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Ballot measures in at least eight states will set ground rules for future elections

<i>Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer/AP</i><br/>Voters cast their vote in the Blue Ash
Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer/AP
Voters cast their vote in the Blue Ash

By Fredreka Schouten, CNN

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A ballot measure in Arizona would add new identification requirements to vote. Nevadans, meanwhile, will weigh in on whether to adopt ranked-choice voting. And voters in Ohio will decide whether to block local governments from allowing non-US citizens to cast ballots.

These are among at least eight measures on the ballot this year that will decide how elections will be run in the future. Some, such as the new voter ID rules in Arizona, have sparked intense debate — with opponents arguing it could disenfranchise thousands of voters in a key presidential battleground.

The Arizona measure, Proposition 309, springs from Republican legislators’ concerns about the security of the 2020 election — which President Joe Biden won by fewer than 11,000 votes out of some 3.4 million cast in the state. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Grand Canyon State — or in any other state, for that matter.

If approved, the proposition would mandate that in-person voters present an unexpired photo ID that includes the voters’ name and address. (That means that people who might use a US passport as their identification when voting, for example, also would have provide proof of their address, such as a utility bill, according to the underlying legislation.)

Those voting by mail — a popular and long-standing practice in Arizona — would have to submit affidavits that include one of four numbers: their driver’s license number, a state identification number, their voter ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number — in addition to their date of birth and their signatures.

The Arizona Association of County Recorders — which represents the local officials charged with overseeing elections in the state’s 15 counties — is encouraging Arizonans to vote “no.”

The recorders say the proposal could disenfranchise thousands of voters who might not fill out the affidavit properly and would make returned ballots a target for identity thieves who could grab voters’ personal information. And they say it’s unnecessary because voters already prove their identity when they register to vote in the first place and then with their signature when they return the ballot.

The group notes that when similar ID requirements were added to absentee ballots in Texas, they sparked high rejection rates. (See one of our previous CNN stories about the Texas debacle here.)

Republican lawmakers in Arizona who backed the measure called it a “common sense” change and described it as closing “a weak link” in the state’s election system, according to the Arizona Mirror.

Here’s a look at other measures on the ballot this year:

Alabama: Amendment 4 would prohibit changes to election laws within six months of a general election.

Connecticut: Voters will decide on a constitutional amendment to allow no-excuse early voting. Connecticut currently is one of just a handful of states without some form of early, in-person voting before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Louisiana: A “yes” vote on Amendment 1 would change the state constitution to ensure that only citizens of the United States can register and vote in the state. Although federal law prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections, several municipalities scattered around the country allow people who aren’t US citizens to vote on local issues.

The Louisiana vote will happen December 10, the same day the state holds its runoff election.

Michigan: Proposal 2 aims to ease rules for voting in this perennial battleground state in a variety of ways. Among other things, it would establish nine days of in-person early voting, require state funding for ballot drop boxes and provide prepaid postage to return absentee ballots. It also would make clear that voters who don’t have voter ID can sign an affidavit that attests to their identities.

Nebraska: Initiative 432 would require voters in the state to present a valid photo ID to cast ballots. The state lawmakers would be responsible for writing legislation to implement the change.

Nevada: Question 3 would bring ranked-choice voting to this political battleground if majority of Nevadans vote “yes” this November and again in 2024. It would establish an open primary in which the top five candidates who received the most votes would move on to the general election. Then, in the general election, voters would rank their preferences among the remaining candidates. If a candidate is the highest ranked on a majority of ballots in the general election, that candidate is declared the winner and the tabulation is over. If no candidate emerges as the outright winner, more rounds of tabulation would proceed.

If voters approve the measure in two elections, state lawmakers would have to pass legislation implementing the change and it would go into effect for the 2026 elections.

New York City, Maine and Alaska already use some form of ranked-choice voting. My CNN colleague Eric Bradner did a masterful job earlier this year explaining how it works in Alaska. The Alaska law closely resembles the system Nevada voters must weigh.

Many political figures from both parties in Nevada strongly oppose the initiative, including the state’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who says it would make elections confusing and prone to errors.

Ohio: Issue 2 would, among other things, prohibit local governments from allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections.

A bit of background: In 2019, Yellow Springs, Ohio, voters approved a referendum to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, told the county that includes Yellow Springs not to accept any voter registration forms from noncitizens. A Yellow Springs official earlier this year told The Dayton Daily News that no noncitizens had attempted to vote.)

You need to read

  • This look by CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere of the in-demand Democratic surrogate of the midterms: Pete Buttigieg.
  • Reporting by CNN’s Steve Contorno on the new ground rules for voting in regions of Florida slammed by Hurricane Ian. But, as The Washington Post reports, some groups are crying foul, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis should make allowances for other voters across the state affected the storm.
  • This story — studded with videoclips obtained exclusively by CNN — which shows in vivid detail what happened behind the scenes on January 6, 2021, as lawmakers fled the US Capitol and scrambled to quell the insurrection.
  • New reporting from CNN’s Maeve Reston about the potential for an upset in the Oregon governor’s race.

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