Marriage and gambling are the two most popular measures on state ballots Nov. 2.
In all voters will decide 162 state ballot measures in 34 states, according to the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California, 40 fewer than in the 2002 general election.
Thirteen states are asking voters to decide whether marriage should be defined as being between a man and woman. They are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. Missouri and Louisiana voters approved similar amendments earlier this year in primaries.
Gambling is the second-most popular topic, with six states voting on 13 measures. Oklahoma will vote on establishing a state lottery. California, Oklahoma and Washington will consider Indian gambling. Florida will vote on allowing slot machines in two counties and Nebraska voters will decide whether to allow casinos. Michigan will consider requiring public approval of any new gambling. Missouri rejected an expansion of riverboat gambling in August.
Other ballot initiatives, by state, include:
–Alabama will vote to repeal obsolete portions of the state Constitution related to separation of schools by race, against the right to education and the poll tax.
–Alaskans will vote on legalizing growing, selling or using marijuana for individuals over age 21.
–Arizona will consider a measure opposed by civil rights groups making it harder for immigrants to vote or receive public assistance.
–California’s Prop. 71 would establish a constitutional right to conduct research using stem cells and authorize a $3 billion bond issue for stem cell research.
–Colorado is considering increasing cigarette taxes and changing the state’s Electoral College votes from winner-take-all to sharing them proportionally to a candidate’s popular vote. All other states but Maine and Nebraska use a winner-take-all system.
–Florida will consider a constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to pass a law requiring parental notification when a teenager seeks an abortion.
–Montana would permit medical use of marijuana and increase tobacco taxes to provide health services.
–Oregon will consider expanding the state’s medical-marijuana law and restrict logging in state forests.
–South Carolina will vote on amending the Constitution to authorize the General Assembly to establish the size of containers for alcoholic beverages.
–Washington will vote on a referendum to repeal a measure passed last year authorizing the state to create charter schools.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.