In addition to choosing a president and members of Congress, voters in several states will weigh in on high-profile social issues on Nov. 6. Here are some of the key voter initiatives on ballots:
1: Same-Sex Marriage
States: Washington, Maryland, Maine
State lawmakers in Washington and Maryland passed legislation this year to allow same-sex marriage, but both laws are on hold until the public gets a chance to vote them up or down in November. In every state where same-sex marriage has been put to a popular vote before, it’s been defeated. But supporters think this year may be different. A similar question is on the ballot in Maine.
2: Abolish the Death Penalty
Opponents of the death penalty say it’s costing the state too much; through Proposition 34, they want to replace it with a maximum penalty of life without parole, and direct $100 million a year to other law enforcement priorities. Supporters of capital punishment say the real problem is the constant legal delays and appeals that make the death penalty so expensive to enforce.
3: Physician-Assisted Suicide
Supporters of physician-assisted suicide are advocating for Question No. 2, the so-called “Death With Dignity Act.” They say it would allow terminally ill patients — defined as those who’ve been told they have less than six months to live — to choose the time and manner of their death. Opponents fear the law would encourage suicide when other options are also available.
4: Undermine Obamacare
States: Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Montana
A host of ballot initiatives would attempt to undermine various provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare. Ballot questions in Florida and Montana target the so-called “individual mandate” — the part of the law that will require most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Opponents say it’s a moot point because the Supreme Court has already upheld most of the controversial health care law.
5: Legalize Marijuana
States: Colorado, Oregon, Washington
Activists in Colorado, Washington and Oregon have high hopes for ballot initiatives that would legalize and regulate marijuana. More than a dozen states have approved marijuana for medical uses. None has gone as far as legalizing and regulating the drug like alcohol, as these initiatives would do. But a recent poll shows a majority of likely voters in Colorado support legalizing marijuana if it is regulated like alcohol, which the state’s Amendment 64 provides for.