A Look at Some 2018 Ballot Questions

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Other than the Senate, US House and gubernatorial races this year, voters will be presented with several ballot questions.  In earlier primary elections, voters have already approved nine of eleven questions including one in Oklahoma approving of medical marijuana.  


The number of questions this year is way below the average for election years since 2010.  Thirteen are bond questions whose total is almost $17 billion with the bulk of it coming out of California.  As is usual, most of the questions deal with tax reform of some type. What follows is a survey of some of the more interesting questions being put to voters in November by category.

Abortion:   Alabama votes on a referendum that codifies the sanctity of life and stating that nothing in their state constitution secures a right to an abortion or funding for abortion.  The sponsor of the measure says it is necessary should the Supreme Court ever overturn Roe vs. Wade.  An almost identical question will be posed to the voters of West Virginia.  How this affects GOP turnout and Manchin’s chances of reelection may be a consideration.

Civil Rights:  It is good to know that Colorado is getting around to asking their citizens whether language in their state constitution which allows for slavery should be stricken.  My best guess: it will be approved.

Voters in Massachusetts will be asked whether a law that provides civil rights protection to people based on gender identity should be repealed.  Don’t count on this one passing.

Electoral Reform and Campaign Finance:  An Arizona measure would prohibit candidates who receive public financing for their campaigns from giving any funds to a political party or political advocacy group.


In Arkansas, voters will be asked to approve a voter picture ID law.  Voter ID requirements to vote in person is also on the ballot in North Carolina.

Colorado, in the wake of the Supreme Court punting on political gerrymandering questions, asks voters to remove the task of redistricting every ten years from the state legislature and giving that task to an independent commission in both federal and state legislative redistricting.  In fact, many states are moving towards this option. Michigan also is asking voters whether an independent commission should be established with the task of legislative redistricting rather than leave that to the state legislature. A similar question is on the ballot in Utah. New redistricting requirements by the state legislature were already approved in Ohio on May 8th.

Same-day voter registration is the topic of a question in Maryland.  If approved, the state legislature would be directed with passing a law allowing for such.  Meanwhile in Nevada, voters will be asked whether voters be automatically registered to vote when they receive or renew a driver’s license through their DMV.

In Massachusetts, if approved, a citizen’s commission would be created that would advocate for a Constitutional amendment to (1) overturn Citizens United and (2) deny personhood to corporations.  South Dakota is asking voters whether new restrictions should be placed on political donations and whether certain actors be banned from making political contributions.  The law would apply to only state, not federal, elections.


North Dakota has an omnibus referendum in this area that would create a state ethics commission, ban foreign contributions and enact measures to reign in lobbyists and conflicts of interest.  The devil is in the details. South Dakota has a question that would ban out-of-state contributions and advocacy for any ballot question.

Environment:  Florida voters will be asked whether to ban offshore oil and gas exploration off their coasts.  Oddly, included in the question is whether indoor vaping should be banned.

Perhaps taking a cue from their neighbors to the west, Nevada voters will be asked whether 50% of their energy needs should be met by renewable sources by the year 2030.  This feel-good referendum in response to the climate change hoax will be closely watched.

Healthcare:  In Idaho, voters will be asked whether Medicaid should be expanded in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  The same question is on the ballot in Utah.

Immigration:  A recently approved referendum question would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law which prohibits state and local law enforcement from using any funds to apprehend and detain federal immigration violators.  

Just Plain Weird:  Leave it to California for this category.  One question would provide for permanent Daylight Savings Time, if the federal government would allow it while a second question would ban the sale of meat from certain animals confined in spaces below state-specified sizes.


Marijuana:  As mentioned earlier, Oklahoma voters have already approved medical marijuana.  However, voters in Michigan will now be asked to legalize marijuana for recreational use following the lead of other states like Colorado and Oregon.  Meanwhile, Utah will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Surprisingly missing from the list this year is New Jersey which often has 2-4 questions on the ballot.  Wisconsin is another state with no questions currently on the ballot, although they turned down a ballot question on April 3rd that would have eliminated the position of state treasurer.


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