Obamacare, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization dominated the hot-button ballot initiatives before voters in a number of states on Tuesday.
A key component of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law is on the line in a numbers of states, where voters will decide whether to allow residents and businesses to avoid a requirement that they purchase health insurance for themselves or their employees.
"These laws may promise more than they can deliver," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School.
"What the laws certainly do is to give state officials more of a basis to go to court and challenge the national health care law."
Voters nationwide are deciding the outcome of nearly 180 ballot measures in 38 states. That's up from 159 in 2010, but down from 204 in 2008.
Same-sex marriage measures were before voters in Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, and in Maine voters were being asked to consider legalizing same-sex marriage.
Maryland voters were voting on a ballot initiative in support of same-sex marriage led by a slim margin, while in Maine there was an effort to repeal a law banning same-sex marriage.
In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, voters were deciding on statewide measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while voters in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Montana were voting on medical marijuana referendums.
Voters in Florida, meanwhile, were deciding whether to approve a constitutional amendment that bans the use of public funds for abortions. The measure requires 60% of the vote to pass under state law.
Groups have formed using names like "Nix Six" or "Vote no on 6" or websites carrying names like www.sayyesto6.com, referring to the initiative's ballot name: Amendment 6.
The "Say Yes to 6" website and effort are funded by the group Protect Florida Taxpayers and Parental Rights, which is primarily funded by a large collection of Catholic archdioceses across Florida, including Miami, St. Petersburg, Palm Beach and St. Augustine. The archdioceses have given more than $175,000.
Planned Parenthood spent $3.2 million on ads to defeat the measure in Florida during the week heading into the election.
Requirements and the process by which initiatives make it to the ballot differ from state to state. In many instances, ballot initiatives were introduced in states like California in the form of propositions to circumvent the legislative process, giving citizens direct access to lawmaking.
Some key ballot initiatives, compiled by Adam Levy and Robert Yoon, CNN Political Research:
Amendment 6: Obamacare
Voters were deciding whether to approve a measure that would amend the state constitution to prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in any health care system.
Issue 5: Medical marijuana
Voters were deciding on a measure to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Prop. 30: Jerry Brown tax Increase
A measure sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown that would increase personal income tax for seven years for those making more than $250,000 a year. would also increase the sales tax by 0.25% for four years.
A "YES" vote supports the tax increase measure and would raise income taxes and the state sales tax.
A "NO" vote opposes the tax increase and would not raise income taxes or the state sales tax.
Prop. 34: Death penalty
This measure would abolish capital punishment in California and would make life imprisonment without the possibility of parole the maximum punishment for murder. If passed, the measure would apply retroactively to all death row inmates, whose sentences would be converted to life imprisonment.
A "YES" vote opposes the death penalty and would abolish the death penalty in the state.
A "NO" vote supports the death penalty and would not abolish the death penalty in the state.
Prop. 38: Other tax increase
This measure would raise income taxes for almost all income levels for 12 years. For the first four years, 60% of the revenue would be dedicated to K-12 education, 30% to debt reduction, and 15% to early childhood programs. After four years, 85% of revenues would go to K-12 education and 15% to early childhood programs. Gov. Jerry Brown opposes this measure.
A "YES" vote supports this measure and would increase income taxes across the board.
A "NO" vote opposes this measure and would not increase income taxes across the board.
Amendment 64: Marijuana legalization
This measure would amend the state constitution and legalize and regulate the production, possession and distribution of marijuana for people age 21 and older.
A "YES" vote supports legalization of marijuana.
A "NO" vote opposes legalization of marijuana.
Amendment 1: Obamacare
Under Florida state law, the measure requires 60% of the vote to pass.
Amendment 6: Abortion funding
This measure would prohibit the use of public funding for abortions, with the exception of rape, incest and cases where the mother's life is in danger.
Voters appeared to be split in early returns, with the number of votes against the measure narrowly leading those in favor of it.
Question 1: Same-sex marriage
This measure would repeal a previous law banning same-sex marriage and allow the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Question 6: Same-sex marriage
This measure asks voters to support or reject a new state law that allows same-sex couples to marry in the state of Maryland.
Question 3: Medical marijuana
Voters were deciding on a measure to legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes. A majority of votes is required for passage; at least 30% of all votes cast on Election Day must be in favor.
Amendment 1: Same-sex marriage
This measure would amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. A majority of all votes cast on Election Day is required for passage, not just a majority of votes cast for this measure.
A "YES" vote opposes same-sex marriage; defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
A "NO" vote supports same-sex marriage; would not define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Initiative 122: Obamacare
This measure prohibits federal and state government from requiring the purchase of health insurance or imposing any penalty, tax, fee or fine on those who do not purchase health insurance.
A "FOR" vote opposes Obamacare; prohibits requiring the purchase of health insurance.
An "AGAINST" vote supports Obamacare; does not prohibit requiring the purchase of health insurance.
Initiative 124: Medical marijuana
This measure asks voters to keep or reject a 2011 law that replaced a 2004 medical marijuana law with a far more restrictive version. In 2004, Montana voters approved a law creating a medical marijuana program in the state. A 2011 law repealed the 2004 law, and while it did not outlaw the use of medical marijuana, it placed numerous restrictions on medical marijuana providers and users.
A "FOR" vote is the anti-medical marijuana position. It replaces a 2004 medical marijuana law with a far more restrictive one passed in 2011.
An "AGAINST" vote is the pro-medical marijuana position. It repeals a 2011 law that repealed a 2004 medical marijuana law. Voting "AGAINST" will restore the 2004 medical marijuana law, which medical marijuana backers support.
Measure 80: Marijuana legalization
This measure would allow the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults through state-licensed stores, allows unlicensed cultivation and use of marijuana by adults, and prohibits restrictions on hemp.
A "YES" vote supports the legalization of marijuana.
A "NO" vote opposes the legalization of marijuana.
Measure 74: Same-sex marriage
This measure would repeal a new state law from the state legislature that legalized same-sex marriage.
Actual language: "The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Should this bill be: Approved/Rejected"?
An "APPROVED" vote supports same-sex marriage and would uphold the state law.
A "REJECTED" vote opposes same-sex marriage and would overturn the state law.
Initiative 502: Marijuana legalization
This measure would legalize and regulate the production, possession, and distribution of marijuana for persons age 21 and older.
A "YES" vote supports marijuana legalization.
A "NO" vote opposes marijuana legalization.
Amendment A: Obamacare
(Majority of all votes cast on Election Day required for passage, not just a majority of votes cast for this measure)
This measure amends the state constitution to declare that citizens of Wyoming have the right to make their own health care decisions and allows the state to act to "preserve these rights from undue government influence."
A "FOR" vote opposes Obamacare and amends the state constitution with new language.
An "AGAINST" vote supports Obamacare and does not amend the state constitution.
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