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State-by-State Liberal Voting Guide

Every Single State Ballot Initiative Explained in One Sentence

State ballot initiatives are how voters can immediately and permanently write new laws in their states. It is one of the greatest powers afforded to voters. Unfortunately, most ballot initiatives are written in "legalese," making them very difficult to understand. Worse yet, many politicians and special interests exploit this by writing initiatives that deliberately mislead voters.

This voter guide is designed to serve as a no-nonsense "CliffsNotes" version of each amendment, identifying the position that would be considered most democratic and progressive. This guide is not a representation of the official Democratic National Committee position, as the DNC has not staked out a position on most of these amendments. When the state or national party has taken a position, we have taken the same one.

In the overwhelming majority of state ballot initiatives, where the DNC has not taken an official position, we have done our best to triangulate the most progressive position by evaluating the motives of each side, the monied interest(s) behind them, and the general principles espoused in the initiative. Most of the time, one side is the clear winner. When an initiative is likely to have a mixed impact, we have done our best to indicate that in the explanation.

Alabama

NO

Amendment 1

Feel-good, but unenforceable measure that allows public buildings to display 10 Commandments

NO

Amendment 2

Bans abortions in Alabama

Yes

Amendment 3

Removes age limit for University of Alabama board of trustee members—no big deal

NO

Amendment 4

Robs voters of ability to replace empty House and Senate seats

Alaska

YES

Ballot Measure 1

Protects salmon habitats from permanent destruction

Arizona

YES

Prop 125

Bipartisan pension reform so the state doesn’t go broke

NO

Prop 126

Increases wealth gap between rich and poor, disguised as "tax break"

YES

Prop 127

Increases renewable energy, combats global warming

NO

Prop 305

Robs public schools of funding and gives it to religious schools and homeschoolers

NO

Prop 306

Increases power and influence of wealthy donors and big corporations

Arkansas

NO

Issue 2

Reduces minority voter turnout, helps Republicans win elections

Yes

Issue 4

Legalizes casinos—raises tax revenue, but causes financial hardship for many citizens

YES

Issue 5

Increases minimum wage from $8.50 to $11.00 by 2021

California

YES

Proposition 1

Makes housing more affordable, especially for veterans

YES

Proposition 2

Funding for homeless housing by taxing millionaires

NO

Proposition 3

A clumsy and expensive solution to the water crisis that is largely opposed by even environmental advocacy groups

YES

Proposition 4

Ensures better hospitals for children

NO

Proposition 5

Robs schools and fire departments of funding

NO

Proposition 6

Big handout to oil and auto companies

YES

Proposition 7

Reduces energy costs

YES

Proposition 8

Makes dialysis treatment less expensive

YES

Proposition 10

Makes rent prices lower

NO

Proposition 11

Forces ambulance workers to stay on-call during breaks

YES

Proposition 12

Reduces animal suffering

Colorado

YES

Amendment A

Prohibits convicts from being forced into slave labor

YES

Amendment V

Allows citizens age 21-25 to serve in state legislature

YES

Amendment W

Simplifies ballots and increases voter participation

YES

Amendment X

Protects hemp industry from future federal regulation

YES

Amendment Y

Makes congressional redistricting more fair and bipartisan

YES

Amendment Z

Makes state legislature redistricting more fair and bipartisan

YES

Amendment 73

Raises taxes on wealthiest Coloradans - people making over $150k

NO

Amendment 74

Makes it easier for wealthy landowners to bring frivolous lawsuits against Colorado

YES

Amendment 75

Makes it harder for wealthy candidates to buy elections

NO

Proposition 109

Conservative trick to provide an unworkable and unfunded "alternative" to Prop 110

YES

Proposition 110

Increases funding for desperately needed road repairs and infrastructure

YES

Proposition 111

Reduces predatory lending practices

YES

Proposition 112

Prevents oil companies from fracking and polluting near populated areas

Connecticut

YES

Connecticut Transportation Revenue Lockbox Amendment

Ensures that money collected for transportation is spent on transportation

YES

Connecticut Legislative Requirements to Transfer State Properties Amendment

Allows citizens to influence decisions to sell public land

Florida

NO

Amendment 1

Attempt to trick voters into voting for a “tax cut” that only cuts taxes for 40% and shifts that burden to 60%

