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On the Ballot This Year: The Ballot Itself


Most states require a simple “50 percent plus one” majority to pass a ballot measure. In some cases, only three states have supersized requirements similar to what’s on the board in Arkansas – Florida, Washington, and Oregon.

In Arizona, there are three Proposed restriction on ballot measures in this year’s vote: Prop 128, which allows the Legislature to amend or repeal ballot measures even after they are passed if a judge provide that its provisions are unconstitutional; Proposition 129, would limit citizen-initiated voting measures to a single subject; and Proposition 132, which requires any ballot initiative that would raise taxes to pass 60%.

As in Arkansas, proponents of these ballot measures say they are needed to curb abuses of the process. Critics say they intend to lock down the power of the Republican-designated Legislature despite the independent redistricting committee’s best efforts to make the maps more accessible. should be more fair.

Liberal groups have found ballot measures to be a powerful, if expensive, tool to advance their policies – even in the red states. They say their successes in raising the minimum wage and expanding health care coverage through what they call “direct democracy” have prompted Republicans to push back by changing the rules. . In Maine, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah, voters have expanded access to Medicaid through voting, through the heads of state legislatures.

In South Dakota, voters this year decisively defeated a Republican attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that would require most voter-initiated referendums to pass with 60% of the vote. , instead of a simple majority. More than two-thirds of voters reject the measure.

Most, but not all, legislatures trying to limit the use of ballot measures are held by Republicans. For example, Democratic-run Colorado raised the requirement to pass constitutional amendments to 55% in 2016.

Kelly Hall, executive director of the Equity Project, a progressive group focused on winning ballot measures, praised the results of the recent Kansas referendum, where voters decline a proposal The abortion ban was added to the state constitution.

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