Ballot measures: States vote on legal pot, drug reforms, Puerto Rico statehood

Ballot measures: States vote on legal pot, drug reforms, Puerto Rico statehood
Voters cast ballots at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Tuesday. Most voters in the state have so far favored a measure to allow Uber and Lyft to continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors.  Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Voters in dozens of states weighed in on more than 100 ballot measures on election night, including legalization of marijuana, decriminalizing other drugs and Puerto Rico held a referendum on potential statehood.

In California, voters appear to have passed a measure that will allow ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as independent contractors, rejecting efforts by state lawmakers who wanted them to be classified as employees with benefits.


More than 58.4% of voters favored the measure, with 99% of the vote counted.

The initiative was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in the state's history, with other delivery companies like DoorDash joining with Uber and Lyft in advocating for the measure.

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Both companies have threatened to leave the state if they were forced to reclassify drivers as employees.


Voters, however, appear to have rejected an effort to eliminate cash bail and for 17-year-olds to be eligible to vote in primary elections if their 18th birthday falls before the general election.

Criminal justice reform advocates had long supported the concept of ending cash bail, but were wary of Prop. 25, saying it would replace the current system with an algorithm-driven risk assessment that they say would be more punitive.

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Arizona (99% of votes counted) has approved legalizing recreational marijuana, with almost 60% of the vote.

New Jersey appears to have passed a similar measure with almost 70%, according to The New York Times and ABC News.

A similar measure is favored by 57% of voters in Montana, with more than two-thirds of votes counted.

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South Dakota is close to passing legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use. About 53% support legalizing recreational pot and 69% favor legalizing medical marijuana, with about 90% of votes counted.

In Oregon, 58% of voters have voted for measures to decriminalize small amounts of heroin and most other street drugs.


The results are not yet official, but if the lead holds Oregon will be the first state to decriminalize certain amounts of some illicit drugs.

In Puerto Rico, residents voted on potential statehood for the island territory. Official results have not yet been announced, but Bloomberg reported Wednesday that most appear to favor the prospect, by a margin of 52% to 48% with more than 90% of the ballots counted.

It was the sixth time island residents voted on statehood, but the prospect would require legislation from Congress for Puerto Rico to become a state.

The referendum asked, "Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?" In recent years, Democrats have floated the idea of granting statehood to Puerto Rico if residents want it.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 121 statewide ballot measures in the 2020 general election. That's the lowest number of direct initiatives in a presidential or midterm election year since 1986, and a notable drop from recent elections.


U.S. Election 2020

Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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