The 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act aims to ensure U.S. military personnel, their dependents and other U.S. citizens living overseas have sufficient time to request and receive ballots and states allow enough time for the ballots to be counted. Significant progress has been made, but more improvements are needed. In this session, key stakeholders will share their perspectives in working to enhance voting for overseas Americans and discuss the need for state-level policy improvements.

Transportation was on the ballot around the country in a variety of ways last week—both directly and indirectly. While most of the action was not at the state level, there were a number of mayoral contests, bond measures and local tax increases that could have a significant impact in communities across the nation. Here’s a roundup of what happened and what it all might mean.

Voters went to the polls yesterday for state and local elections around the nation. Despite the fact that turnout is generally lower in off years, several states had important initiatives on their ballots allowing citizens to determine the future of policies directly. Jennifer Horn covered these Monday in her 2013 preview.

Tomorrow is Election Day 2013, and just two states - Virginia and New Jersey - are holding statewide elections.  In addition, voters in several states will be considering ballot initiatives on a wide range of issues, including the taxation of marijuana, raising the minimum wage, mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, and increased taxes to support public education.   <--break->

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.
 

Chapter 6 of the 2013 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Voters across the country made ballot decisions in the November elections that will have fiscal implications for years to come in many states. Ballot measures proposed a number of tax-related changes, including sales and income tax increases, caps on certain taxes—particularly property taxes—an increased ability for legislatures to provide tax breaks to individuals and businesses, and a requirement that new state taxes be passed by a supermajority of the legislature or go to the voters.

An effort to limit the ability of unions to automatically deduct political contributions from their member's paychecks failed on election day in California. The California secretary of state's website shows that Proposition 32 failed by a significant margin with roughly 56 percent in opposition.  Labor groups funneled over $75 million to defeat the measure backed by business groups that also gave roughly $60 million to support the referendum which would have prevented unions from giving money to candidates or political causes unless the contributions are voluntarily made.

Michigan voters rejected two ballot initiatives that would have amended the state constitution to require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity by 2025 and another that would grant a all workers in the state constitutionally protected collective bargaining rights and prevent the state from passing "right to work" laws. According to results from the Michigan secretary of state's website, the renewable energy referendum was opposed by nearly 63 percent of voters and the collective bargaining amendment fell by a margin of approximately 58 percent to 42 percent. 

Yesterday, the issue of same-sex marriage was on the ballot in four states, and in all four, voters chose in favor of marriage equality. 

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