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Ballot Measures Give Voters a Say in Electoral Process

October 17, 2022

Partisan control and candidate races may be dominating the headlines as the midterm elections get underway, but voters in a handful of states will also weigh in on at least 12 important ballot measures that could have major impacts on the electoral process.

The majority of the 12 measures are related to the nuts and bolts of elections—that is, the administrative aspects, including who’s eligible and the overall voting experience.

Voter ID and Early Voting

The evergreen issue of voter ID is on the ballot in two states, Arizona and Nebraska. Arizona Proposition 309 would require mail-in ballot affidavits to include a voter’s date of birth and voter ID number—either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number—and it would eliminate the two-document alternative for verifying a voter’s identity, instead requiring in-person voters to present a photo ID.

Nebraska Initiative 432 seeks to amend the state constitution to establish a photo ID requirement to vote. Currently, Nebraska is one of 15 states without an ID requirement at the polls.

Michigan’s Proposal 2 is the most comprehensive initiative of the group. It contains a package of changes sponsored by the same group that successfully campaigned for an amendment to establish same-day registration and no-excuse absentee voting in 2018. The amendment would enshrine the right to vote without harassment, fear or intimidation; permit the counting of ballots cast by military and overseas voters if postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days thereafter; and require public disclosure of donations from private entities used to pay for elections or audits. Additionally, the proposal would permit the use of ballot drop boxes; allow voters to sign an affidavit and cast a regular—rather than provisional—ballot if they lack photo ID; and establish nine days of early in-person voting.

Connecticut voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to allow early in-person voting. The measure would pave the way for the General Assembly to pass legislation establishing early voting; Connecticut is one of four states without a no-excuse, early in-person voting option.

Eligibility and Ranked Voting

On the question of voter eligibility, two states—Ohio and Louisiana—have proposed constitutional amendments to ban noncitizens from voting in local elections, a topic that remains controversial and is limited to just over a dozen municipalities across the nation. Arizona and North Dakota have similar state constitutional bans.

Two additional election administration measures come out of Nevada and Alabama. Voters in the Silver State will decide on using ranked choice voting for general elections and adopting an open, top-five primary system in which the two candidates receiving the most votes—regardless of party—move on to the general election ballot. It’s a novel development, as California and Washington use a top-two system, and Alaska advances the top four. In Alabama, a measure referred by the Legislature would amend the state’s constitution to require any election law changes to be put into effect at least six months before the next general election.

Campaign Finance

The lone campaign finance measure that’s made the ballot this year is Arizona’s Proposition 211. It would require individuals or entities making independent expenditures of $50,000 or more in a statewide campaign, or $25,000 or more in a local campaign, to disclose their names or business names—known as the money’s “original source.” Learn more about campaign disclosure requirements and how they vary by state with this new NCSL resource.

But Wait, There’s More…

Of course, election measures account for a fraction of statewide ballot measures this fall, constituting just 12 of 130 total proposals. In a red-hot election year, voters will be making big decisions on everything from abortion and infrastructure to taxes and more.

NCSL’s elections team will be on hand to keep track of it all. For the latest on legislative races and ballot measures, and to learn more about what to watch for this fall, be sure to check out NCSL’s State Elections 2022 page.

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