Election Connection: 2021 Ballot Measures to Watch

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2021
Media Contact:
Caroline Sanchez Avakian / [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center’s (BISC) Executive Director, Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, issued the following statement regarding the current 2021 ballot measure election results:

Yesterday, I witnessed people demanding action in their communities from affordable housing to raising the minimum wage to police accountability. While we may have fallen short on a few initiatives, at BISC we know that making transformational change goes beyond a victory or loss on Election Day. In cities and states across the country, coalitions and infrastructure was built, grassroots organizing was strengthened, and stories were told.”

It is important to note that over 60,000 people in Minneapolis said yes and demanded a new vision and higher standard for public safety in their city. They are imagining a future beyond police to keep communities safe. This was a historic, first of its kind ballot measure led by working-class Black and brown people that helped strengthen a movement while also developing new leaders and building power. The result was not what we hoped for in Minneapolis, but I know this is only the beginning. This is how we build power.”

Leading up to the 2021 election, BISC experts have been tracking several local and statewide ballot measures across key issue areas including economic justice, reimagining community safety, restorative justice, democracy and election reform, and more.

Below are the 2021 ballot measure highlights and election results BISC is tracking:

Reimagining Community Safety

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota; Question 2:
    Election Result: 56% OPPOSE
    BISC’s position: Support

    This amendment would  strike and replace the city’s Police Department with a Department of Public Safety that would move Minneapolis toward a comprehensive, higher standard of public safety by including social workers, mental health experts, peace officers, and crisis managers into the city’s new approach to public safety. If voters approve this first-of-its-kind ballot measure, it could serve as a roadmap for other cities and states across the country to do the same.

  • Cleveland, Ohio; Issue 24:
    Election Result: 59% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Clevelanders will have the opportunity to pass Issue 24 — the Safer Cleveland ballot initiative. If passed, Issue 24 would set up a community policing commission made up of 13 civilians who would have final decision-making power on discipline in police misconduct cases. Issue 24 would also require the city’s Office of Professional Standards to report directly to the Community Police Commission, rather than to the Police Chief. Proponents of the initiative are aiming to create more accountability and justice in the Cleveland Police Department.

  • Austin, Texas; Proposition A:
    Election Result: 68% OPPOSE
    BISC’s position: Oppose


    Proposition A would establish minimum police staffing and require there to be at least two police officers for every 1,000 residents of Austin and provide for additional police training. Read more about the opposition to Prop A here.
  • Albany, New York; Proposal 7:
    Election Result: 70% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support

    Increases the authority of the existing Community Police Review Board to conduct investigations and have oversight regarding complaints against policy.

Economic Justice

  • Maine, Question 3:
    Election Result: 61% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    This ballot measure would declare that all individuals have a “natural, inherent and unalienable right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being , as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”

  • Colorado, Proposition 119:
    Election Result: 55% OPPOSE
    BISC’s position:
    Oppose

    Significantly increases the marijuana sales tax and diverts money from public schools to fund reimbursements to families for private out-of-school learning opportunities.

  • Colorado, Proposition 120:
    Election Result: 57% OPPOSE
    BISC’s position: Oppose


    Reduces property tax rates on only multi-family housing and lodging properties. This will reduce local government tax revenue by over $50 million annually.

  • Louisiana, Amendment 2:
    Election Result: 54% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Oppose


    The amendment is part of a complicated package of four bills that swaps out the federal income-tax deduction for an across-the-board cut in corporate and individual income tax rates, along with a cut in the corporate franchise tax. The top personal income tax rate would drop from 6% to 4.25%. It would reduce tax revenue by 27 million a year.

  • Tucson, Arizona; Proposition 206:
    Election Result: 65% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Incrementally increases the city’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2025, After 2025, the minimum wage would increase based on inflation.

Democracy and Election Reform

  • New York, Proposal 1:
    Election Result: 55.81% OPPOSE 
    BISC’s position: Support


    Proposal 1 asks voters to approve several constitutional changes to the redistricting process. Among other changes, Proposal 1 would: 

    • Cap the total number of state senators at 63
    • Require that incarcerated people be counted at the address where they lived before going to jail or prison for the purposes of redistricting — not where they are being detained
    • Move up the timeline by two weeks for when redistricting plans must be submitted to the legislature
    • Change the vote total needed to adopt redistricting plans when one political party controls both legislative houses

  • New York, Proposal 3:
    Election Result: 57.69% OPPOSE 
    BISC’s position: Support


    Proposal 3 would remove a current constitutional provision that you must register to vote at least 10 days before an election in New York. If voters approve Proposal 3, Legislators can write a new law allowing voters to register on Election Day.

  • New York, Proposal 4:
    Election Result: 56.48% OPPOSE 
    BISC’s position: Support


    Proposal 4 would remove a current constitutional provision that requires voters to have an excuse, or valid reason to vote with an absentee ballot. Proposal 4 could pave the way for Legislators to pass a no-excuse absentee voting law.

  • Broomfield, Colorado; Ballot Question 2A:
    Election Result: 52% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Establishes Ranked Choice Voting for Mayoral and City Council Elections

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan; Ann Arbor Charter Amendment:
    Election Result: 73% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Establishes Ranked Choice Voting for Mayoral and City Council Elections

  • Westbrook, Maine; Question 1:
    Election Result: 63% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Establishes Ranked Choice Voting for Mayoral, City Council, and School Board Elections

  • Detroit, Michigan; Proposal S:
    Election Result: 54% OPPOSE
    BISC’s position: Neutral


    Proposal S would change the city charter to allow for budget allocations through the ballot initiative process in Detroit

Restorative Justice

  • Detroit, Michigan; Proposal R:
    Election Result: 80% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Proposal R would create a city reparations committee tasked with making recommendations for housing and economic development programs for Black Detroit residents

Public Health/COVID-19 Impact

  • Texas, Proposition 3:
    Election Result:
    62% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Oppose


    Proposition 3 would prohibit the prohibition or restriction of religious services in state and local jurisdictions. The proposition is a reaction to public health measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19

Environmental Protection 

  • New York, Proposal 2:
    Election Result: 61% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Adds a new right to the New York state constitution: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

Decriminalization

  • Detroit, Michigan; Proposal E:
    Election Result: 61% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support


    Proposal E would decriminalize, to the greatest extent possible under state law, the possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants (such as mushrooms). It would also make use and possession of these drugs the lowest law enforcement priority.

Housing

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota; Question 3:
    Election Result: 53% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support

    Amend the city charter to give the city council permission to enact rent control (limits on rent increases), either by a vote or by putting a specific proposal to voters.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota; Question 1:
    Election Result: 53% SUPPORT
    BISC’s position: Support

    St. Paul’s ordinance would cap rent increases at 3% a year, with no allowances for inflation higher than 3% or for new development.

You can learn more about ballot measures on BISC’s newly expanded Ballot Measure Hub, and read more about our campaign to #DefendDirectDemocracy here.