Post-Election Pop Quiz: What Were 2012's Strangest Ballot Propositions?

marijuanaWhile the main event on Tuesday night was the presidential election, many voters also had the opportunity to amend their local or state laws. Some of these changes were major, and will significantly affect the lifestyles of millions of citizens. For example, as numerous news outlets have already reported, two states -- Colorado and Washington -- voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while Maryland, Maine and (after a multi-day ballot count) Washington voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

But beyond the big headlines, some of the weirdest statewide changes slid under the radar. With that in mind, we compiled a quiz of some of America's strangest ballot propositions. If you're interested in seeing which states are trying to move into bold new futures (or are preserving odd traditions), take a peek.

Weird Government Quiz: Strangest Ballot Propositions
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Post-Election Pop Quiz: What Were 2012's Strangest Ballot Propositions?

A. Arizona tried to claim sovereignty over the Grand Canyon
B. Texas tried to seize the Gulf of Mexico
C. Virginia tried to declare itself master of the Chesapeake Bay
D. New York tried to claim ownership of Lake Erie

A. Guam
B. Puerto Rico
C. American Samoa
D. The U.S. Virgin Islands

Answer: B. In a non-binding referendum held on Tuesday, 61% of Puerto Ricans voted to become America's 51st state. As a side-note, 58% of Puerto Ricans live, not on the island, but in the 50 states.

A. Allowed adult film stars to deduct breast enhancements as a business expense
B. Created a special tax incentive to encourage pornographic production companies to relocate to economically depressed cities
C. Allowed producers who film movies in their homes to declare their houses "mixed use" properties that qualify for a property tax easement
D. Required all pornographic film actors in Los Angeles to wear condoms while shooting sex scenes

Answer: D. Measure B, the "Safer Sex in the Film Industry Act," received 56% of the popular vote in Los Angeles. The new law requires adult film producers to apply for special permits. Their sets can be visited and inspected at any time, and all actors are required to wear condoms. Many people in the city's adult film industry worry that the new restrictions will encourage the industry to find another home.

A. Intentionally harming a dog, cat or horse
B. Eating a dog, cat or horse
C. Operating an unlicensed animal breeding facility
D. Leaving money to your dog, cat or horse

Answer: A. In North Dakota, deliberately harming a dog, cat or horse is only a misdemeanor. Measure 5 would have made doing so a class C felony. Specifically, it would have charged "Any individual who maliciously and intentionally burns, poisons, crushes, suffocates, impales, drowns, blinds, skins, beats to death, drags to death, exsanguinates, disembowels, or dismembers any living dog, cat, or horse."

A. Required state officials to translate the constitution into Spanish
B. Changed the way the state draws political boundaries
C. Required state officials to edit the state constitution to reflect current vocabulary usage
D. Created a new interactive website where Oregon's citizens can explore the history of their state constitution and code of laws

Answer: C. Written in 1857, Oregon's state constitution is littered with misspellings, archaic word choices and grammatical errors. Measure 78, which received 62% of the vote will update the constitution's wording and correct its misspellings.

A. Massachusetts and California
B. Iowa and Maryland
C. Virginia and Florida
D. Montana and Colorado

Answer: D. On Tuesday, 66% of Montanans voted for initiative 166, which states that "corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights." Meanwhile, Coloradans passed Amendment 65, which required the state's congressional delegation to "propose and support" a constitutional amendment that would reverse Citizens United.

A. It enables state police to demand to see the identification of any person they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant.
B. It streamlines deportation procedures for undocumented immigrants.
C. It allows undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates and financial aid if they have attended a Maryland high school for at least three years
D. It allows undocumented immigrants to live in state-funded housing

Answer: C. In Maryland, students who have spent at least three years in a Maryland high school will now be able to qualify for in-state tuition at the state's public colleges and universities, as well as access to Maryland financial aid. Such students will have to attend a community college for the first two years of school, after which they can transfer to a four-year institution.


Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.
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