electionlineWeekly Previews 2018 Voting-Related Ballot Measures

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There has been a lot of attention to the candidates on the November 6 ballot – but in this week’s electionline newsletter, Mindy Moretti previews a number of state and local ballot questions addressing issues with the voting process:

On November 6, in addition to political races, voters in 38 states will decide 157 statewide ballot measures and countless other local initiatives and referendums.

There will be the usual suspects like pot, taxes Medicaid expansion, and the minimum wage. But in addition there will be eight statewide ballot measures on election reform covering everything from photo ID to early voting to ballot collection.

In addition to the statewide elections-related ballot measures there will also be at least nine local elections-related ballot measures covering everything from lowering the voting age to non-citizen voting to ranked choice voting.

Here is a snapshot of how voters will be voting on voting on November 6.

Statewide Measures
 Voters will decide on State Issue 2 which if approved would require voters to present a valid photo ID to cast non-provisional ballots in person or absentee. This amendment was referred to the ballot by the House after other voter ID laws were overturned by the courts.

Florida:Amendment 4 would automatically restore the voting rights to about 1.4 million Floridians who have completed the terms of their felony convictions. The exceptions would be those who were convicted of murder or felony sexual offense. Polls have indicated that the Amendment has wide support.

Maryland: Question 2 would allow the state Legislature to amend the state constitution in order to allow for registration at polling places on election day. Currently the state allows for same-day registration at vote centers during early voting.

Michigan: This citizen led-initiative (Proposal 3) would amend the constitution to implement no-reason absentee voting, give military members additional time to vote, let citizens register to vote anytime with proof of residency, allow straight party voting, protect secret ballots and require audits for election results.  

Montana: This legislatively referred state statute (Montana LR-129) would ban persons from collecting the election ballots of other people, with exceptions for certain individuals. Exceptions include election officials, postal service workers or others authorized to transmit mail, caregivers, family members, household members and individuals known by the voter.

Nevada: Question 5 is an indirect initiated state statute that would provide for the automatic voter registration of eligible citizens when receiving certain services from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

North Carolina: After a protracted legal battle and a contentious legislative session voters will make the ultimate decision on North Carolina’s Voter ID Amendment. If approved, voters would be required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in future elections.

North DakotaMeasure 2, an initiated constitutional amendment, would amend the state’s constitution to clarify that only U.S. citizens are eligible to vote in federal, state and local elections.

Local Measures
 Voters in the City of Los Angeles will decide whether or not they want to amend the city’s charter (Charter Amendment E) so that the city’s primary election date will align with the state’s primary election, held in March of even-numbered years. The amendment would also make other related and technical changes to the city election procedures.

Colorado: Voters in the City of Golden will decide whether or not they want to amend sections 3.4 and 15.14k of the Home Rule Charter (Ballot Question 2E) to allow the city council to enact an ordinance that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections while retaining the current requirement that council members be at least 18-years-old.

Also in Colorado, residents of Denver will decide whether or not they want to amend the city and county’s charter (Measure 2B) to change the required number of signatures for initiatives from a percentage of votes cast in the last mayoral election to a percentage of registered voters in Denver. If approved, the amendment would also lengthen the city council’s review and comment period for proposed initiatives.

Illinois: After surviving a legal challenge, voters in the City of Bloomington will vote on whether or not the city’s election commission should be abolished and the McLean County clerk’s office take over the administration of elections for the city.

New Mexico: Residents in the City of Santa Fe will decide whether or not to move the city’s elections from spring to the fall. Voter approval of the charter amendment would establish new odd-year elections and change the beginning and end dates for elected municipal officeholders.

North Dakota: Fargo’s Measure 1 would change the city’s voting system from plurality voting to approval voting allowing voters to vote for any number of candidates they choose in a local election. [I blogged about this twice back in 2017 – DMCj.]

Ohio: Voters in the City of Akron will vote whether or not amend their city’s charter (Issue 9) to move the city’s primary municipal elections to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May.

Oregon: Residents of Lane County will decide if they want to move to the STAR method of voting for non-partisan elections. STAR stands for, Score, Then Automatic Runoff. Using the STAR method, ballots would list every candidate and allow voters to score them zero to five. The two highest scoring candidates are the finalists for an automatic runoff. Your vote goes to whichever of those two received your higher score.

Tennessee: After months of back-and-forth within the Memphis city council, the residents of Memphis will now weigh in on Referendum Ordinance 6577, which if approved will repeal the city’s use of run-off elections and establish that the candidate with the most votes, wins.

Vermont: Residents in Montpelier will decide if they want to join a small, but growing handful of municipalities that allow documented non-citizens to vote in local elections.

With the exception of voter ID and non-citizen voting, these issues aren’t likely to generate the kind of partisan heat that many ballot questions bring; however, if enacted, each of them will constitute significant change in how the affected jurisdiction administers its elections. Stay tuned …

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