Tracking the Results of the 2014 Ballot Measures That Matter Most for States and Localities

A reading list of the most important measures, how voters cast their ballots and why they matter.
November 5, 2014

Click on a topic below to read stories about what's on the ballot in that area. For the latest on state and local elections, visit governing.com/elections. We'll also update this page with the results, as they come in tonight and tomorrow.

COURTS and CORRECTIONS

Alabama Joins Wave of States Banning Foreign Laws

Most states have at least considered banning foreign laws in their courts in recent years. Opponents say the controversial bans target Islam and are based on stereotypes.

California Reduces Penalties for Drug Use and Other Nonviolent Crimes

The state that once pioneered get-tough approaches on crime with its “three strikes” law is now headed in the opposite direction.

Rick Scott Won't Get to Stack Florida Supreme Court

Floridians defeated a proposed constitutional change that would have let governors name a new judge once the retirement date of the outgoing judge is known.

EDUCATION

New Yorkers Approve $2 Billion in School Spending

The bond referendum provides money for more space, better security and new high-tech gadgets.

Oregon Voters Nix Proposed Education Trust Fund

Oregon would have been the first state to set up an ongoing investment trust fund for higher education.

ELECTIONS and POLITICS

Arizona Votes for Opting Out of Federal Laws

If Arizona successfully opts out of enforcing a federal law like Obamacare, some see other states following suit.

Voters Pass Up Voting Changes

Three states rejected ballot measures that either would have made voting easier or harder.

Rhode Islanders Reject Bringing the Constitutional Convention Back

The Ocean State is one of more than a dozen that periodically asks voters whether they want to hold another constitutional convention.

Rick Scott Won't Get to Stack Florida Supreme Court

Floridians defeated a proposed constitutional change that would have let governors name a new judge once the retirement date of the outgoing judge is known.

Arkansas Voters Approve Extended Term Limits

Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure that combined popular ethics reforms with an extension of term limits for state lawmakers.

FINANCE

California's New Rainy Day Fund Rules to Be Closely Watched

The state, often a policy trendsetter, approved a ballot measure to institutionalize savings habits and harness the state’s notoriously wild revenue swings.

Georgia Becomes First State to Cap Income Taxes

The cap makes the state more competitive with its tax-friendlier neighbors, but states that have enacted similar restrictions on taxes encountered financial problems later.

Massachusetts Rolls Back Automatic Gas Tax Hike

One of the biggest criticisms of the gas tax in most places is that it doesn’t keep up with inflation. Massachusetts voters decided they like it that way.

Voters Split on Transportation Funding

Constitutional protections for transportation money passed with overwhelming margins in Maryland and Wisconsin, but a bid to create an infrastructure bank in Louisiana failed again.

Traffic-Tied Texans Tap Oil and Gas Taxes for Transportation

Voters approved a constitutional amendment to increase transportation spending.

Oil-Rich North Dakota Rejects Conservation Measure

Environmental groups spent nearly twice as much money as their opponents to set aside some oil revenue for protecting the land, but the ballot measure lost by a landslide.

New Yorkers Approve $2 Billion in School Spending

The bond referendum provides money for more space, better security and new high-tech gadgets.

Missouri Voters Reject Lottery Funding for Veterans

The state would have been the fifth to put part of their lottery proceeds toward veterans programs.

Missouri Voters Won't Raise Sales Tax to Fund Transportation

Voters rejected a sales tax increase that would have provided billions of dollars for road and bridge repairs.

Alaskans Keep Industry-Friendly Oil Tax

In a state with an economy and government reliant on diminishing oil revenue, voters decided not to repeal a law that's designed to spur oil development but help the at-times corrupt oil industry.

FOOD and AGRICULTURE

GMO Labeling Still Fails to Win Voter Approval in Colorado

Voters have never passed GMO labeling in any state. But the vote in Oregon is so close it could be contested, and activists are taking their fight to the legislatures.

Arkansas Votes to Keep Prohibition

After a fight led by liquor stores, the state will keep decisions about whether or not to sell alcohol at the county level.

