Ballot Initiatives

Update: Read about the results of these November 2012 ballot initiatives.

Florida | Idaho | Maine | Maryland | Minnesota | MontanaOhio | Oklahoma | Washington

Florida

State: Florida
Name of Ballot Initiative: Florida State Revenue Limitation, (Amendment 3)
Summary: This measure is a proposed TABOR amendment (“TABOR” stands for “Taxpayer Bill of Rights”). Amendment 3 proposes amending Florida’s constitution to replace existing revenue limits with new ones that would be based on Florida’s current inflation rates and population change. This means that the state government would not be able to collect any more revenues (i.e. funds through state taxes) than what is allowed based on the new formula, taking inflation rates and populations into account. Any funds that exceed the revenue limits would be placed in the state’s “rainy day” emergency fund. Once the fund reaches 10 percent of the prior year’s total budget, the Florida State Legislature would be required to vote to either provide tax relief or reduce property taxes.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW’s 2011-2013 Public Policy Program states that AAUW supports “public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to the community.” Florida’s TABOR Amendment would restrict the state’s ability to raise additional revenue as needed to keep up with increasing demand for government services, including health care, education, and public benefits.

State: Florida
Name of Ballot Initiative: No Public Funding of Abortion (Amendment 6)
Summary: Amendment 6 would change the Florida State Constitution to prohibit abortions from being performed with public funds, unless the pregnancy was due to rape or incest or the woman’s life was in danger. The amendment would also overrule court decisions concluding that the right to privacy under the Florida Constitution is broader than it is under the U.S. Constitution.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW supports the right of every woman to safe, accessible, affordable, and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services, including abortion. Amendment 6 would undermine the explicit right to privacy contained in the Florida Constitution and thus restrict women’s access to reproductive choices.

State: Florida
Name of Ballot Initiative: Florida Religious Freedom (Amendment 8)
Summary: Amendment 8 would strike the state Constitution’s No-Aid Provision (also known as the Blaine Amendment), which prohibits the use of public funds to directly or indirectly aid any church, sect, religious denomination, or sectarian institution.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW firmly believes in the separation of church and state. Current Florida law, through the Blaine Amendment, protects that separation, and the proposed Amendment.

Idaho

State: Idaho
Name of Ballot Initiative: Idaho Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Veto Referendums, Proposition 1
Summary: Idaho’s top state education official proposed an education reform plan that was enacted through three bills that passed the Idaho Legislature in 2011. Opponents of the plan gathered enough signatures to place all three controversial laws on the November ballot for voter approval. Proposition 1 asks voters to approve or reject the already-passed law that restricted collective bargaining rights for teachers and ended teacher tenure.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW’s 2011-2013 Public Policy Program advocates for a strong system of public education and fairness in pay and compensation. Collective bargaining is a civil right that helps public employees achieve that fairness. AAUW Idaho voted to endorse the “Vote No on Props 1, 2, and 3” campaign at its summer state board meeting in July 2012.

State: Idaho
Name of Ballot Initiative: Idaho Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Veto Referendums, Proposition 2
Summary: Idaho’s top state education official proposed an education reform plan that was enacted through three bills that passed the Idaho Legislature in 2011. Opponents of the plan gathered enough signatures to place all three controversial laws on the November ballot for voter approval. Proposition 2 asks voters to approve or reject the already-passed law that imposed a merit pay bonus system that is tied to student performance.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW’s 2011-2013 Public Policy Program advocates for a strong system of public education and the use of multiple measures to gauge students’ performance, of which testing should be only one. High stakes testing, and teaching to the test, does not close the achievement gap or improve educational outcomes. AAUW Idaho voted to endorse the “Vote No on Props 1, 2, and 3” campaign at its summer state board meeting in July 2012.

State: Idaho
Name of Ballot Initiative: Proposition 3
Summary: Idaho’s top state education official proposed an education reform plan that was enacted through three controversial bills that passed the Idaho Legislature in 2011. Opponents of the plan gathered enough signatures to place all three laws on the November ballot for voter approval. Proposition 3 asks voters to approve or reject the already-passed law that would transfer money from teacher and school administrator salaries to fund a new online learning initiative.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW’s 2011-2013 Public Policy Program advocates for a strong system of public education and fairness in pay and compensation. While we support the increased use of technology in classrooms, we are concerned about proposals that would cut qualified teachers to make technological improvements that the current building and cable infrastructure do not support. Teachers cannot be replaced with computers. AAUW Idaho voted to endorse the “Vote No on Props 1, 2, and 3” campaign at its summer state board meeting in July 2012.

