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A Look At Arizona’s 459 Ballot Measures Since Statehood

One election-related bill enacted last week 
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Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. A look at Arizona’s 459 ballot measures since statehood
  2. One election-related bill enacted last week 
  3. Three candidates are running in the March 5 Republican primary for governor of North Carolina

A look at Arizona’s 459 ballot measures since statehood

In 2006, Arizona voters decided Proposition 200, an initiative that would have awarded a $1 million prize to a randomly selected person who voted during the election cycle. Voters who cast their ballots in a primary or general election would have been eligible to win the prize, and funding for it would have come from unclaimed lottery prize money. Mark Osterloh, the man behind the initiative, said the prize was meant to boost turnout. 

Voters (perhaps surprisingly?) rejected the initiative 67% to 33%.

It was one of 459 measures Arizona voters have decided in state history. You can find all 459 measures in Ballotpedia’s dataset on Arizona ballot measures.

The initiative and referendum process was included in Arizona’s constitution, which voters ratified in 1911, two months before statehood. Since then, voters have approved 237 (52%) statewide measures and defeated 222 (48%).

Of those:

  • 211 (46%) were citizen initiatives. Voters approved 97 (46%) and defeated 114 (54%).
  • 228 (50%) were from the Arizona Legislature. Voters approved 136 (60%) and defeated 92 (40%).
  • Two were constitution ratification questions. 
  • 18 were commission-referred ballot measures.

The ballot measure that received the greatest percentage of the vote was the ratification question for the Arizona Constitution on Dec. 12, 1911. The vote was 89% to 11%. 

This was the second ratification question in Arizona, as voters had approved an earlier version on Feb. 9, 1911. However, President William Howard Taft (R) vetoed legislation making Arizona a state due, partly, to that constitution’s provision allowing for the recall of judges (Taft would go on to become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1921). The revised version did not include the recall provision, and Taft signed legislation granting Arizona statehood on Feb. 4, 1912. Voters passed a ballot measure allowing for the recall of public officials later that year. 

The ballot measure to receive the smallest percentage of the vote was Measure Nos. 308-309 in 1920. A ballot initiative that would have provided for a citizen-initiated process for creating new counties. According to the Tucson Citizen, the initiative was prompted, in part, by the interest among some residents of Mesa in leaving Maricopa County. Voters rejected the initiative 88% to 12%.

Other noteworthy ballot measures from Arizona’s history include:

  • Proposition 100, which was on the general election ballot in 1980. The constitutional amendment enacted a resign-to-run law. Under Proposition 100, incumbents must resign from their positions to run for a different salaried local, state, or federal office except during the final year of their term. Voters approved the amendment 69.11% to 30.89%.
  • Measure Nos. 312-313, which was on the general election ballot in 1914. The ballot initiative prohibited employers from blacklisting individuals who joined or had an active interest in a labor organization or union. Voters approved the initiative 51.07% to 48.93%.

The decade with the most ballot measures in Arizona was 2000-2009, with 62. The decade with the least ballot measures was 1930-1939, with 26. There have been 12 ballot measures in the 2020s, and an additional four have been certified for 2024. More could be added via the initiative process or during this year’s legislative session. 

One election-related bill enacted last week

States approved one election-related bill last week: LA SB8, which provides for redistricting of Louisiana congressional districts. 

Two election-related bills had been enacted by this point in 2023, while 10 bills had been enacted by this point in 2022.

Two election-related bills had been enacted by this point in 2023, while 10 bills had been enacted by this point in 2022. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Here’s a snapshot of the election policy legislation we followed last week:

  • Democrats sponsored 80 (29.2%) of the 274 bills active over the past week, and Republicans sponsored 146 (53.3%) bills. Twenty-three (8.4%) bills had bipartisan sponsorship. Twenty-five (9.1%) bills had sponsors other than Democrats or Republicans, such as nonpartisan lawmakers or committee sponsorship.
  • Seventy-four (27%) of these bills are in states with Democratic trifectas, 122 (44.5%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 78 (28.5%) are in states with a divided government. 
  • Thirteen bills passed one or both chambers this week. Two were in Democratic trifectas, and of those, Democrats sponsored one. Six were in Republican trifectas, and of those, Republicans sponsored one.

The top five bill topics this week were: 

  • Ballot verification (26)
  • Voter registration and list maintenance (21)
  • Counting and certification (17)
  • Election dates and deadlines (17)
  • Election types and contest-specific procedures (15)

Every Friday, we send out the Ballot Bulletin—a newsletter about election-related policy and legislation. The newsletter provides in-depth coverage of legislative trends and bill activity using data pulled from our free Election Administration Legislation Tracker.

Click below to subscribe to the Ballot Bulletin and read past editions. 

Keep reading 

Three candidates are running in the March 5 Republican primary for governor of North Carolina

Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling primaries—the battleground elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive. 

Last week, we previewed the March 5 top-two primary for California’s 31st Congressional District. You can catch our previous coverage of other battleground races here.

Today, we’re looking at the March 5 Republican primary for governor of North Carolina, where incumbent Roy Cooper (D) is term-limited. 

Democrats have controlled North Carolina’s governorship for 26 of the past 30 years.

Dale Folwell, Bill Graham, and Mark Robinson are running in the Republican primary.

Folwell was elected North Carolina’s treasurer in 2016 and was in the state House from 2005 to 2013. Folwell has focused on his record, saying no other candidate “had such an extensive background in public service and unique experience in negotiating with legislators to make government more effective.” EMPAC, the political action committee of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC), endorsed Folwell.

Graham, a private attorney and former prosecutor, ran for governor in 2008. Graham has highlighted crime, education, and taxes. On crime, Graham said he would support the “death penalty for fentanyl dealers and human traffickers[,] increase mandatory prison terms for violent offenders[, and] establish a statewide crime task force to assist local law enforcement in combating gangs and illegal drug activity.” U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) endorsed Graham.

The map shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state and trifecta status this year. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Robinson was elected North Carolina’s lieutenant governor in 2020. A former factory worker, Robinson gained media attention in 2018 for a widely-shared video of a speech he made in support of gun rights. Robinson has focused on his personal background and upbringing, saying he went from being “the 9th of 10 in a poor household filled with alcoholism and domestic violence to the first Black Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina.” In June 2023, former President Donald Trump (R) said he would endorse Robinson.

Folwell and Graham have criticized Robinson for past remarks he’s made. Folwell said Robinson “normally attacks women, Jews and other groups” and said Robinson is “history’s latest example of a person rising to power telling people who to hate.” Graham said Robinson “suggested the Holocaust wasn’t real, downplayed the Nazis, and promoted Hitler propaganda.”

In response, Robinson’s campaign said Graham was “regurgitating the same dishonest lies the Democrats use because the Republican primary is over and he can’t handle it. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson stands with Israel and the Jewish people – and he’s never questioned the Holocaust.”

North Carolina is one of 11 states holding gubernatorial elections this year. The state currently has a divided government: Democrats control the governorship, and Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature. 

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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