Ballot Initiatives

On Election Day, voters in many states will select more than just the candidates who represent them. Ballot initiatives and state referenda allow citizens to vote directly on legislation — including policies that could be helpful to women and families and could advance or undermine the goals of AAUW’s Public Policy Priorities.

Below you will find the names and summaries of ballot measures whose adoption would affect women and their families. Ballot initiatives can be confusing and even manipulative, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you make informed decisions based on AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls.

2018 Ballot Initiatives
General Election: November 6

Florida | Idaho | Massachusetts | Michigan | Missouri | Oregon


 

Florida

Florida Amendment 4: Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative

Summary: Current Florida law bars anyone with a felony conviction from voting, unless they undertake a complicated legal process to request those rights be restored and gain approval. Amendment 4 would allow people with prior felony convictions to automatically have their eligibility to vote restored upon completion of their sentence, including parole or probation. The amendment excludes those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

AAUW and AAUW of Florida recommend voting YES on Florida Amendment 4.

AAUW’s 2017-19 Public Policy Priorities advocate for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights. AAUW supports the protection and expansion of voting rights and opposes any efforts to reduce access to the ballot box.

 


 

Idaho

Proposition 2: Medicaid Expansion Initiative

Summary: Proposition 2 would expand Idaho’s Medicaid coverage to more individuals in the state. The change would expand Medicaid eligibility to those under sixty-five years old whose income is 133 percent of the federal poverty level or below and who are not eligible for other state insurance coverage.

AAUW and AAUW of Idaho recommend voting YES on Idaho Proposition 2.

AAUW believes that everyone is entitled to high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care. Health care security is intrinsically tied to economic security, and this relationship is particularly true for women who earn less than men on average and are therefore less able to afford insurance or care. Medicaid represents a crucial element of the social safety net, and AAUW supports its expansion. Americans, especially women, rely heavily on the protections Medicaid offers and the services it provides, and it is critical that it continue to be maintained and strengthened.

 


 

Massachusetts

Question 3: Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Veto Referendum

Summary: Question 3 is the first-ever statewide popular vote on protections for transgender people. A “no” vote on the referendum would repeal the Massachusetts state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, including restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices.

AAUW and AAUW of Massachusetts recommend voting YES on Massachusetts Question 3.

AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination and supports protections for the civil rights of all individuals. We believe in creating a diverse culture of involvement, respect, inclusion, and connection, where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is fully appreciated and utilized. AAUW’s 2017-19 Public Policy Priorities also advocate for the “economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons.” AAUW believes discrimination against transgender people has no place in our society, and that Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination law should remain in place.

 


 

Michigan

Proposal 2: Independent Redistricting Commission Initiative

Summary: Proposal 2 would create an independent commission to supervise redistricting in Michigan. This would replace the current process, which relies on the state legislature to draw district boundaries. The commission formed by Proposal 2 would be comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and unaligned voters to ensure nonpartisan boundaries are drawn.

AAUW and AAUW of Michigan recommend voting YES on Michigan Proposal 2.

Gerrymandering – the practice of drawing electoral district lines to benefit one political party – poses serious problems for our democracy. The way the lines are drawn affects who is elected: By packing voters who favor one party into the fewest districts possible or spreading those same voters out over many districts to guarantee that they hold minimal influence, gerrymandering works against fair representation and can lead to undue influence from one political party. AAUW has long advocated expanding voting rights and ensuring equitable political participation and representation, and poorly drawn or purposefully unfair electoral district lines can threaten these ideals. Legislators in gerrymandered districts are less accountable to voters; elections in those districts frequently become uncontested or lopsided; and in states where gerrymandering is widespread, legislatures are able to push through policies that fail to reflect voters’ values or needs. An independent redistricting commission would help to prevent the problems caused by gerrymandering and ensure fair representation for Michigan voters.

