30 Crucial Ballot Measures to Watch This Election

With all of the presidential hoopla, it’s easy to forget that a lot of other issues will be on the ballot this November. In fact, many states are turning it over to their voters to make decisions on some pretty important subjects. Whether you live in these states or not, here are 30 ballot measures you might want to keep your eye on:

Same Sex Marriage

  • Maine Same Sex Marriage Question (Question 1)
  • Maryland Same-Sex Civil Marriage Referendum (Question 6)
  • Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment (Amendment 1)
  • Washington Same-Sex Marriage Veto Referendum (Referendum 74)

It just wouldn’t feel like an election if voters weren’t asked whether to legitimatize the love of other people. Three years after the people of Maine voted to ban same-sex marriage, a repeal of this ban looks poised to pass. On the other hand, Minnesota is looking to ban it, though the wording may still leave room for civil unions.

Genetically Modified Food

  • California Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (Proposition 37)

The proposition will change the way food in the state can be labeled. While supporters want people to better know what they are putting in their bodies, many in the food industry are donating large sums money to defeat the proposition in order to avoid facing new regulations.

Health Care

  • Alabama Health Care Amendment (Amendment 6)
  • Florida Health Care (Amendment 1)
  • Missouri Health Care Exchange Question (Proposition E)
  • Montana Health Care Measure (LR-122)
  • Wyoming Health Care Amendment (Constitutional Amendment A)

Five states currently have ballot measures designed to counter Obama’s health care reform efforts. However, even if these Amendments pass, they are not likely to hold up, given that the Supreme Court has upheld the plan and states are not permitted to disregard federal law.

Owning All the Land and Water and Air

  • Arizona Declaration of State Sovereignty Amendment (Proposition 120)

In one of the most unconventional propositions this year, Arizona is attempting to declare ownership of all “air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries.” If it passed, the Constitutionality of reclaiming federal parks and, most notably, the Grand Canyon, certainly will be contested in courts.

Affirmative Action

  • Oklahoma Affirmative Action Band Amendment (Question 759)

As the Supreme Court currently hears a potentially affirmative-action ending case, Oklahoma similarly seeks to end affirmative action and forbid providing special treatment based on sex or race.

Marijuana Legalization

  • Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment (Amendment 64)
  • Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative (Question 3)
  • Montana Medical Marijuana Veto Referendum (IR-124)
  • Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative (Measure 80)
  • Washington Marijuana Legalization and Regulation (Initiative 502)

Massachusetts seeks to legalize medicinal marijuana, while Montana wants to get its medicinal marijuana rules off the books (the issue has been a constant battle for the past decade). Although medicinal marijuana is already legal in Colorado, the current push is to expand to recreational use, as well. Washington’s initiative is also for recreational use. Meanwhile, Oregon seeks to create an official commission to grow and sell cannabis to state residents.


  • Florida Abortion (Amendment 6)
  • Montana Parental Notification Measure (LR-120)

Florida’s proposal would forbid abortions from being paid for with public funds, while Montana’s would necessitate that minors have parental permission before obtaining an abortion.

Teachers’ Unions

  • Idaho Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Veto Referendums (Propositions 1 and 2)
  • Michigan “Protect Our Jobs” Amendment (Proposal 2)
  • South Dakota Teachers’ Union Veto Referendum (Referred Law 16)

Both Idaho and South Dakota’s politicians have recently passed legislation that disempowers teachers’ unions, similar to what we’ve seen in Wisconsin. These propositions aim to repeal the laws and regain the teachers’ collective bargaining rights. On the other hand, Michigan has pro-union legislation on the table, hoping to make collective bargaining rights for both public and private sector workers a part of Michigan’s Constitution.

Gun Laws

  • Louisiana Right to Bear Arms (Amendment 2)

Amendment 2 strengthens existing gun laws to grant gun owners additional rights and protections. Supporters hope it will maintain the 2nd Amendment, while opponents worry it could lead to overturning certain concealed carry restrictions.

Assisted Suicide

  • Massachusetts “Death with Dignity” Initiative (Question 2)

With the people’s permission, Massachusetts attempts to become the fourth state (joining Oregon, Washington, and Montana) to permit assisted suicide for suffering terminally ill patients. It’s a complex issue with people on both sides of the debate arguing morality.

Casinos and Gaming

  • Arkansas Casino Amendments (Issue 3 and 4)
  • Maryland Gaming Expansion (Question 7)
  • Oregon Privately-Owned Casinos Amendment (Measure 82)

Three states are looking to boost their economies by changing their gambling laws. While Arkansas and Oregon have proposals to permit full casinos in the state, Maryland would permit the construction of one more casino, as well as the addition of table games to existing casinos.

