State Ballot Questions Dominate 2013 Election Day

Image: State Ballot Questions Dominate 2013 Election Day Bill Sisk smashes a slot machine with a sledge hammer during an anti-casino event outside the New York state Capitol in Albany.

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 01:40 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Referendums will be featured prominently on the Nov. 5 election ballots this year as states try to settle a number of highly publicized issues by popular vote.

A total of 31 measures across six states will face the public test on Election Day, as voters deliver decisions on a range of public policy matters, from food labeling to marijuana taxes and casino gambling, The Washington Times reports.

In Washington state, for example, voters will be asked to weigh in on Initiative 522, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods. The issue has mobilized industry groups against the measure, enabling opponents to out-raise supporters by a ratio of more than 3-to-1, the Times reports. A similar measure was defeated in California last year.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Proposition AA would establish sales and excise taxes for recreational marijuana for adults after the drug was legalized in the state last year.

Supporters of the legalization effort are backing the initiative, saying taxes are an important ingredient to successful regulation, according to the Times. Opponents are concerned the proposed 15 percent excise tax, in addition to a sales tax, is too high and will undermine legal marijuana use.

In New York, Proposal 1 would allow for the building of seven new full-service casinos, four of which would be located in upstate New York to help the struggling local economy. The initiative is backed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who got the backing of legislators in June to put the issue on the ballot.

Opponents are concerned the casinos will contribute to crime and addiction, and according to the Times, they illustrated their position at a news conference Wednesday by taking a sledgehammer to a slot machine in front of the state Capitol in Albany.

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