Maine

State: Maine
Name of Ballot Initiative: Maine Marriage Equality Referendum (Question 1)
Summary: The referendum would allow marriage licenses for same-sex couples, while protecting religious freedom by ensuring that no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
AAUW position: Vote Yes.
AAUW supports freedom in the definition of family, and a guarantee of civil rights in all family structures. Marriage is a central right in the full range of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.

Maryland

State: Maryland
Name of Ballot Initiative: Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum, also known as the Maryland “DREAM” Act (Question 4)
Summary: The Maryland legislature passed a state DREAM Act in 2011, and opponents gathered enough signatures to place the law on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval. The Maryland DREAM Act allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state or in-county tuition at Maryland colleges. In order to qualify, students must prove that they have attended a Maryland high school for three years and their parents have filed taxes. Initially, students who qualify would attend a Maryland community college; after two years, the students could transfer to a four-year university. A vote for the referendum would uphold the DREAM Act.
AAUW position: Vote For.
AAUW believes that increasing access to higher education is imperative for individual financial security and the nation’s economic recovery. The Maryland DREAM Act removes one of the major barriers to undocumented students’ access to education—cost—and enables our nation to become increasingly competitive by building on the home-grown talent of these students who have known no other home..

State: Maryland
Name of Ballot Initiative: Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Referendum (Question 6)
Summary: The Maryland legislature passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act in March, and opponents gathered enough signatures to place the law on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval. The Civil Marriage Protection Act allows same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license and protects religious freedom by ensuring that no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs. A vote for the referendum would uphold the law.
AAUW position: Vote For.
AAUW supports freedom in the definition of family, and a guarantee of civil rights in all family structures. Marriage is a central right in the full range of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.

Minnesota

State: Minnesota
Name of Ballot Initiative: Minnesota Defense of Marriage Amendment (Proposed Amendment 1)
Summary: This proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, for the purposes of determining which marriages will be valid and recognized in the state.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW supports freedom in the definition of family, and a guarantee of civil rights in all family structures. Marriage is a central right in the full range of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans. AAUW Minnesota voted to formally oppose this initiative at its annual convention.

State: Minnesota
Name of Ballot Initiative: Minnesota Voter ID Amendment (Proposed Amendment 2)
Summary: This proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution would require all voters to present valid government-issued photo identification to vote and require the state to provide free qualifying identification to eligible voters who lack such documents, effective July 1, 2013.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW has long fought to protect the right to vote. Strict voter identification laws threaten to disproportionately disenfranchise women, the elderly, students, and people of color. Allegedly meant to deter voter fraud, these laws suppress far more eligible voters than ineligible ones. AAUW Minnesota voted to formally oppose this initiative at its annual convention.

Montana

State: Montana
Name of Ballot Initiative: Parental Notification Measure
Summary: The measure would require doctors to give the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours’ notice before performing an abortion. The measure would allow a judge to waive the notification requirement and would not require notification in the case of a medical emergency.
AAUW position: Vote Against.
AAUW supports the right of every woman to safe, accessible, affordable, and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health services. AAUW is concerned that parental notification measures undermine a teenager’s ability to access safe and appropriate medical care.

Ohio

State: Ohio
Name of Ballot Initiative: Issue 2
Summary: Issue 2 would create a nonpartisan commission to draw maps for Ohio’s legislative and Congressional districts. The commission would consist of 12 citizens: four Republicans, four Democrats, and four non-affiliated individuals. Commission members would have to approve district maps that best represent fairness, electoral competitiveness, geographical compactness, and representation.
AAUW position: Vote Yes.
AAUW’s 2011-2013 Public Policy Program states that AAUW supports policies that “promote equitable political participation and representation in appointed and elected office.” Issue 2 would ensure representation of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Oklahoma

State: Oklahoma
Name of Ballot Initiative: Affirmative Action Ban Amendment (State Question No. 759)
Summary: The measure would ban affirmative action programs in the state and prohibit special treatment based on race, gender, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracts.
AAUW position: Vote No.
AAUW has long supported affirmative action programs that establish equal opportunity for women and minorities and improve gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in educational institutions and workplaces.

Washington

State: Washington
Name of Ballot Initiative: Washington Same-Sex Marriage Referendum (Referendum 74)
Summary: In February, the Washington state legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry while protecting the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies that violate their religious convictions. Opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to place it on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval. A vote for the referendum is a vote to uphold marriage equality.
AAUW position: Vote Approve.
AAUW supports freedom in the definition of family, and a guarantee of civil rights in all family structures. Marriage is a central right in the full range of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans. AAUW Washington has formally joined the Washington United for Marriage coalition in support of the referendum.