Proposal 3: Voting Policies in State Constitution Initiative

Summary: Proposal 3 would authorize several policies designed to increase access to voting. The constitutional provisions include establishing automatic voter registration, allowing in-person voter registration up to and including election day, removing criteria for obtaining an absentee ballot, ensuring overseas voters receive absentee ballots 45 days prior to an election, making vote-by-mail registration available until 15 days prior to an election, offering straight-ticket voting, and auditing election results.

AAUW and AAUW of Michigan recommend voting YES on Michigan Proposal 3.

AAUW’s 2017-19 Public Policy Priorities advocate for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder has left voting rights under attack, and in many states it has become more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote. AAUW supports the protection and expansion of voting rights and supports efforts like these that increase access to the ballot box.

 


 

Missouri

Amendment 1: Lobbying, Campaign Finance, and Redistricting Initiative

Summary: Amendment 1 seeks to clean up Missouri politics by amending the state’s constitution to change lobbying rules, campaign contribution limits, and legislative redistricting. The amendment would change the system for legislative redistricting by adding the position of non-partisan state demographer, which would draw state legislative districts and work with the existing redistricting commissions for approval of the map. Amendment 1 also establishes criteria for the demographer and commissions to consider in creating the maps, mandating that districts be fair, competitive, contiguous, and compact. Additionally, the amendment would limit gifts from lobbyists to a value of $5, require legislators and their staff to wait two years before becoming lobbyists, put limits on campaign contributions to state legislative candidates, and prohibit donation tactics that obscure the source of the money.

AAUW and AAUW of Missouri recommend voting YES on Missouri Amendment 1.

AAUW has long advocated expanding voting rights and ensuring equitable political participation and representation, and poorly drawn or purposefully unfair electoral district lines can threaten these ideals. Legislators in gerrymandered districts are less accountable to voters; elections in those districts frequently become uncontested or lopsided; and in states where gerrymandering is widespread, legislatures are able to push through policies that fail to reflect voters’ values or needs. Adding a nonpartisan state demographer to Missouri’s existing redistricting commissions would help to prevent the problems caused by gerrymandering and ensure fair representation for Missouri voters. AAUW’s 2017-19 Public Policy Priorities also state that “we see an urgent need for meaningful campaign finance reform,” and these measures are good steps in the right direction.

Proposition B: $12 Minimum Wage Initiative

Summary: Proposition B would gradually increase Missouri’s minimum wage from the current $7.85 per hour to $12 per hour over 5 years. After that point, the initiative would require that the minimum wage increase or decrease based on changes in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

AAUW and AAUW of Missouri recommend voting YES on Missouri Proposition B.

AAUW’s 2017-19 Public Policy Priorities advocate for reduction of poverty and for a living wage. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers nationwide, and raising the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring their economic security and that of their families. Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to help shrink the persistent gender pay gap.

 


 

Oregon

Measure 106: Ban Public Funds for Abortions Initiative

Summary: Measure 106 would prohibit Oregon from spending public funds on abortion, effectively cutting abortion access for those who cannot independently afford it. The funding ban would mean that low-income Oregonians who are insured under the Oregon Health Plan would no longer have access to covered abortion care. Public servants, including teachers, firefighters, and nurses, also receive health care through the state, and would also lose access to abortion services.

No checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Oregon recommend voting NO on Oregon Measure 106.

AAUW supports choice in the determination of one’s reproductive life and increased access to health care and family planning services. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion for all women and found abortion to be a constitutionally protected, fundamental right, but laws like this one threaten to limit vulnerable women’s access to the full range of health services. The Supreme Court recently affirmed in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt that where state restrictions on abortion care infringe on women’s access to these services, those restrictions are against the law. AAUW trusts that every woman has the ability to make her own informed choices regarding her reproductive life within the dictates of her own moral and religious beliefs, and those decisions should not be limited by finances.

Find information on Oregon Measures 103, 104, and 105 from AAUW of Oregon.

