Election 2012: A busy year for ballot questions

The Election Day ballot will include some closely watched policy questions, including three ballot measures that would legalize same-sex marriage, three that would legalize the non-medical use of marijuana, and initiatives in Maryland that could expand casino gambling and give in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.

The Maryland gambling measure would allow table games in addition to electronic games in state casinos.

It is a particularly busy year for ballot questions. There are 174 around the country, including 12 examples of little-used kind of initiative that could allow voters to repeal laws recently passed by the state legislature.

Among the highlights:

●Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington will decide whether to approve same-sex marriage. If any do, it will be the first time that same-sex marriage has ever been approved by popular vote. In Minnesota, a ballot question would allow voters to bar same-sex marriage.

●In Colorado and Washington, voters could choose to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Oregon voters could approve a more expansive law, which would allow more pot to be sold, but only through state-run stores. Also, a ballot measure in Arkansas could make that state the first in the South to legalize medical marijuana use.

●Voters in Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Montana and Wyoming could vote to exempt their states from parts of President Obama’s health-care law.

David A. Fahrenthold covers Congress for the Washington Post. He has been at the Post since 2000, and previously covered (in order) the D.C. police, New England, and the environment.

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