NO

Amendment 2

Unnecessary and expensive handout to wealthy investment property owners

NO

Amendment 3

Disney and Seminole Tribe attempting to block creation of new casinos that could compete with them

YES

Amendment 4

Restores voting rights to felony convicts who have served their sentences

NO

Amendment 5

Makes it nearly impossible to raise taxes, even when massive majorities favor it

NO

Amendment 6

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

NO

Amendment 7

Deceptive attempt to rob public universities of funding, disguised as veteran benefits

YES

Amendment 9

Bans a small segment of off-shore drilling and bans use of e-cigarettes at enclosed indoor workplaces

NO

Amendment 10

Crowded amendment of unnecessary and redundant provisions to disguise the true intent—removing police officer accountability in a few counties with histories of bad behavior

NO

Amendment 11

Mixed bag with two positive changes that are overwhelmed by one huge negative—allowing the NRA and its members to wiggle out of criminal liability for unjustified shootings

NO

Amendment 12

Unnecessary restriction on public servants that will discourage public service by anyone who is not independently wealthy

YES

Amendment 13

Reduces animal suffering by banning dog races

Georgia

YES

Amendment 1

Earmarks sales taxes collected from sale of recreation equipment be allocated towards land conservation, protects land without raising taxes

NO

Amendment 2

Creates a new court with judges handpicked by politicians to hear “complex” business cases—attempt to allow big businesses to circumvent normal judicial review

YES

Amendment 3

Bipartisan effort to reduce tax burden on commercial forest owners

NO

Amendment 4

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

YES

Amendment 5

Makes it easier for schools to acquire funding, improves education outcomes

YES

Referendum A

Bipartisan effort to alleviate tax burden for some homeowners

YES

Referendum B

Expands tax breaks for business that assist in the building and renovation of housing for the mentally disabled

Hawaii

YES

Hawaii Constitution Convention Question

Allows citizens to vote on amendments to the state constitution

YES

Hawaii Surcharge on Investment Properties to Fund Public Education Amendment

Increases funding to local schools without raising taxes on residents

Idaho

NO

Proposition 1

Allows for unlimited expansion of gambling machines, with very little revenue going to the state

YES

Proposition 2

Allows Idaho to accept money from the federal government to provide health care to poor Idahoans

Indiana

NO

Public Question 1

Deceptive attempt to cut vital public services masquerading as "fiscal responsibility"

Kentucky

NO

Kentucky Crime Victim Bill of Rights

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

Louisiana

NO

Amendment 1

Strips convicted felons of the ability to serve the public for 5 years after they have served their sentences

YES

Amendment 2

Requires a unanimous verdict to convict someone of a felony, instead of 10 out of 12, keeps innocent people out of jail

YES

Amendment 3

Bipartisan effort to allow cities to exchange public equipment and personnel as needed, increases cooperation between communities and reduces redundant expenses

YES

Amendment 4

Increases funding available for transportation infrastructure without raising taxes

YES

Amendment 5

Bipartisan effort to reduce taxes on surviving spouses of military and first responders killed in action

YES

Amendment 6

Limits how much property taxes can go up in a single year for homeowners with homes that have gone up in value

Maine

YES

Question 1

Provides in-home health care to physically and mentally disabled elderly citizens

YES

Question 2

Improves and fixes substandard water infrastructure, saves money in the long run

YES

Question 3

Fixes roads, bridges, highways, railroads, highways, harbors, and airports

YES

Question 4

Expand and improve University of Maine facilities

YES

Question 5

Campus-specific equipment and facility upgrades for seven state colleges

Maryland

YES

Question 1

Requires revenue from video lotteries to be spent on K-12 education, as originally promised

Massachusetts

YES

Question 1

Improves health outcomes by limiting the amount of patients that can be assigned to a single nurse