Missouri’s 'Right-to-Farm' Amendment Squeaks By

Voters narrowly approved a ballot measure that makes farming a constitutional right -- an idea that opponents say will make future agriculture regulations like GMO bans harder to enact and enforce.

GUNS

Alabama Voters Approve Gun Rights Amendment

Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment that affirms the right to bear arms is a "fundamental right" and any regulation of that right is subject to the highest level of judicial review.

Mississippi Adds, Alabama Strengthens the Constitutional Right to Hunt

With backing by the NRA, making hunting a constitutionally protected right has become increasingly popular in the past decade.

Missouri Voters Expand Constitutional Gun Rights

More than six in 10 voters approved a constitutional amendment pertaining to the right to bear arms and own ammunition and gun-related accessories.

HEALTH

Medical Marijuana Rejected in Florida

A ballot measure that would have made Florida the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana failed by a 2 percent margin.

Arizona First to Pass 'Right to Try' Drug Law at Ballot Box

Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that allows terminally ill patients to obtain experimental drugs that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

California Won't Drug Test Doctors

Voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made California the first state to drug test doctors and raised the cap on some medical malpractice damages for the first time since the 1970s.

California Rejects Health Premium Regulations

Californians voted against giving the state's insurance commissioner the power that most have to reject excessive health premium increases.

GMO Labeling Still Fails to Win Voter Approval in Colorado

Voters have never passed GMO labeling in any state. But the vote in Oregon is so close it could be contested, and activists are taking their fight to the legislatures.

North Dakota Defeats Walmart-Led Effort to Overturn Pharmacy Laws

The state is the nation's only that effectively bans chain stores from owning pharmacies, and voters want it to stay that way.

Republican States Reject Anti-Abortion Personhood Amendments

Ballot measures that would have defined a fetus as a person lost in North Dakota and Colorado. But voters paved the way for new abortion restrictions in Tennessee Tuesday.

Massachusetts Boosts State Paid-Sick-Leave Movement

It's now the third state to require businesses to pay workers when they have to take sick days.

IMMIGRATION

Oregon Voters Reject Drivers Cards for Undocumented Immigrants

Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure that would have issued government ID cards to those without citizenship or legal presence.

INFRASTRUCTURE and ENVIRONMENT

Oil-Rich North Dakota Rejects Conservation Measure

Environmental groups spent nearly twice as much money as their opponents to set aside some oil revenue for protecting the land, but the ballot measure lost by a landslide.

Massachusetts Rolls Back Automatic Gas Tax Hike

One of the biggest criticisms of the gas tax in most places is that it doesn’t keep up with inflation. Massachusetts voters decided they like it that way.

Voters Split on Transportation Funding in Louisiana, Maryland and Wisconsin

Constitutional protections for transportation money passed with overwhelming margins in Maryland and Wisconsin, but a bid to create an infrastructure bank in Louisiana failed again.

Traffic-Tied Texans Tap Oil and Gas Taxes for Transportation

Voters approved a constitutional amendment to increase transportation spending.

GMO Labeling Still Fails to Win Voter Approval in Colorado

Voters have never passed GMO labeling in any state. But the vote in Oregon is so close it could be contested, and activists are taking their fight to the legislatures.

Missouri’s 'Right-to-Farm' Amendment Squeaks By

Voters narrowly approved a ballot measure that makes farming a constitutional right -- an idea that opponents say will make future agriculture regulations like GMO bans harder to enact and enforce.

Missouri Voters Won't Raise Sales Tax to Fund Transportation

Voters rejected a sales tax increase that would have provided billions of dollars for road and bridge repairs.

LABOR

Minimum Wage Hikes Pass in 4 Red States

The ballot measures follow a wave of mostly Democratic states lifting wages for low-income workers after federal inaction.

Massachusetts Boosts State Paid-Sick-Leave Movement

It's now the third state to require businesses to pay workers when they have to take sick days.

California Won't Drug Test Doctors

Voters rejected a ballot measure that would have made California the first state to drug test doctors and raised the cap on some medical malpractice damages for the first time since the 1970s.