As Kupfer notes, the initiative’s primary opponents are industry groups and “large restaurant chains who have an interest in keeping wages low.”

Amendment 70 is one of many Colorado ballot measures this year that progressives nationwide are watching, in addition to a measure calling for a single payer healthcare system as well as one that would stiffen requirements for amending the state’s constitution, which, as Common Dreams previously reported, “would transfer power away from voters, making the state more vulnerable to powerful interests.”

Question 4 on the Maine ballot asks voters if they “want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter?”

The citizen-initiated effort also seeks to raise the wages for tipped workers “from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage.”

A poll conducted between Oct. 20 and Oct. 25 found that 57 percent of Mainers support the wage increase, while just 35 percent oppose it, and eight percent remain undecided. Proponents attribute its wide support to two years of organizing to build grassroots support and “establish a narrative of an economy that can work for everyone, as Mike Tipping, communications director with Mainers for Fair Wages, the organization supporting Question 4, put it in a recent press call. 

Noting that the measure has strong support “across every demographic,” including among small businesses and restaurants, Tipping said he’s “proud to see this enthusiasm translate into more young people voting and more Mainers voting early to raise the minimum wage.”

The most ambitious of the 2016 ballot efforts, Washington State’s Initiative 1433 supports incrementally raising the state’s minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020 and mandates that employers offer paid sick leave.

“Paid sick leave and minimum wage are issues that have had a deep effect on working families and drive support for our initiative at the polls,” said Carlo Caldirola-Davis, campaign manager for Raise Up Washington, the organization supporting Initiative 1433. “Voters understand that hard working Washingtonians should be able to care for their families and make ends meet.”

The most recent survey from pollster Stuart Elway found that I-1433 is leading 58 to 31 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The initiative has wide support, and has been endorsed by numerous publications, advocacy organizations, labor groups, and public officials, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who last spring tweeted:

In 2014, Seattle became the first major city to approve a $15 minimum wage.

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