YES

Question 2

Attempts to reduce the toxic influence of large corporations and dark money in politics

YES

Question 3

Prevents discrimination on the basis of gender identity

Michigan

YES

Proposal 1

Legalizes recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21, providing windfall of tax revenue for schools, roads, and bridges

YES

Proposal 2

Transfers redistricting authority to an independent commission that ensures bipartisan support for any future redistricting

YES

Proposal 3

Protects voter rights and increases voter turnout

Missouri

YES

Amendment 1

Makes it harder for wealthy donors to buy politicians with huge, undisclosed gifts and donations, also makes redistricting more fair

NO

Amendment 2

Inferior to Amendment 3—only one will be enacted

YES

Amendment 3

Best of the 3 marijuana bills, legalizes medical marijuana, taxes it at 15%, and spends that tax revenue on groundbreaking medical research that could result in life-saving cures

YES

Amendment 4

Removes outdated and unnecessary restrictions on bingo games

YES

Proposition B

Increases minimum wage to $12

NO

Proposition C

Inferior to Amendment 3—only one will be enacted

YES

Proposition D

Reduces traffic and improves road safety

Montana

YES

LR-128

Renews funding for Montana University System

NO

LR-129

Cruel attempt to suppress voter turnout, particularly among minorities

YES

I-185

Saves lives by taxing Big Tobacco and using the money for expanded health care coverage

YES

I-186

Prevents hard rock miners from polluting water and passing cleanup costs to Montana taxpayers

Nebraska

YES

Initiative 427

Provides health care to poor people over the age of 65, with the federal government picking up 90% of the tab

Nevada

NO

Question 1

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

YES

Question 2

Makes feminine hygeine products cheaper by exempting them from sales taxes

NO

Question 3

Reduces state's ability to regulate energy industry, combat global warming, and protect Nevadan jobs

YES

Question 4

Reduces cost of health care by exempting medical equipment from sales taxes

YES

Question 5

Increases voter turnout by auto-registering people to vote when they receive services from DMV

YES

Question 6

Combats global warming by ensuring 50% of electricity comes from renewable (wind, solar, etc.) sources

New Hampshire

YES

Question 1

Allows taxpayers to hold the state government accountable for illegal use of public funds

YES

Question 2

Increases privacy rights for New Hampshire citizens, particularly for private and personal information

New Jersey

YES

Public Question 1

Provides badly-needed funding for education, water infrastructure, and school security—broad, bipartisan support

New Mexico

YES

Constitutional Amendment 1

Non-controversial, bipartisan push to reduce case load at district courts

YES

Constitutional Amendment 2

Creates an independent ethics committee responsible for fighting government corruption

YES

Bond Question A

Provides funding for senior citizen facilities

YES

Bond Question B

Provides funding for libraries

YES

Bond Question C

Provides funding for school buses

YES

Bond Question D

Provides funding for higher education, special schools, and tribal schools

North Carolina

NO

Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment

Meaningless amendment designed to get gun activists to the polls—doesn’t actually provide any new rights

NO

Marsy's Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

NO

Income Tax Cap Amendment

Attempt to lure discouraged Republican voters to polls with promise of lower taxes, even though no taxes will be lowered with the passage of this amendment

NO

Voter ID Amendment

Deliberate attempt to make it harder for people to vote, particularly elderly and minority voters, who traditionally vote Democratic

NO

Legislative Appointments to Elections Board Amendment

Robs constitutionally guaranteed powers from the Democratic governor and gives it to the Republican legislature

NO

Judicial Selection for Midterm Vacancies Amendment

Robs constitutionally guaranteed powers from the Democratic governor and gives it to the Republican legislature...again

North Dakota

YES

Measure 1

Protects elections from foreign influence and makes campaign finance information publicly accesible

NO

Measure 2

Cynical attempt to capitalize on angst about immigrants by “clarifying” a law that no one finds and confusing—will not change the law at all

YES

Measure 3

Legalizes marijuana for recreational use for people 21 and older, expunges records of anyone with a weed conviction on their record

