Editor's note: At REI, we understand opinions on the midterm elections vary. As a co-op with millions of members, we maintain a strongly nonpartisan stance across a range of policy topics. We do, however, engage on those that matter to the outdoors and our community.
Update at 4:20 pm PST on November 7, 2018: Washington voters rejected Initiative 1631. 56.05 percent voted against the measure, while 43.95 percent voted in favor, according to election results released this afternoon.
Update at 9:30 am PST on November 7, 2018: Connecticut voters passed Constitutional Amendment Question 2. With 72 percent of precincts reporting, 84 percent of voters approved the measure, according to The New York Times. Amendment 2 protects public lands by requiring public hearings ahead of significant land sales and transfers, and that the sales be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the state House and Senate.
Georgia voters passed the Outdoor Stewardship Amendment with nearly 83 percent of the vote with 100 percent of counties/precincts reporting. It dedicates part of the existing sales taxes on outdoor and sporting goods to support land conservation.
Based on initial results, with more than 1.9 million votes counted, Washington's I-1631 is not passing with 56 percent of voters rejecting the measure. The initiative would have invested in clean air, clean energy and clean water. More than 546,000 ballots still have to be processed but according to The Seattle Times, the lead is “unlikely to be overtaken.”
Today’s midterm elections will impact the public lands and waters we enjoy. Across the country, specific ballot initiatives have the potential to invest significant dollars in outdoor infrastructure.
Here are a few key measures we’ll be tracking. Check back throughout the day and in the coming days for election results.
This amendment to the state constitution would protect public lands and waters by requiring public hearings on significant land sales and transfers, and a two-thirds majority vote by both the state House of Representatives and Senate.
The proposed amendment to the state constitution would dedicate up to 80 percent of revenue from the existing sales tax on sporting and outdoor recreation equipment to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, which supports land conservation.
This measure aims to reduce carbon pollution by investing in clean energy, healthy forests and waters, and in communities most impacted by changes to the climate. If passed, the biggest emitters of carbon pollution would pay a fee beginning in 2020. The fee would increase by $2 annually until Washington’s greenhouse gas reduction targets are met.
Conservation Dollars in Action
In nearly two dozen states, voters will decide on other conservation finance measures that would dedicate revenue to the protection of public lands and improved stewardship of natural resources. In total, more than $13 billion are at stake. The Trust for Public Land offers an overview of the nearly 50 conservation ballot questions.