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42 states to decide on various ballot proposals
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Darlene Grover nursed
her father through a painful death from colon
cancer nine years ago. Today, she hopes to
make good on his final request: That doctor-
assisted suicide become a legal option to help
teriinally ill people die in peace.
The proposed Maine Death with Dignity Act
is only one of a broad range of hot-button
social issues to be decided by Election Day
ballot questions in many states. As in the
Maine proposal, many of the ballot questions
have drawn nearly as much attention and
money as any race for office.
Voters in Nevada and Nebraska may bar
state recognition of same-sex marriages. Ari-
zona may outlaw bilingual education in public
schools. Alaska may legalize marijuana and
allow the Legislature to regulate it, as alcoholic
beverages are regulated for highway safety and
similar purposes. Massachusetts voters may
order their Legislature to design a health insur-
ance program that covers every resident.
In all, voters in 42 states will decide more
than 200 ballot questions, according to the
Washington-based Initiative & Referendum
About two-thirds of the questions were
placed on ballots by state legislatures. Most of
those are housekeeping items, such as redraw-
ing county borders.
The other one-third, were fostered by wealthy
individuals or by citizens like Grover, who have
often spent years doing the spadework to pro-
mote a ballot question. Twenty-four states allow
such citizen initiatives, which in most cases
require sponsors to gather thousands of signa-
tures to place a question on the ballot.
In Alabama, voters are being asked to
remove a 99-year-old provision from the state
constitution that bars interracial marriage.
The law is unenforceable under a 1967
Supreme Court ruling, but the vote carries sym-
bolic weight nonetheless. Alabama is the last of
as many as 40 states to bar interracial marriage.
In four states, wealthy entrepreneurs are
backing ballot measures that could bring big
changes to public schools.
In California, venture capitalist Timothy
Draper has spent more than $23 million to
back Proposition 38, which would provide tax-
funded vouchers, worth at least $4,000 each, to
parents for private school tuition. The state's
teachers union has spent at least $26 million to
stop the measure. It is likely to be the most
expensive state ballot fight this year nation-
Arizona's proposal to bar bilingual teaching
in public schools is bankrolled by software m
lionaire Ron Unz of Palo Alto, Calif., who say
he has spent about $200,000.
In Maine, the doctor-assisted suicide question
follows a decade of work by Grover, a registered
nurse who worked in intensive care units.
Absentee ballots surge may
0 More than 1 million county election officials surveyed by The For the closest races, he said,1i
t could be
absetnee ballots could delay
results for days
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A
record 3.2 million Californians have
requested absentee ballots for Tuesday's
election, which could leave the results of
close races throughout the state in doubt for
days or even weeks.
More than 1 million of those absentee
ballets, or nearly 10 percent of the 12 mil-
jion votes expected in California, will not
be counted on election night, according to
Alfie Charles, spokesman for Secretary
of State Bill Jones, said the estimate sounds
about right because of the growth in absen-
In 1980, absentee voting counted for 6.3
percent of the vote in California; in 1990, it
was 18.4 percent; and in 1998, it was 24.7
percent, or about 2.1 million ballots.
"The balance of power in Congress may
hinge on races in California, and those Cali-
fornia races may be determined by the late
absentee ballots which will be counted in
the days after Nov. 7,"Charles said.
one to two weeks after the election before
the results may be known,
Absentee ballots that voters mail in or
drop off at their polling places must be
processed separately because voter signa-
tures must be verified in county records,
election officials said.
In 1994, when 22 percent of the voters
cast absentee ballots, Sen. Dianne Fein-
stein's narrow victory over Republican
Michael Huffington wasn't confirmed until
21/2 weeks after the election.
The counties have until Dec. 5 to report
This year, only 10 small counties, togeth-
er only 0.6 percent of the state's voters,
expect to have 100 percent of their votes
counted on election night.