YES

Measure 4

Rewards volunteer emergency responders with a special license plate that allows free entry to North Dakota state parks

Ohio

YES

Issue 1

Reduces prison overcrowding by treating non-violent drug users for addiction instead of throwing them in jail for ridiculously long sentences

Oklahoma

NO

State Question 793

Make it easier for big corporations like Costco and Wal-Mart to drive local optometrists and small business owners out of business

NO

State Question 794

Removes the presumption of innocence for accused criminals, making it harder to get a fair trial

NO

State Question 798

Robs voters of ability to vote on governor and lt. governor separately, reduces checks and balances

NO

State Question 800

Incomplete and sloppy attempt to stabilize the education budget—leaves too many unanswered questions

NO

State Question 801

Diverts funds earmarked for school construction to pay school operating expenses—band-aid solution that will create bigger problems down the line and reduce quality of schools long term

Oregon

YES

Measure 102

Expands access to affordable housing

NO

Measure 103

Robs citizens of power to tax unhealthy products (like soda) to improve health outcomes

NO

Measure 104

Undemocratic effort to make it almost impossible to tax big corporations their fair share, even when large majorities express that desire

NO

Measure 105

Makes Oregon less safe for immigrants, hurts businesses who employ immigrants and customers who benefit from those businesses

NO

Measure 106

Reduces access to safe abortion facilities for poor women

Rhode Island

YES

Question 1

Improves education by providing funding for school buildings

YES

Question 2

Improves education by providing funding for higher education facilities

YES

Question 3

Provides funding for vital environmental projects, many of which are designed to protect vulnerable Rhode Islanders against the worst impacts of climate change

South Carolina

NO

Amendment 1

Robs the voters of the ability to decide who runs K-12 education and instead allows the (almost-always Republican) governor to appoint a political crony

South Dakota

NO

Initiated Measure 24

Probably unconstitutional attempt to place restrictions on out-of-state campaign donations—no other state does this

YES

Initiated Measure 25

Increases taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, funds tobacco use and prevention programs, saves lives

NO

Constitutional Amendment W

A lot of positive elements, but extends too much unchecked power to a small group of individuals

NO

Constitutional Amendment X

Makes it harder for amendments with popular support to pass by extending threshold from 50% to 55% of voters

NO

Constitutional Amendment Z

Makes it harder and more expensive to propose amendments, drowning out the voices of grassroots activists

Utah

YES

Constitutional Amendment A

Provides tax break to active duty military who were previously excluded for serving in 2 partial years

NO

Constitutional Amendment B

Unnecessary handout to wealthy property owners

YES

Constitutional Amendment C

Bipartisan effort to allow legislators to meet more than 45 days a year

YES

Nonbinding Opinion Question 1

Improves roads and schools through increased gas taxes

YES

Proposition 2

Legalizes medical use of marijuana

YES

Proposition 3

Provides health care to poor people over the age of 65, with the federal government picking up 90% of the tab

YES

Proposition 4

Prevents partisan gerrymandering of congressional and state legislature districts

Virginia

YES

Question 1

Allows surviving spouses of disabled veterans to move to a new house without forfeiting their property tax exemptions

YES

Question 2

Provides temporary tax relief to communities prone to frequent flooding if they invest in improvements that prevent flooding

Washington

YES

Initiative 940

Saves lives by requiring and training police officers to avoid deadly force when possible

YES

Initiative 1631

Combats global warming, creates a cap-and-trade program that incentivizes polluters to reduce carbon emissions and provides funding for environmental programs

NO

Initiative 1634

Robs citizens of power to tax unhealthy products (like soda) to improve health outcomes

YES

Initiative 1639

Saves lives by implementing common-sense gun controls, such as background checks, waiting periods, and 21yo minimum age

YES

Advisory Vote 19

Taxes oil companies to create a fund for responding to oil spills

West Virginia

NO

Amendment 1

Vicious attack on women's right to choose, criminalizing abortion at the state level

YES

Amendment 2

Bipartisan effort to rein in spending by state judiciary

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