Jim Crow Laws (Yes, Really)

  • Alabama Segregation Reference Ban Amendment (Amendment 4)

111 years after their passage, Jim Crow laws and language still remain a part of Alabama’s Constitution. A similar Amendment barely lost in 2004. While proponents argue that not changing it it contributes to the state’s racist reputation, critics say that the amendment may have greater repercussions because it also effectively removes part that guarantees children the right to an education (albeit a segregated one).

Death Penalty

  • California End the Death Penalty Initiative (Proposition 34)

California may join nearly 20 other states to outlaw the death penalty, instead changing the harshest possible sentence to life in prison without the opportunity for parole. With over 700 Californians currently on death row, their sentences would therefore be reduced to life in prison. No one has been executed in California in more than five years because of current lawsuits pertaining to the state’s lethal injection practices.


  • Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum (Question 4)

Despite the name, this referendum really takes aim at Obama’s Dream Act. Supporters of the proposal do not wish to allow undocumented immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates as the law currently permits, arguing that it is a waste of resources to educate someone who is later eligible for deportation. Opponents see the proposal as discriminatory.

With thanks to Ballotpedia

Related Stories:

California – Whatever Happened to Those Propositions?

California’s Marijuana Proposition Bites the Dust

What Are the Top Three Issues in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Patti Ruocco
Patti Ruocco5 years ago

It's important to keep track of which states you would never want to move to!! Wow!

It's sad to think we are voting on such things---things we had already fought for and taken for granted, and now must fight for again....

Then I think about it, and perhaps we need to put more things on the ballot--or have issue ballots 3-4X a year in each state so the public can actually have their way instead of voting for bought and paid for lying politicians....

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

David nice try. Ain't gonna fly pard. You have posted all kinds of things just as inane as that was. It sounded just like every post you make, and we haven't been gullible about any of those either. I think you were drinking, but it sounded just like you when and if you are sober. I kind of remember a guy chasing you around from forum to forum for days nailing you again and again as he had cut you off at the knees on five individual empty claims that were bald faced lies.

I'm not gullible enough to believe this weak, limp wristed attempt to try and get out of this one either. You've been nailed pard. Nailed to the wall.

Teresa B.
Teresa B5 years ago

David, you flatter yourself if you think I believed that Obama quote. You, however, posted it as a direct quote from Obama, which is why I asked you to cite your source...knowing full well it was BS.

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

Richard you have made a fool of yourself 5 or 6 times already today. I have been enjoying popcorn and scotch watching you do so.

But, um .... don't you think it's time to go visit the kitty litter box?

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

Thanks Kevin.

Send a Green Star to Teresa B.

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

Teresa it is such a pleasure to watch you in action slapping that old Pard David around like that. Those moments were precious. It was almost like watching it in slow motion with each slap striking his pudgy face watching his cheeks and jowls jiggle, with spittle and snot flying everywhere. And then afterwards he stumbled to his feet bent over almost losing his balance to pick up his hat thrown off his head by the first blow, cough once or twice unable to properly put it on his head and instead let it hang from his hand as he stumbled out the door.


Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

Oh Richard B. - Michael knows more about facts and truth than you can even imagine. If anyone looks like a clown it is you!

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

Lee, Michael, Teresa - The green star bin is over there on the left. Go ahead and grab a handful, my treat!

Michael M.
Michael T5 years ago

Why on earth would I want to watch a white nationalist/white supremacist right wing nut job video posing as something patriotic? Roll on troll.

"Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

Teresa B.
Teresa B5 years ago

David F, you got caught yesterday in a flat-out lie, couldn't cite a source when I asked for it, changed your Obama quote, then said you were going to bed cuz you were heading to Vegas today. And you're back again.....like herpes.

Who Do You Want Calling The Shots Against Al Qaeda?

David states: Obama declares to the Press “ No one wants to know more of what I did before, during and after the attack then Me”

When asked for a reference for his alleged Obama quote, he doesn't have one, and so changes his Obama quote to : "No one wants to know what happened more then I do”

Yep....knew he couldn't find any source for his original Obama quote.

Lee Witton
5 years ago

Hey Progressives, and nay-sayers as well; the predictors for Halloween masks and Obama and Romney cookies have Obama far out-selling Romney. They've said the 8 last elections have predicted the highest sellers as winning the presidency. Of course, unlike the 'scientific' polls CNN and others have run, this is type of prediction is unscientific but seems far more accurate than the hit or miss telephone polls.
And yes my Progressive friends, while Pat Robertson prays for California to slide in to the ocean, blames 9/11 on gays, and likely will take credit for Hurricane Sandy way-laying the voters getting to the polls early, (since Democrats vote early) we will hold up the banners of optimism for our wonderful Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; and for our having this man's leadership, I am (and I know you do as well) grateful!