VERIFY | No, voters can't change the minimum wage through a ballot measure in the Carolinas

The legislature controls whether or not a measure is put before voters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thirteen years ago this month, the latest federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour was set by Congress.

North Carolina and South Carolina don't have state minimum wages higher than that, but some advocates are trying to change that. 

THE QUESTION

Can voters in North Carolina and South Carolina change the state minimum wage through a citizen-led ballot measure?

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OUR SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, voters in the Carolinas can't change the state minimum wage through a citizen-led ballot measure.

WHAT WE FOUND

Some states allow ballot measures, which is when voters get an issue on the state or local ballot through a petition process.

The NCSL found 24 states allow this. Neither North Carolina nor South Carolina are among them. Only three Southern states are: Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi. 

Credit: WCNC

"Currently, the (North Carolina) state legislature can put things on the ballot to change state law," Pardo said. "Normally, it's in the form of bonds, like we want to spend public dollars on XYZ park improvements or road improvements, or it's things that change the state constitution."

Florida is the most recent state to see voters vote to raise the minimum wage. In 2020, 61% said yes to $15 an hour.

In North Carolina, some lawmakers have recently fought to raise the state's minimum wage, but have been unsuccessful.

"Over the last decade or so there have been several dozen attempts to increase the state minimum wage," Pardo said. "I know in 2021 alone, there were six separate bills that would have increased the state minimum wage."

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY. 

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