Drug decriminalization, a cigarette tax increase and limits on political campaign financing are on a historically short list of ballot measures that will go before voters in the Nov. 3 election.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for traditional signature-gathering techniques such as stations at shopping centers and fairs, or going door-to-door. With Thursday’s deadline to submit signatures, only one of the 72 ballot measures that have at some point submitted for review by the Secretary of State made it across the finish line.
The drug decriminalization initiative will join two referrals from the Legislature — a cigarette tax increase and campaign finance reform — on the ballot.
The fate of two other initiatives was uncertain at the deadline. Backers of the legalization of the therapeutic use of psilocybin said they had submitted the required signatures by the deadline, but are awaiting final approval from the Secretary of State’s office, which they said should be announced in coming weeks.
A group trying to change political district reapportionment decisions from the Legislature to an independent panel has taken legal action against Secretary of State Bev Clarno to be allowed more time to gather signatures because of the pandemic.
Even if all five measures make it onto the ballot, it will be the lowest number this century. Proposed measures dealing with sexual assault, guns, forests, water quality, air pollution, taxes, transportation, animal rights, and toll roads were either withdrawn, never got off the ground or didn’t gather enough signatures to even try to submit petitions to the state.