ballot language

An Alameda Superior County Court judge issued two rulings regarding contested ballot language for November ballot measures Tuesday.

Two parties of plaintiffs challenged the ballot language for a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks and an initiative regarding development in Downtown Berkeley. In both cases, judge Evelio Grillo decided to amend portions of each ballot measure’s language.

In the case of the “soda tax,” Grillo replaced the phrases “high-calorie, sugary drinks” and “high-calorie, low-nutrition products” in the ballot language and city attorney’s analysis, respectively, with “sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Oregon’s system of initiative and referendum gives voters the power to enact laws themselves when the Legislature cannot or will not, and to overturn laws voters don’t like. Needless to say, lawmakers are not always pleased with this populist process, but most of the time, they let it take its course. This week, though, the House stuck its nose where it doesn’t belong.

At issue is a law the Legislature passed allowing immigrants in the United States illegally to obtain permits to drive in Oregon. We supported the law and still do: The immigrants in question are here, and they’re driving whether anyone likes it or not, so why not encourage them to know the rules of the road and to get insurance?

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected a petition for the proposed “Ohio Voters Bill of Rights” because the summary of the petition was not “a fair and truthful statement of the measure to be referred.”

On February 4, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition from a group called Ohioans for a Voters Bill of Rights to amend the Ohio Constitution via the “Ohio Voters Bill of Rights.” Attorney General DeWine’s letter rejected the summary because it contained at least two misrepresentations regarding issues where the Ohio Constitution is pre-empted by federal law.

The secretary of state’s office said Thursday it’s cleared the way for three proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot, despite questions about who has the authority to prepare the measures’ language under a new law.

Martha Adcock, general counsel for Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office, told lawmakers that the office decided to use language provided by the attorney general’s office and from legislation approved last year to prepare the proposals for the November ballot. A new law took away the attorney general’s authority to prepare the measures’ “popular names” that appear on the ballot.

Read more: here

The proponents of a statewide pension reform initiative are crying foul at the ballot summary prepared for their proposed constitutional amendment by Attorney General Kamala Harris.  San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed called the language “inaccurate” and “pejorative” and “a bit of a problem.”

“You read this and you don’t know what we’re trying to do,” Reed added. The first sentence of the AG’s summary was most problematic according to Reed. It reads: “Eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including teachers, nurses, and peace officers, for future work performed.”

A controversial campaign to reform California’s public pensions faces an uncertain future after the state attorney general chose what the measure’s backers consider to be unfriendly language for their proposed ballot initiative.

Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose and the driving force behind the proposal, told Reuters on Tuesday he will confer with supporters on whether to press ahead with trying to get the overhaul before voters later this year, and he might sue over Attorney General Kamala Harris’ wording for the ballot. A decision should be made by the end of January, Reed said.

Read More: here


Californians could be faced in November with a proposal to dramatically alter the pension and benefit system for public employees. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has submitted a statewide ballot initiative that would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees’ future retirement benefits, reversing the long-standing principle that once a public employee is hired, his or her retirement benefits cannot be reduced.

The Oregon Supreme Court handed down a decision Thursday that requires the proponents of a right-to-work ballot initiative to rewrite the ballot title that Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum originally approved.

The initiative title, sponsored by attorney Jill Gibson Odell, currently says, “BALLOT TITLE: Prohibits compulsory payment of union representation costs by public employees choosing not to join union.”

Read More: here

Thirteen months after Wichitans voted on an incomprehensibly worded hotel-tax referendum, a proposal to provide voters with plain-language explanations of confusing ballot questions is on the verge of becoming a state law.

The state Senate on Monday gave its initial approval to House Bill 2162, which would allow county election officials to request that a county or state official write an “explainer” when the language used in a ballot measure is confusing or too legalistic for voters to easily understand.

“If they (election officials) feel like an explainer needs to be done, they can request it; if they don’t, they don’t need to,” said Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, who carried the bill on the floor.

A bill, HB 2162, would clarify and explain language used in ballot measures. This comes as a response to a recent measure (Charter Ordnance 216) which confused many voters, in which election officials only being permitted to respond, “Yes means Yes and No means No.”

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill yesterday that will extend the period for gathering signatures on a petition from 90 days to one year. The bill must now be signed by the Governor to become law. This is the third ballot initiative process reform bill passed in Oklahoma this year.

Read the story from Citizens In Charge Foundation

The Ohio Attorney General has accepted the ballot summary language for an initiative that would allow casinos in four of the state’s largest cities. The proponents original language was rejected on March 23. The petition must now go before the Ohio Ballot Board to determine if it is considered a single amendment.

Read the story from the Dayton Business Journal