Illustrating the ill will against incumbents nationwide, voters in Colorado, California and Missouri appear ready to limit how long politicians can hold office.
"The mood is real simple: Folks are really ticked or fed up with how legislative bodies are conducting themselves," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum, a chief proponent of one of two term-limiting ballot measures in California. Recent polls predict approval for both.Oklahoma voters recently approved a first-in-the-nation constitutional amendment limiting state lawmakers to 12 years in office. The amendment takes effect Jan. 1.
The rush by disgruntled voters this Election Day to limit terms is unprecedented, said Karl Kurtz, director of state services for National Conference of State Legislatures.
Colorado's proposed amendment would impose eight-year limits on the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general and state legislators.
It would also hold each U.S. senator and representative from Colorado to 12 years in office, although some question the constitutionality of state-imposed limits on federal office. The U.S. Constitution imposes no limits on how long lawmakers may serve.
A survey conducted Nov. 3 for The Denver Post and KCNC-TV showed 65 percent of those polled favored the proposal, 26 percent were opposed and 9 percent were undecided.
In California, a survey Oct. 21-27 found 69 percent of those polled favored Proposition 140, the stricter of two similar measures in the state.
That proposition would limit members of the Assembly to six years, or three terms. State senators and other politicians holding statewide office would be held to a total of two terms, or eight years. The measure would also cut the Legislature's staff by about 40 percent and eliminate legislators' retirement benefits.
Proposition 131 would limit members of the Senate and Assembly to 12 consecutive years, or three terms in the Senate and six in the Assembly. Other statewide offices would be held to eight consecutive years or two terms.
However, Proposition 131 would allow a legislator to serve 12 years, sit out a term and return for another dozen years.
If both are approved, the one with the most votes will prevail, according to a California Supreme Court ruling last week.