2010 Ballot Measure Outcomes

Voters gave their say on ballot measures addressing varied topics including marijuana use, tax cuts, land use policy changes, constitutional conventions, and state name changes.
by | November 4, 2010

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states had more than 160 ballot measures this Election Day. Governing targeted a select mix of social and economic ballot measures that caught our eye. I present their outcomes below. For a complete rundown on the many ballot measures, check out the National Conference of State Legislature's NCSL has a complete run down of ballot measure results, including insights on the Prop*50 blog, which is chock full of great coverage.

California: NO to marijuana for personal use

Legalized marijuana use? Not so much, voters parlayed at the polls. The Los Angeles Times reported that moderate voters opposed the measure, but efforts from the the Prop. 19 campaign could set the stage for similar measures in some western states (and maybe again in California) in 2012.

California: YES for a simple majority to pass a budget

Voters said yes to changing the votes needed to pass a budget from a supermajority to a simple majority. Governing Politics blogger emeritus Josh Goodman said in a past entry that if Jerry Brown was elected governor, Democrats in the legislature would have nominal control of state government, but not functional control unless Prop. 25 passed. Well, Brown is governor-elect and Prop. 25 passed.

California: NO to suspending environmental law until unemployment goes down

Voters said no to Proposition 23, which would have suspended a emission reduction law until the state's unemployment rate reaches and stays at 5.5 percent for a year. (Right now, California's unemployment is 12.4 percent.)

Colorado: NO to lowering taxes

Coloradoans seemed to buck the anti-tax, anti-spending sentiment by voting 'no' on three measures: Amendments 60 would have broadly lowered property taxes, Amendment 61 would limit state and local government borrowing, and Proposition 101 would have decreased car and telecom fees and taxes, and reduced the income tax.

Colorado: NO to defining personhood

Voters defeated Amendment 62, which would have provided rights to humans starting at "the beginning of the biological development," by a 3-1 margin, reports the Denver Post. Personhood proponents support amendments defining when life begins because they could provide a basis to end abortion.

Florida: NO to democratizing land use changes

Amendment 4 would have required a vote before a land-use plan could be altered. Voters rejected it at about a 2-1 margin, reports the Miami Herald. Opponents of Amendment 4 spent $12 million to defeat the measure.

Maryland: YES to a constitutional convention?

Many states automatically ask voters every few years if the state should hold a constitutional convention. Maryland stands apart from Idaho, Montana and Michigan in that voters might have actually voted to have one this year.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the number of votes to confirm the convention is uncertain. There is a majority of votes in support of the measure, but that doesn't represent the majority of all voters, who may have left the question blank. According to NCSL's Prop*50 blog, the last state to hold a constitutional convention was Rhode Island in 1985-1986. Speaking of Rhode Island...

Rhode Island: NO to dropping 'Providence Plantations' from the state name

Rhode Island's official name is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." The part about plantations could be seen as an allusion to slavery, so the state asked voters if it should simply be "State of Rhode Island" -- voters refused.

Washington: NO on candy and income tax

Nearly two-thirds of voters said no to keeping a tax on candy and implementing a tax on high income earners. Governing Editor-at-Large Paul Taylor wrote that the "candy tax," implemented in June, would be "one of the shortest lived revenue sources in state history." In addition, Initiative 1053 now requires a legislative supermajority in order to pass new taxes.

Tina Trenkner
Tina Trenkner  |  Deputy Editor, GOVERNING.com
ttrenkner@governing.com  |  @tinatrenkner

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