Ballot Initiatives

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Maine voters approved (59 percent of the vote) a ballot measure to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 70,000 low-income individuals. Maine is the first state to approve Medicaid expansion through a voter referendum. It would bring the expansion total to 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Gov. Paul LePage, who has vetoed Medicaid expansion bills five times, has issued a statement saying he will not implement the measure unless the legislature fully funds it.

Infrastructure investment was a big winner on Election Day 2017 as a variety of state and local ballot measures around the country to raise taxes or authorize borrowing won voter approval. Here’s a roundup of what happened Tuesday and a look ahead to 2018.

Maine voters will have a chance to vote on Nov. 7, 2017, whether to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 70,000 Mainers under the age of 65 with incomes below or equal to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This is exactly the Medicaid expansion provision included in the Affordable Care Act.

In Virginia, the November ballot impact on health care is a little less direct, but is also being watched by political observers. All 100 House of Delegate seats are up for election. If the Democrats pick up a number of seats the legislature could approve Medicaid expansion, bringing health care insurance to 400,000 low income Virginians.

While 2017 is considered an off-year in most state election cycles, Election Day this year still will find transportation on the ballot in a variety of ways. From two key gubernatorial contests to state and local ballot measures, here’s a preview of what to look for on November 7 as well as updates on a few transportation-related matters already decided by voters.

Voters decided 162 state-level ballot propositions in 2016. Voters approved 47 initiatives, the most in a single year in American history. California pulled into a tie with Oregon for the most initiatives all time. High profile issues included marijuana legalization, labor markets and capital punishment.

CSG Midwest
Many states offer citizens a direct opportunity to create laws or constitutional amendments via the ballot box. Those that do also allow legislators to amend or even overturn those initiatives, a process generally known as “legislative intervention.”
CSG Midwest
Six states in the Midwest have “direct democracy”-type provisions that allow voters to veto bills passed by their legislatures or to adopt statutory or constitutional changes via the ballot.

In an election year, voter registration becomes an important agenda item for states throughout the country. This year, many states have employed new techniques in order to encourage voter registration and participation. For example, the State of Oregon has been on the forefront of one particular measure to increase registration. After passing a law in 2015, the state unveiled a program that automatically registers voters when they apply for, renew, or replace their state ID, or driver’s license at the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle...

CSG Midwest
State constitutions were changed and policies on issues ranging from medical marijuana to the death penalty were decided on by voters across the Midwest this November.
In all, 20 ballot proposals were voted on in seven states in the region. Here is a review of some of the proposals that won voter approval.

A record number of ballot initiatives regarding recreational and medicinal marijuana were considered during this election season. Five states (Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada) considered legalizing recreational marijuana and four states (Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota) voted on allowing or extending the use of medicinal marijuana.

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