Electoral reform ballot measure round-up

by Rob Richie // Published November 5, 2008
Here at FairVote we were particularly focused yesterday on measures for instant runoff voting in Memphis, Tennessee (see www.yesonfive.org), which won a a sweeping win 70% of the vote, and the choice voting form of proportional representation in Cincinnati, Ohio (see www.8isgreat.org), which suffered a narrow defeat, 53.5% to 46.5%, after opponents poured in close to $100,000 in the last 10 days with a smear campaign of distortions about potential costs to taxpayers and more. Instant runoff voting also won handily in tiny Telluride, Colorado.

On the state level, here are a few key results:

* 17-year-old primary voting in Connecticut wins big -- Voters gave a landslide win of 64% for state constitutional amendment one  to enable 17-year-olds who are pre-registered to vote in primaries connected to a general election in which they will be 18 and eligible to vote. See our webpage on this sensible policy (one that parties typically can enact on their own through changes in party rule):

* Landslide win for early voting in Maryland -- Maryland voters having to wait in line yesterday must have been all the more ready to support state constitutional amendment one to establish early voting and relaxed absentee voting. It is winning 71% to 29%.

* Redistricting reform in California narrowly ahead -- This race has not been called, but Proposition 11 to establish an independent commission to conduct state legislative redistricting is ahead 50.5% to 49.5%, with 91% of precincts reporting. (The same-sex marriage ban on the same ballot is leading 51.8% to 48.2%, yet also has not been called.)

* "Top two" primary in Oregon trounced -- Ballot Measure 65 in Oregon would have replaced the current traditional primary election system with a system in which the parties could select nominees privately and voters in the primary then would narrow the field to the top two, regardless of party, to go onto the general election. Under consideration in other states like California, the measure is getting swamped 66% to 34%. (A similar system was used in Washington State this year, although candidates could self-identify their party label without any control by the parties. The losing Republican nominee for governor Dino Rossi had "prefers GOP", which some suggesting this label was a way to avoid being connected to the Republican Party by voters who might not know what "GOP" means.)

* State constitutional conventions rejected in Connecticut and Illinois -- State voters rejected state constitutional conventions in Connecticut 59% to 41% and Illinois 68% to 32%. Proponents in Illinois may sue based on the fact that a Cook County judge found ballot language unconstitutionally misleading and ordered fliers to be given to voters to correct it, but at least some pollworkers failed to do so.

* Initiative rights protected in Arizona -- State voters by a two-to-one margin handily rejected Proposition 105, which would have made it almost impossible to pass initiatives by establishing that measures would need a majority of all registered voters regardless of voter turnout.