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Quiz: Ballot measures, or bogus strings of words?

There are 160 ballot questions certified for inclusion on ballots this year. That's slightly below the annual average, but only slightly!

My approach to the ballot measures last time was to throw a dart at them, but I kept accidentally impaling the people in the voting booths next to me, so I had to stop.

Still, after reading through the ballot measures, that seems like as good a strategy as any.

For instance, in Alaska, there's something called Bonding Proposition A, which sounds like a formal way of referring to the most special night of some Avatars' lives, or your emotionally distant grandfather's way of asking you to go on a fishing trip.

True, some measures sound really jazzy and exciting. But for every Prop 19 (legalizing marijuana in California and allowing the state to regulate its sale and distribution) or Prop 23 (something else in California that has to do with keeping Texas oilmen from destroying all that is good and beautiful, or, alternatively, preserving a million jobs, depending on which side you listen to), there is something like Arizona's Proposition 301, to transfer "the balance of money in the land conservation fund, which was established by voters in 1998 as part of the "Growing Smarter Act," to the state general fund." Uh, sure! Why are you asking me?

Establish Utah's first Independent Ethics Commission? Sounds nice.

Utah also wants property tax exemption for water facilities? Do I look like I'm made of property tax exemptions for water facilities?

In South Dakota, I'm presented with a conflict -- do I extend the smoking ban to apply statewide and vote no on legalizing medical marijuana, vote no on the ban and yes on the marijuana, or some permutation of the two? More importantly, do I repeal the automatic annual transfer of $12 million from the trust fund to the state general fund, or do I not? I'm glad you're asking me, because if there is one thing that I, the voter, am passionate about and know well, it is what should be done with the state general fund.

In general, these are difficult to figure out. Don't believe me? Here is a quiz:

Guess the Real Ballot Measure

Some of these are real ballot measures. Some of them are just things I made up. Can you tell the difference?

  1. Rhode Island Name Change Amendment, to change the official name of the state to "State of Rhode Island."
  2. Relocate the casino in Columbus, Ohio, to somewhere else in Ohio.
  3. Abolish the position of Nebraska State Treasurer
  4. Apply the term "Citizen of the State of Colorado" to every Colorado human being from the beginning of the biological development of that Colorado human being
  5. Prevent mental illness from disqualifying people from being able to vote in the state.
  6. Tennessee Enclosed Salmon Fishing Ban Amendment
  7. Release anyone currently held in Georgia Debtors Prison
  8. Michigan Felon Politician Ban Amendment
  9. North Carolina No Convicted Felons For Sheriff Amendment
  10. Massachusetts No Convicted Felons For Clerk of the Courts Amendment
  11. Question 751: English is the common and unifying language of Arizona

Answers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 (Real ballot measures)
6, 7, 10 (Fake ballot measures)
4*, 11**

*Trick question! This is an actual measure, but they want to apply the term "person" instead.
**Trick question! Oklahoma, not Arizona.

By Alexandra Petri  | November 2, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Petri, Quiz, That's awkward  | Tags:  ballot measures, quizzes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The last mulligans for Christine O'Donnell and Alvin Greene?
Next: Why didn't you vote? Top 30 Election 2010 excuses


I am appalled at the appalling number of comments that begin with I am appalled. But what is even more appalling is that it took Arizona voters over 12 years to finally admit that the 1998 "Growing Smarter" act has had the opposite effect.

Do you think that if Arizona Senator John McCain had grown any smarter since 1998 that he really would have picked Sarah Palin as his running mate?

And anyone who watched Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's debate performance knows she hasn't grown any smarter.

Finally, with the passage of Arizona's new anti-immigrant law, it's time for Arizona voters to admit that they're actually growing dumber, and vote YES on Proposition 301.

Posted by: divtune | November 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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