Election Day is not just about the presidential race. Or your voice in the House of Representatives. Or even your local dogcatcher.
There are issues at stake!
Re: Marijuana Reforms
Four states and the District of Columbia (the nation’s capital) have already legalized marijuana for recreational use — in every case by ballot initiative. Another 24 states have legalized medical marijuana, which began as a ballot initiative phenomena, but has now been enacted through several state legislatures.
Re: Measure 71
In fact, sold as a way to reduce special interest influence, Measure 71 actually increases the cost and difficulty of qualifying a ballot measure. Dramatically. That burdensome impact will be far, far more problematic for grassroots efforts than for powerful interests.
Additionally, the measure allows a well-financed opposition — special interests, big business, big labor, oil and gas interests, or all of the above — to defeat reforms by running nasty, negative advertising campaigns designed to win even when they lose 54.9 percent of the voters.
One opponent dubbed it “the Rich Guy Protection Act.”
Re: Question 5 (ranked choice voting)
Here’s how it works: When a last-place candidate is eliminated, the second-choice votes from those who had picked that eliminated candidate as their first choice are reallocated to the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate has gained a majority of the votes.
The big advantage is that ranked-choice voting wipes out the wasted vote argument, that by voting for a candidate one believes in, but who is unlikely to win, one’s vote makes no difference and might even help elect the person one most dislikes. Under the ranked-choice system, that vote is tallied and counted for the candidate one most supports, but it can also, if no candidate garners a majority and your favorite candidate is eliminated, go on to count for another candidate you prefer over others.
In such a system, voters could vote their conscience, without fearing the worst evil would prevail. That alone is worth a YES vote on Question 5.
But ranked choice voting also affects the behavior of candidates, by making it more important to not offend the supporters of other candidates. Without abridging the First Amendment to outlaw mean, nasty speech, ranked choice voting, by giving all voters greater input, encourages our better angels.
Re: Massachusetts’s Charter School Amendment
On the pro-charter side is billionaire Michael Bloomberg, so the measure isn’t lacking for funding. Still, Question 2 was polling above 70 percent in favor back in April, now it is below 50 percent.
Re: Further Reading
- PBS: Marijuana legalization could reach a national tipping point on Election Day
- Ballotpedia: Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization, Amendment 2
- Vote No on Amendment 71
- Sterling Journal-Advocate: Amendment 71 gives legislators more power
- Denver NBC 9News: Opposition to Amendment 71, ‘Raise the Bar,’ grows
- Common Sense: Don’t Kill Colorado!
- The Nation: This Maine Initiative Could Shake Up the Two-Party System
- The Intercept: Maine’s “Instant Runoff” Proposal Could Banish Its Governor from State Politics
- Ballotpedia: Authorization of Additional Charter Schools (Question 2)
- WSJ: A Bay State Referendum on Charter Schools
- WSJ: Teachers Unions Fight to Save Georgia’s ‘Dropout Factories’
- Ballotpedia: South Dakota Decreased Youth Minimum Wage Veto Referendum (Referred Law 20)
- Independent Political Report: Paul Jacob — The 10 most important ballot initiatives for Libertarians this November