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Major Ballot Initiatives Across US on Election Day

  • VOA News

Condemned inmate Donald DeBose does pushups in a caged recreation yard space of the adjustment center on death row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016. A pair of November ballot measures will decide the future of the death penalty in California.

Condemned inmate Donald DeBose does pushups in a caged recreation yard space of the adjustment center on death row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016. A pair of November ballot measures will decide the future of the death penalty in California.

There will be 154 measures on 35 state ballots on Tuesday, Election Day. California leads the list, with 17 measures on its ballot.

The most popular topic for ballot initiatives is marijuana. Nine states will be voting on some aspect of the drug's use.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will be voting on proposals to legalize possession and recreational use of small quantities of marijuana by residents 21 or older. All marijuana sales would be taxed, producing income for the states.

Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will be voting on proposals to legalize the use of marijuana as a medical treatment with a doctor's prescription.

Here's a look at other ballot issues:

Guns
Ownership requirements:
Measures would require background checks before the sale or transfer of firearms.
On the ballot in: California, Maine and Nevada. Another California measure seeks to prevent people who have stolen guns in the past from possessing guns again.

Ammunition regulation: Another measure would require a background check to buy ammunition and also to ban large-capacity ammunition magazines.
On the ballot in: California.

Protection order: A measure would allow people to get a court order that would temporarily ban firearms sales to people who show signs of mental illness or violence or another behavior that might indicate that they could harm themselves or others.
On the ballot in: Washington state.

Minimum wage
Increase: Though their goals differ, four states are voting to increase the minimum wage a little at a time. Right now, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Three states would increase the wage to $12 an hour, while Washington state is proposing an increase to $13.50 an hour.
On the ballot in: Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state.

Decrease: One state is trending in the opposite direction, voting to lower the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50 to $7.50.
On the ballot in: South Dakota.

Death penalty
Repeal/Revise:
One measure is seeking to get rid of the death penalty and replace it with life in prison. If approved, it would apply retroactively to prisoners already sentenced to death. A second measure would revise the death penalty rules, making changes designed to speed up the appeals and petitions processes.
On the ballot in: California.

Reinstate: A state where the death penalty was banned last year is seeking to reinstate the lethal punishment.
On the ballot in: Nebraska.

Method of execution: One measure would change language in a state's constitution so that if a court decides that the execution technique itself is "cruel or unusual punishment," the death sentence would stay in place and a new method of death would be found.
On the ballot in: Oklahoma.

Education
Bilingual education:
A 1998 law in place bans school instruction in languages other than English. If a measure on the ballot this year is approved, the existing law would be repealed and open the way for bilingual education.
On the ballot in: California.

Failing schools: One measure would allow a state to take over failing schools.
On the ballot in: Georgia.

Other measures
Safe sex:
California will vote on a measure that would require people in adult films to use condoms during sex scenes. It would also require film producers to pay for the sexually transmitted infection vaccines, testing and medical exams of the actors.

Doctor-assisted death: Colorado will vote on whether to allow adults diagnosed with terminal illnesses and facing imminent death to end their life with prescription medication. Three health professionals would be required to confirm the prognosis of death and also confirm that the patient is making a voluntary and informed decision.

Statehood: The District of Columbia will vote on whether to petition Congress to create a new state out of the nation's capital. It would split the district into a residential state with a small federal district in the middle of it for government buildings and monuments.

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