Here’s What’s On The Ballot In Your State

Daily News Article - October 31, 2016


NOTE TO STUDENTS: Read the “Background” below before answering the questions.

1. Define ballot measure.

2. a) Name the two types of citizen ballot measures.
b) What is the difference between the two?

3. What is a legislative measure? Be specific.

4. In how many states can citizens petition to add initiatives and/or referendums to the ballot?

5. a) Give the total number of ballot measures which will be voted on across the country in the 2016 election.
b) How many states will have ballot measures on their ballots?

6. a) List at least 5 of the key ballot measure topics for this election (use a word or phrase to describe each topic).
b) Which issue will be on the ballot in the most states in this year’s election?
c) Which one of the ballot measures described in this article do you think would be the most beneficial to the state if passed? Explain your answer.

7. a) Does your state practice direct democracy through the citizen ballot measure process? (if not, choose a neighboring state to answer the following):
b) What initiatives or referendums are on your state’s ballot in the upcoming election?
c) How would you cast your vote on any of the measures? (Choose one) Explain your answer.
d) Are there any legislative measures on your state’s ballot this year? If so, how would you cast your vote? Explain your answer.


a) South Dakota passed a law reducing the minimum wage for teens from $8.50 to $7.50. Media outlets across the country hype the importance of increasing the minimum wage. How do you think a decrease in South Dakota’s minimum wage for teens would benefit them? (If you are not sure, ask a parent or grandparent.)

b) In recent years, four states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. (Twenty-five states and D.C. have legalized the medical use of marijuana).
In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it will keep marijuana illegal for any purpose. This means that the sale or use of marijuana for any reason remains illegal on the federal level.
But if more states legalize its use, it will make it harder to enforce that ban, experts say. For instance, if California, with its 40 million residents, passes Proposition 64, it could have national implications.
A recent poll showed 60% of Americans approve legalizing marijuana. Most news outlets publish stories favorable to its legalization.
List several reasons legalizing marijuana for recreational use would harm our society and our country.