Manistee News Advocate, September 20, 2018
LWV to hold informative event on ballot proposals
By Ashlyn Korienek
MANISTEE COUNTY — Manistee County residents will have the chance to vote on three proposals that impact Michigan citizens state-wide on the Nov. 6 ballot.
However, many voters do not know what these proposals are or may not fully understand the issues. With that, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Manistee County is hosting an event called “2018 Ballot Proposals: Pros and Cons” on Sept. 27.
The event starts at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Manistee Intermediate School District Office at 772 Parkdale Ave. in Manistee.
Partnering with the LWV Manistee County, the Manistee News Advocate is working alongside the group to provide an opportunity for citizens of Manistee to get the facts on all three ballot proposals.
This forum will feature speaker Paula Manley, from the LWV Michigan Board of Directors, who will discuss the ballot initiatives and positive and negative impacts on voting yes or no, for all of those who plan to head to the polls.
Linda Albee, vice president of the LWV Manistee County, said the event aims to provide an objective view of the issues, and also inform voters on why their vote counts.
While many are often unsure of ballot proposals, Albee said voters will typical turn down a proposal on the ballot simply because they do not understand the language, who it impacts or what the proposal aims to do.
“People are focused on the candidates and the ballot initiatives are last minute. (They) end up not having the information they need,” said Albee. “We are not telling people how to vote, we are telling them, if you vote yes, this is what it means and also if you vote no.”
Albee said she hopes voters will leave with a better understanding of what is going on in their area.
“This is an opportunity to spend an hour to learn about what is going to be on your ballot,” said Albee. “If you are going to a part of this society, part of your responsibility is to be an informed voter and vote.”
The three ballot initiatives under discussion will include recreational marijuana (18-1), legislative redistricting (gerrymandering) (18-2), and “Promote the Vote” (18-3).
The forum is free and open to the public.
LWV Manistee County is made up of men and women, Democrats, Republicans and Independents who share a need and desire to see important issues discussed in a fair and impartial manner. The LWV is a nonpartisan, impartial voice for political education.
The Manistee News Advocate has a long history of publishing information for voters at each election.
Ballot proposals will read as follows:
A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers.
This proposal would:
• Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption;
• Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers;
• Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them;
• Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located; and
• Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.
A proposed constitutional amendment to establish a commission of citizens with exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and U.S. Congress, every 10 years.
This proposed constitutional amendment would:
• Create a commission of 13 registered voters randomly selected by the Secretary of State: 4 each who self-identify as affiliated with the 2 major political parties; and 5 who self-identify as unaffiliated with major political parties;
• Prohibit partisan officeholders and candidates, their employees, certain relatives, and lobbyists from serving as commissioners;
• Establish new redistricting criteria including geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population, reflecting Michigan’s diverse population and communities of interest. Districts shall not provide disproportionate advantage to political parties or candidates; and
• Require an appropriation of funds for commission operations and commissioner compensation.
A proposal to authorize automatic and Election Day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting, and straight ticket voting; and add current legal requirements for military and overseas voting and post-election audits to the Michigan Constitution.
This proposed constitutional amendment would allow a United States citizen who is qualified to vote in Michigan to:
• Become automatically registered to vote when applying for, updating or renewing a driver’s license or state-issued personal identification card, unless the person declines;
• Simultaneously register to vote with proof of residency and obtain a ballot during the 2-week period prior to an election, up to and including Election Day;
• Obtain an absent voter ballot without providing a reason; and
• Cast a straight-ticket vote for all candidates of a particular political party when voting in a partisan general election.
The LWV Manistee County will also hold the following forums:
• Candidate forum for the 35th State Senate and 101st State House of Representative held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 4 at 772 Parkdale Ave. The following candidates have been invited to participate: 35th State Senate — Rep-Curt Vanderwall, Dem-Mike Taillard and Lib-Timothy Coon; 101st State House of Representatives — Rep-Jack O’Malley and Dem-Kathy Wiejaczka.
• Forum for Manistee County Judge of Probate Court and Manistee County Commission Seventh District held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 at 772 Parkdale Ave. The following candidates have been invited to participate: 85th Probate Judge — Thomas Brunner (incumbent) and Jonathan Hauswirth; 7th District County Commission — Dem-Margaret Batzer (incumbent) and Lib- David Holmer.
• Forum for Manistee City Council Fifth District will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17, at the Manistee Inn and Marina on River Street. In the forum will be Fifth District Candidates James Smith (incumbent) and Michael Szymanski.
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