Manistee News Advocate, September 28, 2018
Voters forum talks pros, cons of statewide ballot proposals
By Ashlyn Korienek
MANISTEE COUNTY — Local residents were able to learn about three proposals that impact Michigan citizens on the Nov. 6 ballot, during a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Manistee County.
The LWV Manistee County partnered with the Manistee News Advocate to provide an opportunity for Manistee County residents to understand the facts on all three ballot proposals.
A forum titled “2018 Ballot Proposals: Pros and Cons” was held at the Manistee Intermediate School District Office on Thursday night, with full attendance by nearly 40-50 interested residents.
Paula Manley, with the LWV Michigan Board of Directors, presented the pros and cons for voting yes or no, ballot language, summary and opponents/supporters for each proposal on the upcoming ballot.
The three ballot initiatives Manley discussed were recreational marijuana (18-1), legislative redistricting (gerrymandering) (18-2), and “Promote the Vote” (18-3).
For recreational marijuana or Proposal 1, Manley said The State Bar of Michigan is merely one organization in support, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a group in opposition.
Manley said the supporters say the proposal enacts excise tax on marijuana at the retail level, in addition to the standard state sales tax. On the opposition’s side of the table, Manley said they claim it targets youth, makes for dangerous drivers and increases criminal activity, and more.
“Michigan is a blue state, which has legalized medical marijuana,” said Manley. “Remember that back in 2008, Michigan voters legalized the use of medical marijuana.”
For Proposal 2, on legislative redistricting (gerrymandering), Manley said many are in support of the proposal like advocacy groups and faith organizations, and Protect My Vote and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce are in opposition.
The supporters, she said, feel that “voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.” However, the opposition says it will drastically change the constitution, and disrupt the electoral process.
Proposal 3, the “Promote the Vote” legislation on the ballot, is supported by various organizations and has little known opposition. Manley said there are some recently voiced concerns from those who work on election day.
One person in attendance on Thursday night, a governmental clerk, said her concern was registering to vote on the election day would be challenging, namely for those who are working when the polls are open.
“As a clerk, registering to vote on the day of would be a disaster,” she said.
The supporters, Manley said, say the proposal will put voters first and remove barriers for working families, protecting the right to a “secret” and secure ballot.
Statewide ballot proposals
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.
• Visit Vote411.org for election information and to check your registration;
• Absentee ballots are available on Sept. 22;
• The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9; and
• Election day is on Nov. 6, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Future LWV events
• 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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