Tags: Polls | US State Facts | ballot | initiatives

16 States Write Ballot Titles Misunderstood by Many

Image: 16 States Write Ballot Titles Misunderstood by Many
(Adogslifephoto/Dreamstime)

By
Monday, 10 Jul 2017 10:56 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Twenty-four states allow voters to put initiatives on the ballot to implement new laws. Every state but Delaware has some provision for allowing voters to determine the fate of constitutional amendments recommended by their state legislature.

However, the wording of the ballot questions may cause problems. Research from political scientists Shauna Reilly and Sean Richey suggests that voters are more likely to skip voting on ballot measures when the titles and summaries are harder to read. In some cases, a misleading title can cause voters to cast a ballot in direct contrast to their values on the issue.

Unfortunately, most states write ballot measures using language that only a person with a graduate degree can understand. This includes 16 states whose measures' language is appropriate for those with a Ph.D. and 12 more whose average ballot measure is written for someone with a master’s degree.

Of all the ballot measures filed so far in 2017, none are written for those with only a high school education. Ten of the 12 are written for those with graduate degrees.

Only about one out of 10 American adults has a graduate degree. Just 33 percent have a college degree.

Four states — Oklahoma, Connecticut, North Carolina, and South Dakota — had average readability scores equivalent to a high school grade level (9 through 12) in the United States. Oklahoma measures had the lowest average readability score at grade level 9.

Average reading comprehension level of ballot measures by state

High School Graduate (4)

Associate Degree (12)

Bachelor's Degree (4)

Master's Degree (12)

Ph.D. or higher (16)

Oklahoma

North Dakota

Washington

Vermont

New York

North Carolina

California

Utah

Tennessee

Nevada

Connecticut

Alaska

New Hampshire

Ohio

Missouri

South Dakota

Rhode Island

Montana

Louisiana

Wisconsin

Oregon

Indiana

Texas

Mississippi

Florida

Maryland

Michigan

Arizona

Virginia

Massachusetts

Wyoming

Kentucky

Iowa

Nebraska

Hawaii

Idaho

Maine

Georgia

Kansas

New Jersey

Alabama

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Minnesota

Colorado

New Mexico

Source: Research conducted by Shauna Reilly and Sean Richey, compiled by Ballotpedia.

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day is published by Ballotpedia. Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology.

Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
ScottRasmussen
Wording of ballot questions may cause problems. Research from political scientists suggests that voters are more likely to skip voting on ballot measures when the titles and summaries are harder to read
ballot, initiatives
419
2017-56-10
Monday, 10 Jul 2017 10:56 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved