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What’s on the ballot: Three proposals to appear on Michigan ballot

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Story by Anna Schlutt, Reporter
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Three proposals will appear on the Michigan ballot on Nov. 6. These proposals have the potential to directly impact anyone living in Michigan.

Proposal 1 involves the legalization of recreational marijuana. If passed, the proposal would allow the purchase and use of cannabis for those age 21 and older. It would also permit a 10% tax on the sale of the drug, and change certain drug violations from crimes to civil infractions.

This proposal would add Michigan to the list of nine states which have already legalized recreational marijuana.

Theoretically, this proposal would generate tax revenue for the state. However, it is likely that many black markets would continue selling marijuana under the table.

Another serious impact of Proposal 1 would be a sentencing change, meaning that illegal possession and use of cannabis would no longer lead to incarceration. This has the potential to decrease prison costs paid by the government.

Students are reminded that marijuana use will still be regulated on campus if this proposal passes.

Proposal 2, if passed, will result in the formation of an independent redistricting committee in Michigan. This proposal is intended to put an end to gerrymandering in Michigan.

“Redistricting will not be done by a group of people that have something to gain by producing particular outcomes,” said Dr. Molly Patterson, associate professor of Political Science at Aquinas College. 

Gerrymandering involves politicians forming districts which allow for certain people or parties to be elected. These districts are often politically or ethnically polarized, as well as geographically confusing.

Michigan is redistricted every 10 years, following the national census. The next redistricting process will take place in 2020, and the districts will be made official in 2022.

The independent committee would be made up of 13 individuals, four from each of the two major political parties and five who classify themselves as independent.

All Michigan citizens would have the opportunity to apply for the committee, and a random selection would determine the final group.

This proposal would cause many politicians to put more effort into maintaining office, which could increase responsiveness to citizen concerns.

Proposal 3 has the potential to increase rights for Michigan voters, making it easier to register to vote and to vote absentee.

If this proposal is passed, voters will be automatically registered in Michigan unless they opt out of the process. Registration could also be done on the same day as an election.

Registering to vote is not altogether a simple process in Michigan today. It must be done at least 30 days before an election, and forms typically have to be mailed in or delivered by hand.

Proposal 3 aims to minimize the difficulty of registration in an effort to increase voter participation. It would also allow absentee ballots to be requested without an excuse.

Overall, this proposal would likely make voting a simpler process, which would draw more people into the polls who otherwise might consider themselves too busy.

“It should make voting a lot easier for Aquinas students,” said Patterson.

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