Ballot Measures: What Does That Mean?

By Debbie Wuthnow

There’s a major choice many voters face in this upcoming election, but it has nothing to do with the candidates on the ballot.

What am I referring to? Ballot measures—specifically state constitutional amendments. However, I’m sure you’ve experienced a certain frustration. Ballot measures, also called “propositions,” can be confusing, written in such a way that even when read carefully, it is difficult to discern their meaning and how they will practically affect you.

Here’s one example: in August, a pro-life constitutional amendment in Kansas was defeated by a shocking 60 – 40 margin. This defeat at the ballot box puts existing and future pro-life laws in Kansas in danger of being overturned by courts, meaning more unborn babies are in danger.

Why such a landslide defeat in Kansas, a state that has supported many pro-life laws in the past? It is likely that two problems contributed to the constitutional amendment’s rejection:

  1. Confusing and misleading narratives regarding the meaning and consequences of the amendment
  2. Underfunding of organizations supporting and promoting it to voters

These problems might have been overcome if more voters were adequately informed. And Kansas is just the beginning: five more states have a constitutional amendment related to abortion on the ballot this November. The stakes are high!

California, Michigan, and Vermont all contain ballot propositions that would enshrine a right to abortion in their state constitutions. On the other hand, Montana has a ballot measure that enshrines protections for infants born alive after an abortion attempt. And voters in Kentucky will decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment that would protect existing pro-life laws from being ruled unconstitutional by activist judges.

It is crucial to alert these voters that their ballot can hold the power to determine the direction of their state on the issue of life for decades to come.

iVoterGuide is Offering a Solution

What if voters could use iVoterGuide to understand key measures on their ballot, much like they already use our guide to understand candidates on their ballot?

Already pressed for time, our marvelous researchers compiled key information on abortion-related constitutional amendments, while our tech team created a brand-new addition to the voter guides in these states so anyone can view the research, forward it to their friends, and head to the polls—motivated and informed.

Through the support of our users, we were able to create this new feature at the last minute! It is the first time iVoterGuide is including ballot propositions in our coverage and lays the foundation for coverage of more ballot measures in the future, as many have requested!

Voters will be able to use our research to understand the implications of their ballot measure (What it Means), compare Arguments FOR and AGAINST the measure, see who is funding each position in the Financial Source Documents section, and compare Endorsements from individuals and entities who are advocating either a YES or NO vote.

The value of accessing all this information in one place with an easy side-by-side comparison is tremendous. Anyone can equip themselves and forward our research to their friends. An informed voter is a motivated voter.

We didn’t stop with pro-life amendments. We are also covering ballot measures affecting election integrity in several states. And we would like to cover more in 2023 and 2024.

Predictably, millions of dollars from pro-abortion organizations are being spent to influence voters and drive turnout—vastly more than pro-life organizations. For instance, the group opposing Kentucky’s pro-life proposition has raised over 3 million dollars, while the pro-life group supporting the proposition has only raised over $600,000. iVoterGuide is badly needed.

Candidates come and go but constitutional amendments, if implemented, remain for decades. With a simple presentation of the facts, we may prevent bad ballot measures from being approved by voters who haven’t been informed of the dangers, or don’t understand what the wording truly means.

But we can also help the success of good amendments which save lives and put entire states on the path to becoming havens for life in America!

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