 

2018 Primary Elections

Missouri

Proposition A: “Right-To-Work” Referendum

Summary: On August 7, Missouri voters voted to reject a measure that could have had lasting effects for Missouri’s labor unions. Approval of Proposition A would have made Missouri a “right-to-work” state. Backers of these laws claim they prevent workers from being required to join a labor union or pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment, but federal law already makes that illegal, and “right-to-work” policies actually make it harder for workers to form unions.

No checkboxAAUW recommended voting NO on Missouri Proposition A.

AAUW’s 2017-2019 Public Policy Priorities promote “economic self-sufficiency for all women,” including “pay equity and fairness in compensation and benefits.” Union membership helps increase wages for all workers through the power to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. “Right-to-work” policies weaken unions, leading to lower wages for everyone. Research shows that the gender pay gap is smaller between men and women who are union members. Women in Missouri continue to earn less than their male colleagues – just 78 cents for every dollar men earn. A “right-to-work” law could widen this gap even further, and lead to economic instability for women across the state. AAUW opposes any effort to reduce wages and benefits for women, and urged Missourians to vote NO on Proposition A.

2016 Ballot Initiatives

Alaska

Ballot Measure 1: An act allowing qualified individuals to register to vote when applying for a permanent fund dividend

Summary: Adoption of Ballot Measure 1 would enable qualified Alaskans applying for a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) to register to vote, allow registered voters to update their home addresses, and enable voters to opt out if they prefer to register by mail. Alaska currently requires PFD applicants to register to vote or update their voter registration using a separate form. The Permanent Fund Dividend consists of a portion of the state’s oil revenue, and a PFD is paid to anyone who has been a resident of Alaska for a full year and intends to remain in the state indefinitely. Roughly 70,000 Alaskans who are eligible for the PFD are not registered to vote.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Alaska Ballot Measure 1.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder has left voting rights under attack, and in many states it has become more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote. AAUW supports the protection and expansion of voting rights and opposes any efforts to reduce access to the ballot box.


Arizona

Proposition 206: Relating to Arizona’s minimum wage and earned paid sick time benefits

Summary: Adoption of Proposition 206 would increase the minimum wage in Arizona incrementally from $8.05 per hour in 2016 to $12 per hour by 2020. Proposition 206 would also entitle employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, with limits based upon the size of the employer. Proposition 206 broadly defines the conditions under which paid sick time may be taken, including mental or physical illness; care of a family member; a public health emergency; absence due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking; and prohibits various forms of retaliation against employees for exercising any rights under the law.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Arizona recommend voting YES on
Arizona Proposition 206.

AAUW is committed to promoting the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. Offering workers the option of taking time off when they or a family member are sick is not just good for women and families, it’s good for business. Without sick days, employees often come to work ill, which can decrease productivity and infect co-workers. AAUW’s member-adopted 2015–17 Public Policy Program also calls for a “living wage” and “reduction of poverty.” AAUW believes raising the minimum wage is an important step toward closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic security of working women and their families.


California

Find information on California Amendments 51, 52, 53, 55, and 58 from AAUW of California.


Colorado

Amendment 70: Colorado $12 minimum wage amendment

Summary: Amendment 70 would amend the Colorado constitution to increase the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until the minimum wage is $12 per hour (January 2020) and annually adjusting it thereafter for cost-of-living increases. The current minimum wage in the state of Colorado is $8.31 per hour.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Colorado recommend voting YES on
Colorado Amendment 70.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for a reduction of poverty and for a livable wage. Women make up two-thirds of minimum-wage workers nationwide, and raising the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring their economic security and that of their families. Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to help shrink the persistent gender pay gap.

AAUW of Colorado also recommends voting YES on Amendment T and Amendment 71. Learn more on their website.


