Voters in 38 states will have their say (if they have the fortitude to make it all the way down the ballot) on 176 initiatives on Nov. 6. These are just the state-level initiatives. There are hundreds upon hundreds of municipal measures as well—California alone has 230 municipal proposals to generate revenue through bonds or tax increases.
Though there are close to 200 state initiatives, there are a handful of categories that may be of particular interest to libertarian-leaning voters, from marijuana legalization to same-sex marriage recognition, to union regulations. So we picked out a few particular areas with ballot initiatives that are worth keeping an eye on. And if you don’t have the patience to track it all, that’s okay: Reason 24/7’s crew will be providing updates on election night and the following day.
1. Curing Reefer Madness
The children of California’s failed Proposition 19 may outperform their parent. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in Washington State, Oregon, and Colorado. All three initiatives would turn marijuana into a legal controlled substance, taxable by the state and heavily regulated.
Of the three initiatives, Washington’s is performing the best in the polls, currently up around 54 percent. Initiative 502, unlike California’s Proposition 19, has received a significant amount of political and media support. The latest poll numbers in Colorado have it ahead at 53 percent.
Oregon’s is doing poorly with only 42 percent supporting legalization, according to a poll released Tuesday by The Oregonian. As Philip Smith of the Drug War Chronicle notes, Oregon’s measure is the most radical of the three, repealing the state’s marijuana laws entirely, and is also poorly funded.
There are three other marijuana-related initiatives on the ballot as well. Massachusetts and Arkansas are considering allowing marijuana for medical use. Massachusetts’ proposition seems likely to pass based on the latest polls. Numbers in Arkansas are less positive: An Oct. 22 poll has 54 percent of voters opposed to the proposition.
Montana has a somewhat unusual marijuana vote pending. Montana voters already legalized medical marijuana in 2004. Montana’s legislature responded by trying to appeal the referendum (which failed) and subsequently adding a host of restrictions and regulations. Montana’s Referendum IR-124 would determine whether voters want to accept these legislative changes or revert back to the initial rules. An October poll shows voter preference for the new rules.