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Voters Adopt Initiatives on Election Reform

Home care measure fails in Maine, but many other states have increased support for caregivers

A sign supporting issue one in Maine

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En español | Ballot measures to allow same-day voter registration, require photo identification at polling places, create independent redistricting commissions and legalize marijuana passed in states around the nation on Election Day.

In addition, voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah decided to expand Medicaid, while an initiative to fund the retention of its Medicaid expansion failed in Montana.

And in Maine, voters rejected a first-in-the nation measure to enact a program that would have guaranteed that all older adults and people with disabilities had access to free home care services.

Despite the Maine defeat, Elaine Ryan, AARP vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration, said: “As we’ve seen in the past several years, supporting family caregivers enjoys wide bipartisan support. We expect that support to continue in 2019 and beyond. The outcome of the ballot measure in Maine is unlikely to affect the momentum we’ve achieved.” 

In 2018 alone, Ryan said, more than 40 states enacted new supports for caregivers. And AARP also has secured more backing for home- and community-based services in 15 states, achieved paid sick leave for caregivers in two states and expanded funding for respite care in three states. In addition, Missouri became the 40th state to enact the CARE Act, which requires hospitals to help family caregivers learn how to medically help their loved ones once they are discharged.

Election reform

Voters in Maryland, Michigan and Nevada passed measures to enact same-day registration, and Michigan voters also approved an initiative to allow residents to get an absentee ballot without having to say why they wanted to vote that way.

Measures were also approved in Arkansas and North Carolina that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls. And voters in Colorado and Michigan agreed to create independent commissions to handle redistricting in their states. A similar measure in Utah was leading in votes as of Monday, but the outcome was still too close to call. The Missouri electorate decided to create a nonpartisan “state demographer” to draw district lines.

And in Florida, voters agreed to restore voting rights to people convicted of felonies after they have served their sentences. The restoration does not apply to individuals convicted of murder or felony sex offenses.


Ballot measures to allow marijuana to be legally used for medical purposes passed in Michigan, Missouri and Utah but failed in North Dakota. These results bring to 34 the number of states, including the District of Columbia, that allow marijuana to be used for medical reasons.

Voters in Michigan made it the 10th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. 

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