Maine

Question 2: Maine tax on incomes exceeding $200,000 for public education

Summary: Adoption of Question 2 would increase state funding for public education for grades K–12 by creating a 3 percent surcharge on households with incomes greater than $200,000, after all deductions. Question 2 requires funding from the surcharge be used for direct classroom instruction, including teachers, school nurses, and other critical public school personnel.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Maine recommend voting YES on Maine Question 2.

AAUW supports a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, and diversity. In our 2015–17 Public Policy Program Biennial Action Priorities, AAUW advocates for “adequate and equitable funding for quality public education for all students.” AAUW opposes the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools.

Question 4: Maine minimum wage increase

Summary: Adoption of Question 4 would raise the minimum wage in Maine to $9 per hour in 2017 and by $1 per hour each year after, until it is $12 per hour in 2020. The minimum wage then increases at the same rate as the cost of living. In addition, Question 4 increases the minimum wage for workers who receive tips to $5 per hour in 2017 and then by $1 per hour each year until it is equal to the general minimum wage, with a deadline of 2024.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Maine Question 4.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for a reduction of poverty and for a livable wage. Women make up two-thirds of minimum-wage workers nationwide, and raising the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring their economic security and that of their families. Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to help shrink the persistent gender pay gap.


Missouri

Constitutional Amendment 3: Missouri 60-cent cigarette tax

Summary: Amendment 3 would increase the cigarette tax in Missouri in 15-cent annual increments to $0.77 by 2020. In addition to the cigarette tax, the measure would also impose a fee on wholesalers of $0.67 per pack on cigarettes produced by a “nonparticipating manufacturer,” as defined by the state of Missouri. At least 75 percent of the revenue generated from these taxes would be devoted to increasing access to early childhood education programs. Around 10 percent of the funds would go toward grants for Missouri health care facilities. And approximately 5 percent would be devoted to smoking-prevention programs.

No checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Missouri recommend voting NO on
Missouri Amendment 3.

While claiming to address children’s education and health, Amendment 3 includes several problematic provisions. Among them is an exemption from Missouri’s prohibition of public aid for religious purposes and institutions, thereby weakening public education and potentially opening the door to school vouchers. AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program voices opposition to the use of public funds for “nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools.” Money raised from the tax implemented by Amendment 3 could be used to fund private and religious schools, institutions that are not bound by Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, and other civil rights and accountability standards.

Constitutional Amendment 6: Missouri voter-ID requirement

Summary: Adoption of Amendment 6 would amend the Missouri Constitution to require voters to produce a state-issued photo ID in order to vote.

No checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Maine recommend voting NO on
Missouri Amendment 6.

Voter-ID laws are written and passed on the premise that voter fraud is a widespread problem, but research shows it isn’t. These laws don’t demonstrably protect against fraud and certainly don’t provide the legal basis for significant prosecution of fraudulent voters. They do, however, have the potential to disenfranchise many voters. This type of suppression tactic would disproportionally affect eligible voters who are less likely to possess a current driver’s license, like students, women, the elderly, low-income individuals, and people of color. AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights, and opposes any efforts to reduce access to the ballot box.


Washington

Washington Initiative 1433: Washington minimum wage increase and employer requirement to provide earned sick leave

Summary: Initiative 1433 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 by January 1, 2020. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be tacked to increases in the cost of living. Washington’s minimum wage is currently $9.47 per hour. The measure would also require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave beginning in 2018. Employees would be able to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, which they could use in certain circumstances, including to care for family members.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Initiative 1433.

AAUW is committed to promoting the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. Offering workers the option of taking time off when they or a family member are sick is not just good for women and families; it’s good for business. Without sick days, employees often come to work ill, which can decrease productivity and infect co-workers. AAUW’s member-adopted 2015–17 Public Policy Program also calls for a “living wage” and “reduction of poverty.” AAUW believes raising the minimum wage is an important step toward closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic security of working women and their families.

Paid for by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I am Kim Churches, Chief Executive Officer of AAUW and I approve this message.