. Barton (filed April 14, 2010): In April 2010, attorneys working on behalf of the Utah Ethics Commission Initiative (2010) filed a lawsuit in federal court asserting that Utah's laws that allow members of the public to access copies of signed petition sheets after those sheets have been turned in to election officials is unconstitutional.[80] In an order issued March 21, 2011 the United States District Court for the District of Utah ruled that signatures for the Utah Ethics Commission Initiative (2012) should remain private for the time being. Since the measure has not yet been certified for the ballot, the court found that the state did not have a legitimate reason to release the names of those who signed.[81] The order can be found here.



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.[84] The suit was filed in King County Superior Court with League of Education Voters and he Washington Education Association listed among the plaintiffs.[85]

See also


  1. Anchorage Daily News, "Court hears challenge on parental notification today", February 23, 2010
  2. Anchorage Daily News, "State's high court to hear about abortion initiative", May 1, 2010
  3. Arizona Republic, "Medical-pot measure to limit some firings", April 1, 2010
  4. KGUN9.com, "Court to hear challenge to proposed ballot measure", June 29, 2010
  5. KVOA.com, "Hearing today about November ballot proposition", July 12, 2010
  6. Associated Press, "State judge overturns Ark. adoption ban law", April 16, 2010
  7. Arkansas News, "Panel endorses measure to ease interest rate limits", April 7, 2009
  8. Arkansas Democrat Gazette, "Interest-rate ballot issue is challenged", September 25, 2010
  9. Arkansas Business, "Lawsuit says voters can be misled by amendment title", September 25, 2010
  10. Arkansas Times, "Appeal filed on amendment challenge", November 29, 2010
  11. SWTIMES.com, "Judge Won’t Disqualify Ballot Issue", November 3, 2010
  12. Arkansas Business, "Arkansas Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Over Interest Rate Ballot Issue", October 22, 2010
  13. San Francisco Chronicle, "Suit over Prop. 14 abolishing party primaries", July 30, 2010
  14. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Mercury News, "Lawsuit challenging 'clean money' proposal dismissed", June 16, 2009
  15. Sacramento Bee, "Lobbyists sue to block campaign-finance ballot measure", November 8, 2009
  16. 17.0 17.1 Los Angeles Times, "Judges review language of state ballot measures", March 13, 2010
  17. Los Angeles Times, "Superior Court judge sides with Prop. 15 supporters in voter-manual dispute", March 15, 2010
  18. San Francisco City Attorney, "Proposition 16 lawsuit press kit", March 18, 2010
  19. Los Angeles Times, "Lawsuit filed over Proposition 22", August 3, 2010
  20. Los Angeles, "Props to the printers -- with changes", August 13, 2010
  21. Mercury News, "Judge rules Proposition 23 ballot language must be reworded", August 3, 2010
  22. Los Angeles Times, "Proposition 23 backers sue over ballot language", July 29, 2010
  23. Orange County Register, "Rebuke of Jerry Brown good news for Prop. 23", August 3, 2010
  24. Sacramento Bee, "Ballot language for majority-vote budget measure misleading", August 6, 2010
  25. Contra Costa Times, "Key ruling throws out claim that Prop. 25 would protect two-thirds vote on taxes", August 5, 2010
  26. Capital Notes, "Budget +40: No, No, Oh All Right", August 9, 2010
  27. Mercury News, "Great America files awsuit over the proposed 49ers stadium"
  28. The Examiner, "Lawsuit targets 49ers ballot measure", March 22, 2010
  29. Marin Independent Journal, "Tax group bills Marin taxpayers $120,000", May 19, 2010
  30. Northcoast Journal, "Baykeeper, EPIC Sue Eureka Over Balloon Track Ballot Measure", July 21, 2010
  31. EdHat, "Op Ed: EDC Says Measure J Illegal", July 22, 2010
  32. Text of Alba-Swanson v. John Arntz
  33. Pleasanton Weekly, "Oak Grove developers sue Pleasanton to force housing project OK", August 13, 2010
  34. KRV-TV, "Controversial Measure Struck Off Ballot", August 13, 2010
  35. Petaluma Press Democrat, "Petaluma City Hall sues to delete or change Measure U ballot argument", August 27, 2010
  36. KSRO, "Judge Sides With City On Controversial Petaluma Ballot Measure", September 1, 2010
  37. San Francisco Chronicle, "Ballot battles", August 24, 2010
  38. Pleasanton Weekly, "Oak Grove developers sue Pleasanton to force housing project OK", August 13, 2010
  39. Pleasanton Weekly, "Council to consider response to Oak Grove lawsuit at special meeting this afternoon", August 24, 2010
