This is second of a two-part series previewing North Shore Exponent’s election night coverage. This part examines five states with major statewide ballot propositions.
During the 2009 Elections, five states will have major statewide ballot propositions that will dominate the elections. Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Washington State will have statewide propositions on issues dealing from casino gambling all the way to gay marriage.
States that will have the most high-profile propositions are Maine, Ohio, and Washington State. In the Black Bear and Evergreen states, taxes and marriage are the top two ballot measures. In Maine, Proposition 1 has been an emotionally charged battle as to veto a new law passed by the Maine Legislature to legalize gay marriage via a statewide referendum. Also, there is a Taxpayer Bill of Rights referendum in Maine that has a strong shot of passing. Proposition 4 which is the title for the TABOR measure has a shot of passing shown by the evidence of polling data going either way. Maine is one of a few states where citizens can petition the government for a ballot proposition to veto legislation that was previously approved by the Governor. These two highly charged ballot measures are joined along with five other measures Maine voters will consider on November 3rd.
In Washington State, R-71 (Domestic Partnership) and the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (R-1033) dominate the Evergreen State as the only two statewide ballot propositions in 2009. Like the battle for Proposition 1 in Maine, the campaign on R-71 has been emotionally charged on both sides of the fence. R-71 is like Maine Proposition 1 as this is a veto referendum against Washington State’s new law granting expansion of legal protections in domestic partnerships. Recent polling data from a SurveyUSA/KING 5 poll shows that there is strong support for R-71, while R-1033 is too close to call with a large amount of undecided voters. Also, R-1033 which is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights proposition is very similar to Maine’s TABOR measure, but it takes into account population growth along with spending growth differing the two proposals. What it will come down in Maine and Washington State for TABOR to pass is which side executes better at getting voters out to the polls. Many political groups have poured dollars into influencing Maine and Washington State.
In Ohio, casino gambling is the number one issue in the Buckeye State. If the voters approve Ohio Proposition 3, this will legalize casino gambling in Ohio’s four largest metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo. The casino measure is one of three statewide ballot propositions in the Buckeye State. Backers of the amendment see this as an opportunity to grow jobs in the Buckeye state in which the state has been one of the most hardest hit with staggering job losses. Polling in Ohio has shown strong support for Issue 3. Despite the Ohio gambling proposition will not get as much attention as Maine and Washington, states with high unemployment will take interest in how the referendum unfolds. If the referendum passes, states that are looking for a creative way for new tax revenue would be motivated to legalize casino gambling
The only other state with a significant ballot measure is New Jersey. In the Garden State, voters will be approving a statewide bond measure called the Open Space referendum. The referendum which was referred from the legislature asks voters to authorize $500 million in bonding to keep farmland and open space. This will be the first statewide proposition in the Garden State in two years when voters shot down two ballot questions involving raising the sales tax for property tax relief and stem cell research funding. Because the question involves the use of state bonds to fund the measure, there could be a good shot voters in the Garden State may vote down the proposal as the issue of high taxes is heavy on the minds of New Jerseyans.
Texas voters will be voting on 11 statewide ballot propositions on election day. The two major ballot propositions on election day in Texas is on changing the statewide property tax formula and creating an independent research fund for public universities in the State of Texas.
When looking at all five states with statewide ballot propositions, what goes down in Maine and Washington State could set the momentum on the issues of gay marriage and the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. TABOR victories in Maine and Washington State could set another push for high tax states to get a Taxpayers Bill of Rights on the ballot in the future. On the issue of gay marriage in both Washington State and Maine, victories for pro-gay marriage front groups could give them momentum especially with the California Prop 8 repeal initiative coming up in 2010. A win in the Black Bear and Evergreen states for pro-family groups could give new momentum especially to those who will plan to stop next year’s Prop 8 repeal in California.
In addition to covering New York-23, Virginia, and New Jersey, the North Shore Exponent will keep you updated on all major ballot propositions especially Maine and Washington State. Here are the poll closing times in states with ballot propositions.
Washington State-8:00 PM-PDT