Accountability History

Edd Doerr: The Long Record of Voter Rejection of Vouchers

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Edd Doerr has been CEO of Americans for Religious Liberty for many years. He keeps tabs on voucher referenda. He compiled the list that follows. One thing seems clear: on state ballots, Americans have consistently opposed public funding of religious schools, with only one minor exception, when voters in South Dakota agreed to subsidize textbooks for religious schools, a position consonant with Supreme Court decisions to date. Many state legislatures have endorsed vouchers, even in states where voters rejected them (like Florida). The voucher expansion strategy relies on legislative capture, not popular support. The record below explains why voucher proponents try their o avoid referenda.

Last Tuesday, vouchers were again on the ballot, this time in Arizona. They were soundly defeated, by a margin of 2-1.

Ed Doerr’s list:

AGAINST FOR %

Nebraska 1966
Bus transportation
57-43

New York 1967
Constitution change to allow tax aid
72-28

Nebraska 1970
Tax code vouchers
57-43

Michigan 1970
Constitutional change to allow tax aid
57-43

Oregon 1970
Constitutional change to allow tax aid
61-39

Idaho 1972
Bus transportation
57-43

Maryland 1972
Vouchers
55-45

Maryland 1974
Auxiliary services
56-43

Wash. State 1975
Constitutional change to allow tax aid
60-39

Alaska 1976
Constitutional change to allow tax aid
54-46

Missouri 1976
Auxiliary services
60-40

Michigan 1978
Vouchers
74-46

Wash. DC 1981
Tax code vouchers
89-11

California 1982
Textbook aid
61-39

Massachusetts 1982
Auxiliary services
62-38

Massachusetts 1986
Constitutional change to allow aid
70-30

South Dakota 1986
Textbooks
46-54 (our only loss)

Utah 1988
Tax code vouchers
79-30

Oregon 1990
Tax code vouchers
67-33

Colorado 1992
Vouchers
67-33

California 1993
Vouchers
70-30

Wash. State 1996
Vouchers
64-36

Colorado 1998
Tax code vouchers
60-40

Michigan 2000
Vouchers
69-31

California 2000
Vouchers
71-29

South Dakota 2004
Auxiliary services
53-47

Utah 2007
Vouchers
62-38

Florida 2012
Vouchers
55.5-44.5

Hawaii 2014
Vouchers
55-45

Arizona 2018
Vouchers
65-35

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