The Tuesday Count: 2012 pushes forward, while activity continues to brew for 2011
Edited by Bailey Ludlam
Not only did Ballotpedia's 2012 count inch up by two this week, but two new states were added to the mix in a series of exciting developments, ending in an increased total of 35 measures in 16 states.
One state legislature, that just two weeks ago was reported to act on several ballot proposals, finally sent one to its voters. Minnesota is now set to send at least one measure to the ballot next year by adding a same-sex marriage ban amendment to the count. Minnesota Legislature can still potentially certify re-introduced proposals in legislative session next year. An estimated 18 proposals remain pending.
The measure, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, proposes banning same-sex marriage. Unlike previous, unsuccessful attempts to place a marriage amendment before state residents, the 2012 measure may leave open the possibility of same-sex civil unions.
New Mexico joined the group of states with certified measures, letting voters decide on a Judicial Standards Commission Amendment, which was retroactively added to the 2012 Tuesday Count, having been approved by legislature on March 18, 2011.
The measure would add two members to the Judicial Standards Commission by changing the New Mexico Constitution. The commission investigates allegations against judges, conducts hearings, and also recommends sanctions to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The year is flying by as June rapidly approaches, with developments for 2011 ballot measures mirroring the rising summer temperatures. This week, the 2011 total kept consistent with its flat-line of certified ballot measures, but like an anticipation of volcanic activity, much is brewing below the surface.
The 2011 Ohio collective bargaining veto referendum is gaining a lot of attention, and as of May 20, 2011, more than a month before the petition drive deadline, supporters claimed that they had collected approximately 214,000 signatures. We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas stated that a sampling of those signatures showed a validation rate of about 60 percent.
According to reports, the group should collect 400,000 signatures at that rate in order for the measure to make the ballot. Fazekas said, "Our goal is to collect between 450,000 and 500,000 [signatures]." 
State law stipulates that referendum supporters have until June 29, 2011, 90 days after the targeted law was signed by the state governor, to collect additional signatures. A total of 231,149 signatures must be collected from registered voters; equal to 6 percent of the total number of voters in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Additionally, those signatures must come from least half of the 88 counties in the state.
Texas State Legislature has less than a week of session left, with May 30, 2011 being the last day, so keep an eye out for certified ballot measures for the 2011 election in next week's Tuesday Count.
- Montana Definition of Person Amendment (2012) - may appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Montana as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would define "person" to include all members of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development, according to the Montana Secretary of State's website.
- Montana Juror Prosecution Amendment (2012) - may appear on the 2012 ballot in the state of Montana as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure require that "jurors be informed of their power to determine the propriety of the law to prevent unjust prosecutions", according to the Montana Secretary of State's office.
- Oregon Emergency Reserve Fund Amendment (2012) - may appear on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The proposed measure would dedicate a portion of current "kicker" tax rebates to a rainy day fund. Additionally, the measure would include a tax break for long-term capital gains.
A controversial Seattle Viaduct Tunnel replacement question was officially approved for the August 16 ballot on May 23. The groups Protect Seattle Now and the Sierra Club had petitioned the city to allow a vote on a portion of the tunnel ordinance approved earlier this year. The portion of the ordinance which was decided by a King County judge to be up for referendum was the section which would give the city council the authority to proceed with the tunnel contracts which have been approved, after the Environmental Impact Statement is finished later in the year.
This narrow subject matter has raised the question that if this is defeated in August, it does not mean the tunnel project will be halted. State officials have already stated that this vote will not stop their plans to go ahead with the replacement of the viaduct. A vote in 2009 by the city already allows for replacement of the tunnel, the question still undecided is what will replace the current viaduct. The Seattle Department of Transportation has already spent money preparing certain areas of the city for construction of the proposed tunnel. Those against the tunnel want this measure to be a vote for or against the project, but it is unlikely the scope of the language will allow for that.
Official language is to be released May 24, the deadline for placing measures on the August ballot.
BALLOT LAW UPDATE
Court actions concerning I&R: A California tech firm, Verafirma, is suing the San Mateo County Elections Office in a bid to allow electronic signatures for state initiatives. In Ni v Slocum, Verafirma founder Michael Ni is challenging San Mateo County's rejection of an electronic signature in favor of Proposition 19. The California First District Court of Appeal heard arguments in the case on May 10. Initial reports suggest that the court may be hesitant to rule on a such a technical issue.
Bills to watch: California Senate Bill 168 would ban pay-per-signature in the State of California. Violation of the law would constitute a misdemeanor offense. Current law does not prohibit the practice, but it does require that petition forms include a notice indicating that the circulator may or may not be a volunteer. The bill has passed the Senate and has been referred to committee in the State House.Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.
| 2011 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2011 Scorecard|
- 2011 ballot measures and 2012 ballot measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2011
- Potential 2011 ballot measures and Potential 2012 ballot measures
- Star Tribune, "Legislators trim wording of marriage amendment," April 28, 2011
- New Mexico Legislature", HJR 18", Retrieved May 23, 2011
- Dailykos.com, "Over 214,000 signatures gathered to repeal SB 5 in Ohio", May 20, 2011
- Business Journal, "S.B. 5 Vote in 2011 Helps GOP in 2012", March 4, 2011
- The Oregonian,"Kicker changes, capital gains cut hit roadblock at Oregon Legislature," May 9, 2011
- Ballot Access News, "Electronic Signatures on Petitions Case Argued in California State Court of Appeals," May 10, 2011
- Mercury News, "Attention, voters. You better start practicing your e-signature," May 7, 2010
- Senate Bill 168, Bill information