Edited by Al Ortiz
The Tuesday Count took on a wild change recently with plenty of states across the nation showing political activity. California has added more fuel to the rampant fire of ballot measure developments by pulling a certified measure off of the ballot this past week.
In addition, two other states added a total of seven initiatives between them. All in all, the 2012 ballot measure total has sprung up to 143 ballot measures in 35 states.
Beginning with this week’s de-certification, California residents have to wait a while longer in order to decide whether or not to overhaul the state’s water system. Awater bond measure was removed from the ballot on July 5 when the California State Legislature approved a bill to take the measure off the 2012 ballot. Lois Wolk, one of the state senators who voted in favor of this move, said that it was undertaken because the Democratic majority in the state legislature wants to do everything they can to ensure that the “Jerry Brown Take Hike Initiative” on the November 6, 2012 ballot has a good chance of passing. She said, “We are faced with a tax levy in November. It would be disastrous to have [the borrowing] on the ballot.”
If voters approve the water bond, which could possibly be placed on the 2014 ballot, it would allow the state government to borrow $11.1 billion to overhaul the state’s water system.
To the north of California, on July 6, the state of Washington saw its petition drive deadline pass for ballot initiative efforts. When all was said and done, two initiatives filed signatures with the Washington Secretary of State‘s office. According to the secretary’s office the filed initiatives will be placed on the November 6 ballot. Both submitted the required number of signatures.
One of the two measures included a charter school initiative to allow 40 public charter schools in the state over the next five years. The group that is in favor of the measure, and who submitted the initiative, is a coalition that includes the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform.
Also submitting signatures was an initiative effort to require either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes. According to the initiative, a one-third minority of Legislators in either House or the Senate could prevent the passage of any measure to raise revenue or repeal existing tax exemptions. The measure defines repealing a tax exemption as raising revenue. Currently, it only takes a simple majority to pass a tax exemption but under the proposal, a two-thirds majority of both houses would be required to repeal it.
However, the two initiatives weren’t the only ones to have made the ballot in Washington. Two legislative referrals have also been added. One measure would implement changes in the use of state bond debt, while the other would provide clear authority to state research universities to invest funds. According to the secretary of state’s office, the measures’ formal titles were SJR 8221 and SJR 8223.
On the East Coast, Massachusetts initiative organizers had until July 3 to submit signatures to election officials in the state. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State‘s office, all three proposals’ sponsors submitted enough signatures to be placed on the November ballot. The proposals, all of which are expected to garner plenty of attention, included the medical marijuana initiative, the“Death with Dignity Act” proposal and the “Right to Repair” measure.
|Petition drive deadlines|
|Next up: Colorado
Then: North Dakota
Signature filing deadlines
Starting on July 3 and ending on July 9, there were 9 petition drive deadlines for proposed ballot initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. The required amount of valid signatures was required to be submitted to the appropriate election officials on those days in order for initiatives to be placed on the ballot.
As previously mentioned, all initiatives who filed signatures in Massachusetts and Washington have made the ballot. The same cannot be said for initiatives filed in others states…yet.
Below is a summary of which initiatives filed signatures and are currently being verified:
- Arizona (July 5): “Open Government Act” Initiative, Federal Action Rejection Initiative, Sales Tax Renewal Amendment
- Arkansas (July 6): Severance Tax Increase Question, Medical Marijuana Question, Casino Amendment
- Michigan (July 9): Collective Bargaining Initiative, Renewable Energy Amendment, Tax Approval Amendment
- Nebraska (July 6): None
- Nevada (July 9) (Veto referendums): None
- Ohio: Ohio Redistricting Amendment (2012)
- Oregon: See Quick hits
Final signatures submitted for veto referendums in Maryland: Supporters of both the Maryland Redistricting Referendum and the Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Referendum have submitted their final signatures. According to reports, the Maryland Secretary of State has until July 20 to verify them. Supporters must have 55,736 valid names to gain ballot access. According to reports, supporters of the same-sex marriage referendum have submitted 162,241 names total and, of this, 109,313 have already been verify by the state. The Secretary of State has until August 3 to certify the ballot title for these measures.
Six groups filed signatures on Monday’s deadline in Michigan: Monday, July 9, marked the deadline for groups proposing constitutional amendments to turn in names to the Michigan Secretary of State. From the list of hopefuls six amendments submitted signatures. Those that filed are as follows: the Renewable Energy Amendment, International Bridge Initiative, Taxation Amendment, Home Health Care Amendment, “Protect Our Jobs” Amendment, and the Casino Gaming Amendment. The Michigan Fracking Ban Amendment did not file signatures, but supporters are aiming to place the measure on the 2014 ballot.
|Proposals with recent activity|
Cayman Island residents head to the polls on July 18
Residents in the Cayman Islands will have the chance to vote on whether they would like to have single-member constituencies with each elector having just one vote. The current system, a multi-member, multi-vote elector system has been the form of voting in the country for 180 years.
Supporters of the “one man, one vote” concept had attempted to place the issue on the ballot through a signature gathering process, but the government decided to place the issue as a referendum vote instead. However, proponents are still circulating petitions in order to use gathered signatures as a way to inform people about the issue and encourage them to vote on the July 18.
The Premier of the country, along with his party, the United Democratic Party, have come out against the measure and have held meetings encouraging residents to vote against the referendum. The party has stated that the current system of voting is not broken, so there is no need to fix it. When the Premier was asked why he was against a referendum which his government initiated, he stated that they placed the referendum on the ballot because the people wanted to vote on it, but that did not mean it reflected the views of the government.
In order for the vote to be valid, at least 50 percent of those residents who are registered to vote must cast a vote in favor of the measure.
|California has one of the biggest ballot measure totals this year. How many measures are certified? Click here to find out!|
BALLOT LAW UPDATE
Judge rules in California ballot numbering case: On Monday, July 9 Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled against Molly Munger who had filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent ballot priority for a measure filed by Governor Jerry Brown over one filed by her. Munger argued that though she filed her measure before the governor’s, the Secretary of State certified his first and thereby gave his measure an advantage because it will appear first on the statewide ballot. Judge Kenny ruled that the state did nothing wrong and said that to do otherwise would be an act of him telling counties exactly how they should operate their certification procedures. As a result of the ruling, the measures that will appear on the ballot have been assigned an order by the Secretary of State, with Gov. Brown’s being the first listed.
Supporters of the Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment to file lawsuit over ballot title: Upset over Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s new wording for how the amendment will appear on the ballot, supporters of the measure are discussing how to proceed with a lawsuit claiming Secretary Ritchie is unlawfully using his office to fight the measure. According to reports, supporters plan to file their challenge directly with Minnesota Supreme Court. For reference, Secretary Ritchie plans to change the title from “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman” to “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”