Voters decided 186 ballot propositions in 39 states in 2012, approving 63 percent of them. The electorate swung to the left on some issues, with potential breakthrough victories for advocates of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, and same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington. Other high-profile issues included taxes, the death penalty and illegal immigration.
Several of the 135 amendments on the 2012 ballot attracted significant attention, including a California amendment increasing income and sales tax rates, a Colorado amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, and various amendments regarding the right to bear arms, same-sex marriage and affirmative action. Although voters in three states rejected automatically generated referendums on calling constitutional conventions, two recently established constitutional revision commissions were operating this year, thereby continuing a recent tradition of undertaking constitutional reform through piecemeal amendments and commissions rather than in conventions.