Voters around the country faced a wide array of statewide ballot questions dealing with elections yesterday. Among the more high-profile questions were the Illinois vote on creating a process to recall the governor, the Oklahoma proposal to require that voters show photo identification at the polls, and Vermont's plan to let certain 17 year-olds vote in primary elections. With the passage of these three measures, Illinois becomes the 19th state with a recall process for the governor; Oklahoma becomes the 27th voter ID state, and among the 27, the ninth to require that the ID shows a photo of the voter; and Vermont becomes the 12th state to allow a 17 year-old to vote in the primary if s/he will turn 18 before the general election.
Voters in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah approved guarantees that ballots are secret. The questions in AZ and SC pertain only to labor union elections, but those in SD and UT apply both to state and union elections.
In Michigan and North Carolina, voters agreed that felons should not be eligible to hold public office. Michigan's new constitutional provision prohibits anyone convicted of a felony related to a public office from running for office again for 20 years, while North Carolina's bans felons from serving as sheriff.
Redistricting: In California, voters were decisive about who they wanted in charge of redistricting. They approved Prop. 20, transferring responsibility for Congressional redistricting from the legislature to the independent commission approved by voters in 2008. They also rejected Prop. 27, which would have dissolved that commission. Florida voters were equally emphatic about reducing the legislature's role in redistricting: Amendments 5 and 6 outline standards the legislature must follow in conducting legislative and congressional redistricting. Both were approved with more than 62 percent of the vote. In Oklahoma, voters agreed to change the name and composition of their state's apportionment commission.
Initiative Process: In Arizona, a proposal to change the date by which initiative petitions must be filed with the state for signature verification is polling too close to call. It's at 49.9% with 99% of ballots counted. Prop. 112 would move the deadline from four to six months before the election, giving officials more time to validate signatures. In Oklahoma, voters have approved a change in the basis for calculating signature requirements for initiatives. It will have the effect of evening out signature requirements from year to year, removing the sharp rise in required signatures after a presidential election.
Campaign Finance: Because Florida requires a 60% vote to approve a constitutional amendment, voters have rejected Amendment 1, which has a "yes" vote of 52.5%. That proposal would have done away with the state's public campaign finance option available for statewide candidates. Florida is one of 25 states with public financing for state candidates.