Though the Senate and House races generally get most of the fanfare come election time, there are 155 statewide ballot measures across 37 states that will be decided in tonight’s vote.
Ballot measures are interesting because they allow citizens to vote for or against specific policies, which separates issues from partisan loyalties, producing results that would likely never happen if put to a representative vote (think cannabis legalization and minimum wage increases).
Here are seven of the most trending topics appearing on ballot measures across the U.S. tonight:
Redistricting has become an increasingly hot-button issue in the past few years, particularly as it relates to the redrawing of state and congressional districts for the purposes of partisan political advantage (gerrymandering). As a result, states like Ohio have been establishing new redistricting systems that utilize bipartisan or independent committees in the drawing of fairer districts.
Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, and Utah all have similar measures on their ballots tonight.
These ballot measures range from new voter ID requirements, like Arkansas Issue 2 which would require individuals to present valid photo ID to cast non-provisional ballots in person or absentee (there are a bunch more of these voter ID ballot measures), to new registration initiatives like Nevada Question 5 , which would provide for the automatic voter registration of eligible citizens when receiving certain services from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Also, apparently North Dakota Measure 2, which supports the opinion that it’s necessary to change the language in its constitution from “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote in its elections to “only a citizen” of the U.S. Glad they cleared that up.
Crime and Justice
There are a couple of measures that deal specifically with convicted felons, such as Florida Amendment 4 which would restore the voting rights of convicted felons upon release (with some exceptions), as well as Louisiana Amendment 1 which would disqualify convicted felons from holding public office until five years after the completion of their sentences.
There are also six states (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma) with amendments to Marsey’s Law crime victim rights on the ballot. These are constitutional protections for crime victims that have already adopted in some states.
Other notable ballot measures include:
Ohio Issue 1, which would make it a misdemeanor instead of a felony to use or possess illegal drugs, and lessen the use of jail time as a sentence for these types of crimes.
Washington state’s initiative 940, which would lower the bar for prosecuting police officers who use deadly force. The initiative does this through creating a new “good faith” standard for opening fire.
Yes, I know we just covered crime and justice, but with seven measures in five states, cannabis is quite the trending topic for midterm ballots. Michigan and North Dakota are voting on legalization, while Missouri, Utah and Oklahoma are voting on various Medical Cannabis provisions.
Alabama Amendment 2 would make it state policy to "recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life" and to state that no provisions of the constitution provide a right to an abortion or require funding of abortions.
West Virginia Amendment 1 would add language to it’s constitution stating that "nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
Oregon Measure 106 would prohibit public funds from being spent on abortions in Oregon, except when medically necessary or required by federal law.
Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion
Voters in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah will decide the fate of Obama-era Medicaid expansion and the funding of expanded medicaid coverage.
Another notable ballot measure is Nevada Question 2, which would remove the taxes on feminine hygiene products (sometimes called the pink tax).
Arkansas Issue 5, and Missouri Proposition B would both raise the minimum wage in their respective states, to $11 an hour by 2021 in Arkansas and to $12 an hour by 2023 in Missouri.
More information on 2018 ballot initiatives can be found here.