  40. Siskiyou Daily, "Measure A appeal, response submitted to court", August 26, 2010
  41. Mercury News, "Legal challenge succeeds in changing Palo Alto ballot measure argument", August 27, 2010
  42. Daily Bulletin, "Penman lawsuit challenges sample ballot argument supporting San Bernardino's Measure C", August 27, 2010
  43. San Francisco Chronicle, "Judge OKs ballot argument against Richmond casino", August 31, 2010
  44. Mercury Daily News, "Unions to file lawsuit to stop Menlo Park pension reform initiative", June 22, 2010
  45. Daily News, "Judge allows Menlo Park pension reform effort to proceed", August 31, 2010
  46. San Francisco Weekly, "Key Portion of 'SF Smart Reform' Prop. B Struck Down by Judge", August 30, 2010
  47. Mission Times Courier, "Judge Throws Out Proposition D Lawsuit", September 3, 2010
  48. San Francisco Chronicle, "Three is enough: Judge OKs ranked-choice voting", September 13, 2010
  49. Press Democrat, "Santa Rosa tax hike challenged on grammar grounds", December 8, 2011
  50. Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Judge Refuses to Strike Down California Residency Requirement for Circulators, on Standing Grounds," February 4, 2011
  51. Ballot Access News, "Nevada Court Says Boulder City Council Should Not Have Sued Proponents of Initiatives; Tells City to Pay Attorneys’ Fees," April 1, 2011
  52. Nevada News & Views, "Judge Declares Boulder City Crossed the Line," Accessed May 5, 2011
  53. Ballot Access News,"Florida Group Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear its Appeal on Petitioning Case," January 22, 2010
  54. "Petition to SCOTUS for hearing," filed January 20, 2010
  55. AllGov,"Voters Sue Florida over Misleading Ballot Language," July 1, 2010
  56. Courthouse News,"Florida Lies on the Ballot, Voters Say," June 30, 2010
  57. Associated Press,"4 voters challenging Fla. health care amendment," July 2, 2010
  58. Politico,"Florida districting fight heads to court, as expected," November 3, 2010
  59. Naples News,"Brent Batten: Fight over Amendments 5, 6 heads to court," November 8, 2010
  60. Sunshine State News,"Federal Court Hears Arguments in Ballot Campaign Disclosure Case," July 28, 2011
  61. The Miami Herald,"Suit targets campaign disclosure requirements for issue groups," July 27, 2011
  62. Maryland Daily Record, "Baltimore Orphans’ Court judge denied seat", November 3, 2010
  63. Ballot Access News, "Court rules signatures can be valid, even if illegible," March 22, 2011
  64. Ballot Access News, "Eighth Circuit Reinstates Minnesota Lawsuit against Law Criminalizing False Statements in Ballot Question Campaigns", April 30, 2011
  65. Kansas City Star, "Missouri abortion initiative attacked from all sides", March 27, 2009
  66. Springfield Business Journal Online, "Eminent domain petitions await court decisions", March 16, 2009
  67. Springfield Business Journal,"Group works to put patient choice on 2010 ballot," December 14, 2009
  68. The Kansas City Star,"Civic leaders plan campaign to keep KC earnings tax," December 7, 2010
  69. Missoulian, "Montana Supreme Court OKs payday loan initiative", August 18, 2010
  70. Great Falls Tribune, "Montana outfitters file suit to stop initiative", August 30, 2010
  71. North Platte Telegraph, "Appeal filed on petition decision", May 29, 2010
  72. Enid News, "State Question 746 to bring voter ID issue to voters", September 12, 2010
  73. The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma voter ID measure challenged", November 17, 2010
  74. The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma English-only measure challenged", November 11, 2010
  75. Tulsa World, "Injunction issued on 755", November 30, 2010
  76. The Oregon Politico, "For Newberg initiative petition, fifth time appears to be the charm," July 7, 2010
  77. KATU, "Casino backers sue to get measure on Ore. ballot", July 28, 2010
  78. Ballot Access News, "Eighth Circuit Dismisses South Dakota Lawsuit on Petitioner Residency, for Lack of Standing," May 5th, 2011
  79. Salt Lake Tribune, "Suit demands secrecy for ethics petition signers", April 15, 2010
  80. Ballot Access News, "Federal Court Lets Initiative Signers Keep Names and Addresses Private for Now," March 22, 2011
  81. Ballot Access News, "Fourth Circuit Sets Hearing Date in Petitioner Residency Lawsuit," March 18, 2011
  82. The Daily Herald,"Suit filed over $505 million bond measure language," May 11, 2010
  83. The Spokesman-Review,"Anti-tax measure heads to court," July 26, 2011
  84. Associated Press,"Dems challenge WA initiative curbing tax increases," July 25, 2011