Insights

The 2020 General Election Results for Propositions and Ballots Measures Related to Elections, Campaign Finance, and Ethics

Monday, November 9, 2020

In addition to electing public officials at various levels of government, the 2020 general election provided voters across the nation the opportunity to vote on a variety of propositions and ballots measures related to elections, campaign finance, and ethics questions. While votes will continue to be tabulated and certified over the next couple of weeks, the outcome of several proposals appears to be clear.

REDISTRICTING

Missouri voters reversed course on a 2018 redistricting plan that relied on a nonpartisan demographer, reinstating a bipartisan commission (appointed by the governor) for drawing legislative lines.

New Jersey voters have decided to delay redistricting until after the November 2021 state elections if the state receives U.S. Census data after February 2021.

Voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia overwhelmingly approved of a plan to move redistricting responsibilities from the legislature to a redistricting commission comprised of eight citizens and eight members of the General Assembly.

VOTING ACCESS

California voters expanded voting rights for persons on parole but rejected a proposal that would have permitted 17-year-olds to cast ballots in state primary elections.

OPEN PRIMARIES, RANKED CHOICE VOTING, AND RUNOFF ELECTIONS

In Alaska, voters rejected a proposal that would have created open primary elections and implemented ranked choice voting. Massachusetts voters also declined to join the list of ranked choice states. 

Florida, along with a few other states, strengthened language in their constitution regarding the citizenship requirement to vote in elections. A proposal to move the state to an open primary for state offices and a runoff for top two finishers did not have enough support to pass.

Mississippi voters changed their practice for electing statewide candidates. Under the previous law, if no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the Mississippi House of Representatives picked the winner from among the top-two finishers. Voters adopted a proposal to have the top two finishers move on to a runoff election in the event a candidate does not receive a majority of the popular vote.

TERM LIMITS

Arkansas voters instituted term limits for state legislators, allowing a legislator to serve for 12 consecutive years. After four years out of office, however, they can serve an additional 12 years in office.

Missouri also had term limits on the ballot for several statewide offices. In a close vote, voters did not approve the proposal.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Colorado voters approved allocating their state’s electoral college votes according to the national popular vote, an idea that has been entertained by several states and continues to emerge in headlines.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND ETHICS

In Missouri, the voter-approved Amendment 3 bans lobbyists from providing gifts to state lawmakers and lowers several campaign-finance limits.

Oregon voters opened the door for various levels of government in the state to limit campaign contributions and expenditures, require additional disclosure, and require political ads to identify who paid for the message.

MISCELLANEOUS

Iowans voted down the opportunity to revisit their state constitution via a convention.

Rejecting Measure 2, voters in North Dakota opposed a proposal to give lawmakers the authority to reject voter-approved ballot measures and send it back to the public for a second vote. Voters in Florida opposed a similar proposal, which would have required voters to approve constitutional amendments in two general elections.

A majority of voters in Puerto Rico approved a referendum to become a recognized state.

###

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this document is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter. The material may not reflect the most current legal developments and the content and interpretation of the law addressed herein is subject to revision. The transmission and receipt of this document, in whole or in part, does not constitute or create a lawyer-client relationship between The Gober Group and any recipient. Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel. We disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this document to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have questions about any of the information contained in the document, you should contact us so that we can review the facts associated with your particular situation.