Ballot Initiatives

The Supreme Court has not allowed a federal district court order to go into effect which required Oregon to include a ballot initiative with only 50 percent of the signatures required by Oregon’s constitution, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oregon Constitution requires advocates of ballot initiatives to obtain signatures equal to eight percent of ballots cast in the most recent governor’s race (here about 150,000) four months before the...

In Idaho to get a citizen’s initiative on the ballot, petitioners must obtain signatures from six percent of electors by April 30. Reclaim Idaho asked to be temporarily allowed to gather signatures online due to COVID-19. It sued after state government officials informed it that Idaho statutes don’t allow electronic signatures for petitions and the governor didn’t intend to take executive action.

As the Supreme Court explained, “[t]he District Court in...

CSG Midwest
In future Michigan elections, getting initiatives on the ballot will require more than simply gathering enough valid signatures from anywhere in the state. HB 6595, signed into law in late December, requires what its supporters have called “geographic diversity.” No more than 15 percent of the signatures used to determine the validity of an initiative petition can come from a single congressional district. Michigan has 14 congressional districts. This new law applies to voter-initiated constitutional amendments, statutes and veto referenda.

Ballot measures to expand Medicaid eligibility in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah passed in the mid-term elections. Montana voters rejected a measure to continue the expansion in their state.

As we enter election season, it's critical for voters to know the key issues of the day and where their representatives stand on them. That civic duty can be inhibited when the language of a legislative text becomes lengthy, ambiguous or just plain bad.
The complexity of the legal jargon found on voter ballots isn’t a new issue. Just last year, both Ballotpedia and political scientists from Georgia State University (GSU) conducted assessments to analyze just how complicated the average ballot reads. Both parties used the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, which measures how many words are in a sentence and how many syllables are in those words. Both studies found that the average ballot question requires at least some college-level education. Ballotpedia found that the average question required a graduate-level education.

From a gas tax repeal in California to a proposed gas tax increase in Missouri and from a lockbox amendment in Connecticut to dueling bonding proposals in Colorado, state ballots this November will include a variety of measures that could have a profound impact on the future of transportation around the country. Transportation is also being raised as an issue in many of the nation’s gubernatorial contests this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the transportation policy-related choices voters will face on Election Day and links to where you can read more.

CSG Midwest
In less than eight weeks, some Midwestern voters will be asked to decide more than just who will sit in which legislative seats. Depending on their location, they’ll be asked about redistricting, legalizing marijuana, ethics reform, Medicaid expansion, and more.
CSG Midwest
Later this year, South Dakotans will vote on whether the state should have a higher bar for changing the Constitution. Under the proposal, placed on the ballot this year by the Legislature, constitutional amendments would require approval of 55 percent of the votes cast.

Virginia Legislature Votes for Expansion

On May 30, the Virginia Senate voted, with 4 Republicans supporting the measure, to expand Medicaid eligibility to all individuals with income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line, according to the Washington Post. Later in the day, the House of Delegates approved the bill by 67 to 31. Gov. Northam, a pediatrician who campaigned in 2017 on expanding Medicaid, is expected to sign the bill.

CSG Midwest
Ohio already has a plan in place that will change how the state’s legislative lines are drawn after the next U.S. census, and voters will have the chance in May to change the process for congressional districts. SJR 5 was passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, culminating months of bipartisan legislative negotiations, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports.

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