Notable Ballot Measure Results

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On Tuesday, voters in 37 states decided 155 statewide ballot measures. Of those, 104 were approved, and 45 were defeated. As of last night, the remainder had not been called.

Among the 64 citizen-initiated measures on the ballot, 29 were approved, 29 were defeated, and the rest were not yet called.

The approval rate for the 89 legislative and commission referrals was about 82 percent with six measures still waiting to be called for certain.

Recreational marijuana was approved in Michigan and defeated in North Dakota. Missouri voters ended up with three different proposals to decide. They approved Amendment 2 and rejected Amendment 3 and Proposition C. Utah’s medical marijuana measure, Proposition 2, was ahead by three points with 77 percent of precincts reporting.

Voters in at least three states decided to change their redistricting processes on Tuesday. Measures to establish independent redistricting commissions for both congressional and state legislative districts were approved in Colorado and Michigan. In Missouri, voters approved Amendment 1 establishing the first ever state demographer position and enacting some unique competitiveness and partisan fairness criteria for state legislative district maps. Utah’s independent redistricting commission initiative, Proposition 4, was ahead by less than one point and was too close to call. Ohio voters also approved a measure in June to enact a new system with supermajority and bi-partisan vote requirements for congressional districts, which means redistricting after the 2020 census will look very different in four or five states because of 2018 ballot measures.

Voters in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah decided ballot initiatives concerning Medicaid expansion and the funding of expanded Medicaid coverage. The Idaho and Nebraska initiatives were designed to provide for expanded Medicaid coverage to 138 percent of the federal poverty line under Obamacare, but did not concern funding mechanisms for the state’s share in the costs. Both initiatives were approved.

The Montana and Utah initiatives proposed a tobacco tax increase and a sales tax increase, respectively, to provide funding for expanded Medicaid coverage. The Montana initiative, I-185, was also designed to extend expansion beyond a June 2019 automatic expiration date for the existing expanded coverage in Montana, which means without it or some other law or initiative, Medicaid expansion will end in Montana by the second half of 2019. Utah was one of the 17 states without Medicaid expansion going into the election. Utah’s measure was ahead by four points but hadn’t been called. The initiative in Montana was defeated.

Three out of four initiatives concerning renewable energy failed. Nevada Question 6, which would require electric utilities to acquire 50 percent of their power from renewable sources was approved, but as a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment in Nevada, it requires approval again in 2020 to be enacted. The similar measure in Arizona, Proposition 127, was defeated. Both measures were backed by Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action.

Nevada Question 3, a citizen initiative to eliminate electricity monopolies and require a competitive energy market, was on it’s second round at the ballot after passing comfortably in 2016. NV Energy, the largest supplier of electricity in Nevada, was neutral in 2016, and less than a million was spent in opposition. This year NV Energy spent over $63 million in opposition and made Nevada Question 3 the third most expensive ballot measure battle and the most expensive outside of California. Question 3 was defeated with 67 percent voting against it.

Washington Initiative 1631 was an initiative to enact a fee on carbon emissions from power plants, refineries, and other specified emitters. It was defeated. Washington Initiative 1631 was the most expensive ballot measure battle the state had seen since at least 2008, before which records are not available.

Both Nevada Question 3 and Washington Initiative 1631 are among many measure battles in 2018 where the campaign with more money won, a trend especially among races that featured a lot of campaign spending. Among the top 10 most expensive ballot measures in 2018, the side with more money won in each case.

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