State of the Facts
On Election Day, 133 ballot propositions will be voted on across 37 states and Washington, DC. Most of these propositions were put on the ballot by state legislators but some were a result of citizen-initiated petitions.
Several states will vote on ballot propositions on similar topics. Five states will vote on statutes and amendments related to abortion access. Six states will vote on measures related to elections with four states voting to change the ballot proposition process itself.
Ballot propositions are new laws, constitutional amendments, or approvals of laws made by state legislatures. All states allow citizens to vote on these propositions but the process of getting one on the ballot differs from state to state.
In 24 states, the state legislature must vote to put a proposition on the ballot. In 26 other states, citizens may petition to put initiatives on the ballot. Each state also places restrictions on what type of laws can be considered or approved in a proposition.
Citizen-driven ballot initiatives allow voters to petition for and vote on new state statutes, state constitutional amendments, and in some cases, overturn existing state laws in a referendum.
Rules regarding these initiatives differ between states.
Citizen-driven ballot initiatives start with a petition that must get enough signatures of state residents to put the measure on the ballot. These signature requirements range from more than 997,000 signatures in California to just over 15,000 signatures in North Dakota. Once the petition is submitted, state officials verify that all signatures belong to state residents.
Twenty-four states allow citizen-driven ballot initiatives on state statutes and constitutional amendments. This process allows citizens to propose and approve new laws in their state.
In 23 states and Washington, DC, citizens may petition and vote on whether to uphold or strike down a law passed by a state legislature. This process is called a citizen-initiated referendum. Like ballot initiatives, referendums must gain enough signatures to make it on the ballot.
Two states, Florida and Mississippi, allow ballot initiatives but do not have a referendum process. New Mexico, Maryland, and Washington, DC allow citizens to petition for referendums but not statutes or amendments.
A total of 133 ballot propositions will be voted on in 37 states and Washington, DC on Election Day 2022. More than half of the propositions were placed on the ballot by state legislatures. Twenty-eight propositions were citizen-initiated this year.
California and Massachusetts voters are each deciding whether to strike down a state law. Californians will vote on a ban on flavored tobacco products. Massachusetts voters will decide whether to give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Two states, Alabama and Colorado, have 11 ballot measures each, the most in the nation. Six of the measures in Colorado were citizen-initiated, with the rest being placed on the ballot by the state legislature. All 11 measures in Alabama were added by the state legislature because the state doesn’t allow citizen-initiated ballot measures.
Five states will vote on propositions related to abortion access. Three states, California, Michigan, and Vermont, will decide whether to make abortion a constitutional right in their state. Kentucky will decide whether to prevent abortion from becoming a constitutional right, and Montana will vote on rules for abortion procedures for health care workers.
Six states will vote on laws regarding the election process, including early voting, voter ID laws, and campaign finance. Four states will decide whether to make changes to the way they vote for propositions themselves, including the thresholds needed for the proposition to pass.
Find out what’s going to be on the ballot in the upcoming midterm in your area with the USAFacts’ America’s midterm map.
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