Voters in 43 states and the District of Columbia will decide today on more than 200 ballot questions ranging from the environment through taxes to abortion. Sixty-seven are citizen initiatives, the most since 1914, when a record 90 appeared on state ballots.
At least 10 states have some sort of environmental initiative. The most highly publicized is California's Proposition 128, "Big Green," which would impose strict limits or bans on pesticides, offshore oil drilling, and chemicals and emissions that harm the atmospheric ozone layer. Polls show voters turning against the measure.
A number of states have tax measures on the ballot, including Nebraska, Colorado, California and Oregon. In Massachusetts, polls predict failure for a proposed $2 billion state tax rollback that has figured prominently in the gubernatorial campaign. Democratic nominee John R. Silber and other opponents of what would be the largest voter-initiated state tax cut in history argue it would bankrupt or seriously damage poor school districts and lead to thousands of state layoffs.
Polls also suggest a majority of Utah voters may heed warnings of state school officials that a proposed repeal of the state sales tax on most food would be a disaster for education financing.
A closely watched Oregon school "choice" measure would grant parents a $2,500 tax credit to send their children to any school, even church-related, or to teach them at home. Recent polls show the plan trailing. Oregon voters, however, appear to favor narrowly a measure that would shut down the state's only nuclear power plant.
In Nevada, a ballot issue aimed at making it harder to change the state's liberal abortion law appears headed for defeat, as does an Oregon proposal to ban abortions except in cases of rape and incest. Another Oregon measure -- requiring parental notification for abortions performed on minors -- may pass.