Utahns Split On Ballot Initiatives, Vote Down Question 1
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It wasn’t just the politicians on the ballot this year.
From gas taxes to Medicaid, Utahns were tasked with approving several items during the midterm elections. While one initiative was handily defeated, three propositions had narrow margins between those voting for and against.
One in particular was nearly a tie on Wednesday.
It would have put a 10 cent tax on gas for education and roads in Utah. It lost significantly.
Our Schools Now supporters admit the tax on gas may have confused voters, since by law that money would have been required to go to roads. State legislators would have had to reallocate that money during the next legislative session.
Austin Cox, Our Schools Now campaign manager, said the fight for education will continue.
“Utah’s the lowest-funded state in the nation,” he said. “Our goal is to increase funding for public education by $1,000 per student. We’re still committed to that goal, and we look forward to working with the legislature towards that end.”
Cox said it is too soon to know whether that could mean another initiative in a future election.
Prop 2 would legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes for qualifying Utah patients.
The supporters of Utah’s medical marijuana initiative were ready to claim victory Wednesday morning, with 53 percent voting for Proposition 2. However, about a quarter of the votes had yet to be counted.
The votes for Proposition 2 stood at a nearly-50,000 gap Wednesday morning with 76 percent of the votes counted. Those numbers represent the votes from the precincts; mail-in ballots still need to be counted.
This proposal would expand Medicaid coverage to people younger than 65 who are below the federal poverty line.
Numbers thus far indicate voters approve of it.
Prop 3 would increase the state’s sales tax on non-food items by 0.15 percent to bring coverage to more Utahns. As of Wednesday morning, 54 percent of voters approved of the expansion of Medicaid.
Meant to prevent gerrymandering, Prop 4 would create an independent redistricting commission to draft maps for congressional and state legislative districts. As of Wednesday morning, the vote was essentially tied with votes for the initiative barely leading at a little more than 50 percent.
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