Just wanted to pass along an interesting statistic on Tuesday’s election…in the 12 states that had property rights measures on the ballot (eminent domain reform, regulatory takings reform, or a combination thereof), over 14.2 million voters cast their ballot to support property rights, compared to just over 8 million against. That’s a 64-46% margin. When you take out the votes from California’s Prop 90 and the Idaho and Washington measures that didn’t pass, the combined totals for the 9 successful measures are 10.6 million (74%) for and 3.6 million (26%) against. Similarly, combining the totals for the 3 unsuccessful measures yields 3.7 million (45%) for and 4.4 million (55%) against…of course, that figure is weighted heavily by California. I’d argue that the biggest victory for property rights last night goes to the 65-35% win of Prop 207 in Arizona — a “Kelo-Plus” eminent domain and regulatory takings measure. Arizonans woke up today to what are probably the strongest property rights protections in the country, although Oregonians could justifiably make the same claim after passing their eminent domain measure yesterday (Measure 39) to complement their 2004 regulatory takings measure, Measure 37. Clearly, the election confirms that property rights–and the need to protect them–is an issue many Americans still care very deeply about. That’s the central point I made in my roundup of the election outcomes, available here.
Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He also serves as senior managing director of the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation, which assists policymakers and other stakeholders in designing, analyzing and implementing public sector pension reforms.