Supermajority requirement

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 15:26, 20 October 2012 by JWilliams (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
A supermajority requirement is a requirement in some votes and elections where more than a simple majority of those voting must vote in favor of a proposal in order for it to be considered to have been approved.

Examples of supermajority requirements:

Enact state budgets

Several states require a supermajority vote to pass their state's budget:

Tax increases

Voters in the State of Washington passed I-960 in 2007, which imposed a 2/3rds requirement on the Washington State Legislature for tax increases. The state legislature overturned this initiative through the process known as legislative tampering and its supporters then qualified I-1053 for the state's 2010 ballot. I-1053 was approved.

Changing vote requirements

Measure that propose changing vote requirements require a supermajority vote. Passed in 1998, Oregon Ballot Measure 63 amended the state constitution to require that:

"Any measure that includes any proposed requirement for more than a majority of votes cast by the electorate to approve any change in law or government action shall become effective only if approved by at least the same percentage of voters specified in the proposed voting requirement."

This provision also applies to legislatively-referred ballot measures.

Votes on constitutional amendments

See also: Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment and Initiated constitutional amendment

In some states, voters must approve a proposed constitutional amendment by more than a simple majority.

In Louisiana, a simple majority vote is required to approve an amendment, unless the amendment affects five or fewer parishes, in which case it has to be approved by a majority statewide vote and by a majority vote in the parishes it affects. The same thing is true for an amendment that affects five or fewer municipalities in the state.

In Maryland, Article XIV of the Maryland Constitution allows for the possibility that some proposed constitutional amendments may apply to only one county (or the City of Baltimore, which is governed independently of a county structure). In this case, Article XIV says that in order to become part of the constitution, the proposed amendment must be approved by a majority vote not just statewide, but specifically in the county (or Baltimore) to which it exclusively applies.

60% supermajority

  • Illinois. For a referred amendment to win in Illinois, it must win a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.

2/3rds supermajority

  • New Hampshire: A proposed amendment must be approved by 2/3rds of those voting in order to become part of the state's constitution.

Double majority

Several states require a so-called double majority vote on proposed amendments. This means that the ballot question must win not just a majority of all votes cast on that particular proposal, but a majority of the vote of everyone voting in that election, even if not all voters cast a vote for or against a proposed amendment.

  • In Hawaii, a proposed amendment is considered to be approved if:
  • It is approved by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question if this majority constitutes at least 50% of the total vote cast at the election, or,
  • If approved at a special election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, if this majority consists of at least 30% of the total number of registered voters in the state at that time.
  • Illinois. For a referred amendment to win in Illinois, it must win a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.
  • Tennessee. A proposed amendment in Tennessee must earn a majority of those voting on the amendment, and "a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor."
  • Utah. A proposed amendment in Utah requires a vote of at least a "majority of the electors of the State voting at the next general election." This means that more voters can vote "yes" on a particular amendment than "no" and it still might lose, depending on how many voters altogether vote in that election.

Other

  • In Massachusetts, a proposed amendment can be passed by majority vote, provided that the total number of votes cast on the initiative equals at least 30% of the total votes cast in the election.
  • In Mississippi, an amendment is considered approved if it receives a majority vote, provided that the total number of votes cast on the initiative equals at least 40% of the total votes cast in the election.
  • In Nebraska, a proposed amendment becomes part of the Nebraska Constitution if it wins a majority vote and it wins the votes of at least 35% of those voting in the election for any office.

Constitutional conventions

See also: Constitutional convention

Forty-four states have rules that govern how, in their state, a constitutional convention can be called. In most (but not all) of these states, the voters have to weigh in on the question. In one state, Maryland, a double majority is required to earn approval: the number of people voting "yes" needs to be more than 50% of the total number of Marylanders who vote overall; not just a simple majority of those voting on the question. This came into play in Maryland in 2010, when the Constitutional Convention Question, Issue 1 did win a majority of votes of those voting on the measure itself, but was defeated because that number of affirmative votes was less than 50% of those voting in the election overall.

See also

References