October 30, 2008

Energy, Animals, Gambling on Ballots

Proposals on state ballots will ask U.S. voters to consider chickens' living conditions, funding education through gambling and alternative energy use.

A term-limit question -- repealing, not enacting -- is on South Dakota ballot, while three states ask their voters to consider alternative energy sources, USA Today reported Thursday.

Besides seeking humane conditions for egg-laying chickens, California also is asking voters to repeal a court ruling legalizing gay marriages.

"This is a fairly new issue to the ballot," says Jennie Drage Bowser, who tracks ballot measures for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. "It's a direct response to the demand for energy independence and the rising cost of energy."

Voters in 36 states will consider 153 ballot measures, the newspaper said. Most are referenda placed on the ballot by state legislatures but 59 are grass-roots efforts that needed tens of thousands of signatures to be considered.

Missouri, California and Colorado have alternative energy on their ballots. Voters in California, Colorado and South Dakota will consider abortion-related questions. Marijuana questions are on the ballot in California, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Eight states are rolling the dice on gambling questions: Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon Ohio, Massachusetts and Maine.