I assume most states have or allow state questions, initiatives, or some such on their ballots. And I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those questions are worded like they used to be (and may still be) in Oklahoma — tricky double negatives, etc., so that even if you know where you stand on an issue, it is difficult to tell whether a “yes” vote means “yes, I want to approve this” or “yes, I don’t want to approve this.”
In Colorado, people are a bit more precise and the booklet sent to voters before an election carefully notes: “A YES vote on any ballot issue is a vote IN FAVOR OF changing current law or existing circumstances, and a NO vote on any ballot issue is a vote AGAINST changing current law or existing circumstances.” No word games to trick the voter into voting the wrong way.
You are likely aware by now that Colorado is one of the states this year that is voting on legalizing recreational marijuana (medical use is already legal here). And the ballot is very straightforward — yes, you want to legalize it or no, you don’t. So far, so good. Except that now it’s the ads that are getting tricky. There’s one that has a nice-looking, middle-aged man talking pleasantly but seriously about police wasting their time chasing down and arresting marijuana offenders when they ought to be going after real criminals, etc. But he never says let’s “legalize” marijuana. Nope. The pitch is to “regulate” marijuana.
Hmm. People opposed to pot would never vote “yes” to “legalize” it, but if they weren’t paying attention, they might very well vote “yes” to “regulate” it, thinking this would strengthen laws against it.