In October, our blog covered ballot measures across several states and topics. From voting rights to recreational marijuana and more, we’re revisiting the ballot measures to see how they fared.
In our first blog about ballot measures, we covered seven states with voting-related ballot measures. Five of six were approved in November, and Louisiana votes on Amendment 1 in December.
- Voters in Nevada approved Question 3, joining Maine and Alaska in using open primaries and ranked-choice voting. This system is widely considered to better represent voters’ preferences, and it requires candidates gain broad support.
- In Connecticut, voters approved Question 1 to allow in-person early voting. In a win for voting rights, there are now only four states not utilizing early voting.
- Michigan saw another major voting rights win after voters approved Proposal 2. The measure amended the state constitution to implement several voter protections.
- Voters in Arizona narrowly defeated Prop 309, which would’ve restricted protocols around voter ID and mail-in ballot laws. Native groups celebrated the outcome of the ballot measure, contending that it would’ve created barriers for tribal voters.
- Nebraskans approved Initiative 432, allowing the state legislature to pass a law requiring a photo ID to vote.
- Issue 2 passed in Ohio, prohibiting local governments from allowing people lacking qualifications to vote in local elections.
Of the five ballot measures seeking to legalize cannabis, Missouri and Maryland prevailed. Residents of Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota voted against legalizing cannabis for recreational use.
Enslavement, Servitude, and Criminal Punishment
Voters in Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont approved ballot measures to remove racist language and involuntary servitude from their state constitutions. In Louisiana, however, Amendment 7 failed by over 20%.
There were two main issues that contributed to the result, the first being voter confusion over the amendment’s language. The second issue was the amendment not going far enough; it still allowed for forced labor in prison, making the measure the same as the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Reported by NBC News, Black voters in the state are rightly feeling confused, angry, and embarrassed. We hope the amendment will be reworked and brought back in another election soon.
Other ballot measures
In Colorado, voters approved Proposition 123, which will create an affordable housing fund. The state will now have several new programs aimed toward building affordable housing and keeping folks in their homes.
Voters in Nebraska and Nevada approved minimum wage increases for their respective states. Initiative 433will bring Nebraska minimum wage to $15 by 2026. Question 2 increased Nevada’s minimum wage to $12 by July 1, 2024, and now allows the state legislature to pass minimum wage laws higher than $12.
New York voters, through approval of Proposal 1, acted on climate change and environmental justice. Over $4 billion will now be used on initiatives related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. At least 35% of the money will go to disadvantaged communities; it’s great to see the strong pursuit of environmental justice.
Ballot measures, such as these, can make a huge difference on state policy. It’s important to be informed each election about the proposals on the ballot in your state, in addition to being knowledgeable about the candidates.