Signature deadline for Missouri ballot initiatives is May 8

The deadline to file signatures for citizen-initiated measures in Missouri is May 8 at 5 p.m. Campaigns could file signatures for at least two ballot initiatives – one to legalize marijuana and one to adopt top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Both of the proposals are initiated constitutional amendments. The number of signatures required for initiated constitutional amendments is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest possible number of valid signatures required is 171,592; however, the actual requirement depends on which districts enough signatures were collected from.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. The proposal would establish top-four open primaries for statewide offices, the Missouri General Assembly, and Congress. The top four vote recipients for each office would advance to the general election, where RCV would be used.

Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.

The campaign Legal Missouri is backing the marijuana legalization ballot measure. The ballot initiative would legalize the possession, consumption, and sale of marijuana for personal use. The ballot initiative would also enact a 6% tax on marijuana sales and allow individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from incarceration and/or have their records expunged. Legal Missouri received $2.56 million through March 31. The largest contributors were the New Approach Advocacy Fund ($300,000), BD Health Ventures LLC ($250,000), and Good Day Farm Missouri LLC ($250,000).

Individuals filed 91 citizen-initiated ballot measure petitions for 2022. Since 2016, the average number of initiatives filed in Missouri per election cycle is 248, and the average number of certified ballot initiatives is four. Between 1985 and 2020, voters approved 24 (60%) initiatives and rejected 16 (40%).

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