Los Angeles County, which has 4.07 mil-
lion of California's 15.7 million registered
voters, has sent out the most absentee bal-
lots this year: 617,231.
In recent elections, the same county
has had the highest percentage of absen-
tee ballots left uncounted on election
night: 183,000, or 46 percent, in the
1996 presidential election; and 196,000,
or 48 percent, in the election for gover-
nor in 1998.
costs American jobs
Cliton in city
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The most-watched Senate
race in the country roared through its final hours yes-
terday, with Hillary Rodham Clinton planning rallied in
cities from one end of the state to the other, and Rick
Lazio hustling for votes in the suburbs.
Meanwhile, three new polls were released yesterda
with one showing the first lady opening up a double-
digit lead over her Republican rival. The two others
had the race remaining very close.
"I've felt like the underdog throughout the entiie
race, Lazio told reporters while campaigning in the
Hudson Valley town of Chester. "We were up against a
lot, but you know what I have faith in? The fighting
forces of New York."
Clinton and her supporters, meanwhile, were predict-
"I'll fight for you, I'll stick with you, I'll go to th
U.S. Senate and work my heart out for you!" a jubilan
Clinton told 1,200 cheering supporters in Albany.
Earlier, Clinton stumped at the State University of
New York at Buffalo, where she was joined by comedi-
an Bill Cosby and Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flu-
ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - Landing
briefly in Michigan last night, Reform
Party presidential candidate Pat
Buchanan attacked Republican U.S.
Sen. Spence Abraham, calling him an
agent of global companies exporting
Buchanan also said he is having sec-
ond thoughts about his decision to bolt
the GOP to run as a third-party candi-
date, saying it's extremely hard to get a
message to the American people outside
the major parties. "I've decided that a
presidential campaign is really not a
place where great ideas and great issues
can be best advanced," said Buchanan,
who sought the Republican presidential
nomination in 1992 and 1996.
Most national polls show the former-
talk show host and Richard Nixon aide
getting about I percent support, trailing
Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's 4
to -5 percent. "Ralph has been able to
overcome some of the media disadvan-
tage by the fact that he's going after
Gore ferociously, Buchanan said. "And
he may take enough votes to sink Gore.
"But how do you get to the point
where you can offer the American peo-
ple an authentic third choice, and to
influence policy best? I don't know the
answer to that question." Buchanan's
name appears on 49 state ballots, all but
Michigan's. He pinned the blame on
Secretary of State Candice Miller, who
said she could not resolve competing
claims by rival Reform Party factions.
Citing the fact that Miller co-chair's
George W Bush's Michigan campaign,
Buchanan called it a politically motivat-
ed decision in which GOP Gov. John
Engler had to be involved as well.
"I cannot believe that Candice Miller
did this without the knowledge and
benediction of friar Tuck, which is our
campaign name for the governor," he
said. "If Patrick Buchanan wants to
blame someone for his failing to qualify
for the Michigan ballot, he needs to look
in the mirror. Mr. Buchanan and his fol-
lowers did not follow the rules," said
Miller spokeswoman Elizabeth Boyd.
"I know some people say she is from out of state,"
said Flutie, who lives in Natick, Mass., but is
immensely popular in western New York. "Doug Flu-
tie's from out of state but we fight hard. We try to
deliver for Buffalo, and she will, too." 0
The first lady appeared energized despite a grueling
endgame schedule that included a 15-hour day
Sunday and five events yesterday. In addition to the
Buffalo and Albany stops, events were planned for
Jamestown and Rochester, ending with a union rally in
Manhattan featuring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
who is retiring.
Lazio looked tired but hustled throughout the day,
with stops in and around New York City, including a
Monroe diner, a Warwick senior center, a Brooklyn
neighborhood, two train stations and a rally on Lon
Island. At some of the stops, he was joined by two 0
AP PHOTO his most prominent Republican supporters, Gov
George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giu;
Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan in Romulus yesterday pats a little boy's head as he
discusses his regrets about running as a third-party candidate.