I. In Focus This Week
Voters vote on how to vote
2016 features numerous elections-related ballot initiatives
By M. Mindy Moretti
Natalie Adams has her several hundred page 2016 California Voter Guide on her bedside table and each night before bed she spends some time reviewing the 17 statewide ballot measures and two countywide measures before her.
“It is an overwhelmingly long list,” Adams said.
And California voters aren’t alone.
From guns to pot to sugar to the minimum wage to health care, when voters head to the polls on November 8 (or before if they are early voting), in addition to choosing a president and vice president as well as other federal, state and local representatives, in 35 states voters will be faced with 163 statewide ballot measures. There will also be a host of local initiatives as well.
In at least seven of those states, voters will choose what the future of their elections look like. Here is a brief overview of what voters will be considering.
Missouri residents will decide whether or not they want to show an ID when casting a ballot. Measure 6 would require voters to show some sort of government-issued ID. This is the second in a two-part process with the Legislature already approving how the law would be implemented — it was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon (D), but the Legislature was able to override that veto. Missouri’s secretary of state candidates have differing views on the Measure and major papers like the Kansas City Star have opposed the measure.
Ranked Choice Voting
Question Five in Maine will allow voters to decide whether they want to move to a system of ranked choice voting for federal and state elections. If approved, Maine would be the only state in the country to use ranked choice voting. The question has received support from a variety of places including several leading newspapers and the state GOP.
In Benton County, Oregon voters there will also be deciding whether or not they want to use a ranked choice voting system. The Benton County initiative for ranked choice was a citizen-led initiative. If approved, it would only apply to the election of county commissioners.
In an effort to save money, Colorado moved to presidential caucuses in 2004, but following a bumpy 2016 primary season where many voters questioned the system, voters will decide whether Proposition 107 that would establish presidential primaries in the state as well as allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in those primaries. If approved, it would begin in 2020.
Proposition 108 is a companion initiative and would open the states primaries allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections without having to declare an affiliation.
San Franciscans will vote on a charter amendment that if approved would extend voting rights to 16-and 17-year-olds in local and school board elections. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to put the measure on the ballot.
Knoxville residents will have a lot to mull over on their November ballot including whether or not to move the city’s primary election from the last Tuesday in September to the last Tuesday in August. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Amendment One would provide the Knox County Election Commission more time to prepare for the general election and time so send military and overseas ballots.
In these extremely partisan times, voters in South Dakota will decide whether or not they want to move to nonpartisan elections. Constitutional Amendment V was a citizen-lead initiative and would apply to federal, state and local races, but would not apply to presidential races. Secretary of State Chantel Krebs (R) has expressed concerns over the time line to implement the Amendment should it be approved.
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