2020 Election HQ

2020 Election: State Ballot Measures

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It's not just people on the ballot. 

On November 3rd, we’re not just voting for the people who will represent us in State & Local government offices, Congress, and the White House. There are numerous initiatives that voters will see on the ballot, and we've broken down some of the most controversial - or most discussed - state ballot initiatives in 2020. 

Issue Areas:

  1. Election Policies
  2. Cannabis
  3. Criminal Justice Reform


Elections Policy

election policy ballot measures in 2020

Nineteen states have ballot measures, amendments and propositions on their 2020 ballots that are related to changing election processes and voting in their jurisdictions.

Alabama - Amendment 1 - Changes the citizenship requirement for voting in the Alabama Constitution to say that only a U.S. citizen 18 years or older can vote.

Alaska - Ballot Measure 2 - Establishes voters’ ability to rank candidates for general elections, including the presidential election.


  • Issue 2 - Imposes a state legislator term limit of 12 consecutive years, with the opportunity to return to office after a 4-year break.
  • Issue 3 - Changes requirements for citizen initiatives and legislative referrals.


  • Proposition 17 - Allows people on parole for felony convictions to vote in the state.
  • Proposition 18 - Allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 years old for the next general election to vote in primary and special elections.


  • Amendment 76 - Changes the citizenship requirement for voting in the Colorado Constitution to say that only U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older can vote. 
  • Proposition 113 - Has Colorado join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, giving the state’s nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote if states representing at least 270 Electoral College votes adopt the compact.


  • Amendment 1 - Changes the citizenship requirement for voting in the Florida Constitution to say that only a U.S. citizen 18 years or older can vote. 
  • Amendment 3 - Changes Florida's primary elections for state legislators, governor and cabinet positions so that the top two candidates in the primary election, regardless of party, would proceed to the general election. 
  • Amendment 4 - Requires voters to approve amendments to the Florida constitution with 60 percent of the vote in two separate general elections. 

Idaho - Amendment HJR 4 - Requires the state to have 35 state legislative districts. Currently, the state Legislature can vote to have the number be between 30 and 35

Kentucky - Constitutional Amendment 2 - Increases office terms of commonwealth’s attorneys and district judges, and changes attorney licensing requirements for district judges.

Massachusetts - Question 2 - Establishes voters’ ability to rank candidates for primary and general elections for state executive officials, state legislators, federal congressional and Senate seats and certain county offices.

Mississippi - Ballot Measure 2 - Removes the requirement that a gubernatorial or state office candidate must receive the most votes in a majority of the Mississippi’s 122 House districts.


  • Amendment 1 - Limits the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, attorney general, governor and state treasurer to two terms of office in a lifetime.
  • Amendment 3 - Would address the redistricting process and criteria, lobbying, and campaign finance.


  • Initiative Amendment C46 - Amends constitutional language to match existing signature distribution requirements for initiated constitutional amendments.
  • Initiative Amendment C47 - Amends constitutional language to match existing signature distribution requirements for initiated state statutes and veto referendums.

Nevada - Question 4 - Provides qualified persons who are registered to vote with a constitutional right to receive and cast a ballot that allows clear identification of candidates and accurate record of voter’s candidate preference.

New Jersey - Question 3 - Postpones the state legislative redistricting process until after the Nov. 2, 2021 election if New Jersey receives federal census data after Feb. 15, 2021.

New Mexico - Constitutional Amendment 2 - Allows the state Legislature to pass laws that adjust elections dates of state or county officeholders, and adjusts office term limits according to the election date changes.

North Dakota - Measure 2 - Requires initiated constitutional amendments passed by voters to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for approval.

Oregon - Measure 107 - Allows state Legislature and local governments to enact laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures, requires disclosure of contributions and expenditures, and requires political advertisements to identify people or entities who paid for the ads.

Utah - Amendment B - Specifies that certain qualifications of a legislator, such as age, apply at the time of election or appointment, not when the legislator assumes office.

Virginia - Question 1 - Transfers power to draw state’s congressional and legislative districts from state legislature to a redistricting commission made up of Virginia General Assembly and citizens.



cannabis policy ballot measures in 2020

Roughly 1 in 3 Americans could have access to legal recreational marijuana if voters approve state ballot initiatives this November. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota measures are seeking to legalize recreational sales. South Dakota will be the first state to put medical and recreational measures on the ballot in the same election. Mississippi voters will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana.

Arizona - Proposition 207 - Would legalize the recreational possession and use of marijuana.

Mississippi - Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A - This would legalize medical marijuana for qualified persons.


  • CI-118 - Would authorize the legislature or a citizen initiative to set a legal age for marijuana purchase, use, and possession.
  • I-190 - Would legalize marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 and tax the sale of non-medical marijuana at a rate of 20 percent.

New Jersey - Public Question 1 - Would legalize the possession and use of marijuana.

South Dakota

  • Initiated Measure 26 - Would provide for a medical marijuana program in South Dakota.
  • Constitutional Amendment A - If passed, would legalize recreational use of marijuana.


Criminal Justice

criminal justice policy ballot measures in 2020

Citizens in several states will be voting on criminal justice-related ballot measures in the general election. Some, such as Kentucky’s ballot measure to enact a victim’s bill of rights, would enshrine additional legal measures for victims of crimes. Others, including Nevada’s Question 3, would reform state carceral laws. Two ballot measures, in Nebraska and Utah, would outlaw slavery as a punishment for crime. 

Below are select ballot measures related to criminal justice, organized by state. 

California -

  • Proposition 20 - Increases the number of nonviolent crimes that would disqualify inmates from early parole consideration; would allow prosecutors to charge some repeat offenders with felonies instead of misdemeanors; increases penalties for violating supervised release; requires DNA collection for misdemeanors, including shoplifting and drug possession, for storage in a government database. 
  • Proposition 25 - Aims to approve a 2018 law that; (1) replaced the money bail system (for obtaining release from jail before trial) with a system based on a determination of public safety and flight risk; (2) limits the detention of a person in jail before trial for most misdemeanors.

Kentucky - Constitutional Amendment 1 - Would enact a victim's bill of rights in the Kentucky Constitution, including the rights to be heard in court during release, plea and sentencing hearings. A similar measure passed in 2018 but was overturned by the Kentucky Supreme Court the following year. The measure is known as “Marsy’s Law,” named for a woman murdered in 1983 and for whom other states have passed and named similar laws. 

Michigan - Proposal 2 - Would require police to obtain a search warrant to access a person's electronic data and communications. 

Nebraska - Amendment 1 - Removes the exemption to the ban on slavery for criminal punishment; would no longer allow slavery for punishment for a crime.

Oklahoma - Question 805 - Would prohibit using a person's criminal history when determining sentencing for a nonviolent crime. Would also allow those whose prior criminal history was used in sentencing to petition to have their sentence shortened. 

Utah - Amendment C - Removes the exemption to the ban on slavery for criminal punishment; would no longer allow for slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime.


This list of ballot measures is excerpted from a larger group of DataPoint infographics that cover ballot measures across a larger range of issues, including energy, environment, transportation, education, health care, tax and more. DataPoint is normally only available to POLITICO Pro Premium subscribers - to learn more about what's included in a Premium subscription, visit this webpage

2020 is an election year like no other. 

For everything you need to navigate these uncharted waters, visit POLITICO Pro's 2020 Election HQ >>

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