Tags: Polls | constitution | maine | new york | ohio

$31m Spent on 2017 Ballot Measures

Image: $31m Spent on 2017 Ballot Measures
Photo showing a slot machine row at the  Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine. In 2011 a PAC opposed two statewide referendums seeking approval for a casino. The Friends of the Oxford Casino urged Mainers to oppose. Voters last year approved a referendum calling for a casino with slot machines and table games in the town of Oxford, which is under construction nearby. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Monday, 14 Aug 2017 08:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Just over $31 million in monetary and in-kind contributions has already been spent on the 23 ballot measures certified for the 2017 ballot. Of that total, 96 percent was spent on four measures in three states: Ohio, Maine, and New York.

Those four measures are:

1. Ohio Issue 2, which would require state agencies and programs to buy prescription medications at or below the price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

2. A Maine initiative that would permit casinos or slot machines in York County

3. Ohio Issue 1, which would expand constitutional protections for crime victims

4. A New York proposal that would support holding a constitutional convention to consider changes to the state constitution

The first three items were placed on the ballot through petition drives. Just over $7 million was spent gathering petition signatures to get them on the ballot. The fourth, asking about a state constitutional convention, is required to appear on the ballot every 20 years by the existing New York Constitution.

Ohio’s Issue 2 is the only initiative so far to attract significant opposition funding. Supporters have raised $6 million, a third of which paid for the petition drive. Opponents have raised $16 million.

The spending on ballot measures in 2017 will soon surpass the 2015 total. In that last off-year election cycle, 28 measures were certified for the ballot, with $32 million raised. However, in the general election year of 2016, spending was much higher—topping $1 billion for 162 statewide ballot measures.

A billion dollars spent campaigning for or against ballot measures sounds like a lot of money. However, In 2016, $4 billion was spent on congressional campaigns, and a total of $2.4 billion was spent on presidential campaigns. But those totals are modest when compared to what corporations spend promoting consumer products. In fact, 20 individual corporate brands each spent more on advertising than all the presidential candidates combined.

For a different sense of scale, consider that $25 billion is spent storing paper products, that $30 billion is spent on tax preparation software, and that volunteers contribute $184 billion of work annually.

Ballotpedia provides a complete list of 2017 ballot measures and related campaign spending here.

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.

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Just over $31 million in monetary and in-kind contributions has already been spent on the 23 ballot measures certified for the 2017 ballot.
constitution, maine, new york, ohio
Monday, 14 Aug 2017 08:18 AM
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