Ballot Questions in Maine, part 2

Another set of results from my upcoming talk.  The graph is a box plot of the distribution of outcomes in Maine ballot questions, by type.  I also show below the 5 closest votes in ~600 Maine ballot questions since 1909.  A few thoughts:

  • In the graph below, bond questions and constitutional amendments pass with a median “yes” vote of about 60 percent.  Mainers are quite disposed to these, if they get on the ballot.  Indeed, 2/3 of the legislature must pass a bond or amendment before either get placed on the ballot.   Citizen initiatives, in contrast, have a median outcome below 50 percent.  Most don’t pass.  They are also, I might suggest, “easier” to get on the ballot since all you need are signatures from Maine voters that total a percentage of the ballots cast in the preceding gubernatorial election.
  • In the table below the graph, the 1985 constitutional amendment that failed would have allowed sitting state representatives or senators to resign their position and be appointed to civil positions in the government, like secretary of state or attorney general.  The measure failed narrowly, and a constitutional provision remained in effect that those elected officials must wait until their elected term is up before taking an appointed position in Maine government.  I wonder why this was so close?
  • The 2016 vote to legalize marijuana was close close close, arguably the closest in Maine history given the margin and the number of ballots cast.



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