Ballot Initiatives to Watch
There is a good chance that if you vote next Tuesday, you will vote not only for candidates, but also yea or nay on an initiative. Voters in thirty-six states will decide 152 ballot initiatives this year.
Ballot initiatives and referendums are a major part of American elections. The number of initiatives has steadily increased every decade since the 1960's. During the past century west coast states have led the way with Oregon, California and Colorado atop the ballot initiative count and North Dakota and Arizona rounding out the top five.
According to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at USC, while tax and spending issues typically dominate in ballot initiatives, social issues are at the forefront this year. Their annual Ballot Watch report identifies all the measures hitting ballots nationwide and discusses trends. Gay marriage, abortion and animal rights are getting a lot of attention this year, but there are also number of business issues on the ballot.
Colorado Amendment 47, for example, would establish a right to work and prohibit mandatory union membership or dues payment. An Oregon measure would prohibit use of union dues for political purposes. Nevada, Louisiana, Oregon and Ohio all have propositions restricting use of eminent domain. California and Missouri voters will decide on renewable energy mandates.
For a full list of ballot initatives and analysis of nationwide trends, click to download the 2008 Ballotwatch 2008 Election Preview: