Election 2018: Ann Arbor voters will decide on three statewide ballot proposals


On Nov. 6, 2018, voters throughout Michigan will be weighing in on three statewide ballot proposals: 1) to regulate marijuana like alcohol; 2) to create an independent citizens redistricting commission (Voters Not Politicians); and 3) to make voting more accessible through several changes to the state constitution (Promote the Vote).

STATEWIDE PROPOSAL #1: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

This proposal would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21, and allow the state to levy taxes on its sale.

If approved, this proposal would:

  • Legalize the possession and sale of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal, recreational use for people over the age of 21. You could also keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home.
  • Tax marijuana sales with a 10% excise tax at the point of sale, in addition to the state’s 6% sales tax.
  • Split the tax revenues in the following way: 35% for K-12 education, 35% for roads, 15% to communities that allow marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions, and 15% to counties where marijuana businesses are located.
  • Let communities decide whether to allow marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.
  • Require testing and safe transportation of marijuana in Michigan.

If this proposal passes, Michigan would be the 10th state to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. A previous ballot proposal in 2008, approved by 63% of Michigan voters, allowed medical marijuana to be sold in this state.

A group called the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is advocating for this proposal and collected signatures to place it on the Nov. 6 ballot. Here’s a link to that group’s campaign finance information. Jeff Irwin, an Ann Arbor resident who’s running for state senate in District 18, served as political director for this proposal.

It’s opposed by Healthy and Productive Michigan, a group that’s backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

The State Board of Canvassers approved the ballot language on Sept. 6, 2018.

Here’s what you’ll see on the ballot:

Proposal 18-01: 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.
  • Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

Should this proposal be adopted?


STATEWIDE PROPOSAL #2: Create an Independent Redistricting Commission

This proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to replace the existing partisan process of drawing legislative districts. Critics of the current process say it results in gerrymandering to favor the political party in power. If this proposal is approved, a commission of citizens appointed by the Michigan Secretary of State would be in charge of redistricting every 10 years, following the U.S. Census.

The grassroots Voters Not Politicians collected signatures to place this proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot. Opponents include a group called Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, which filed suit to prevent the proposal from being placed on the ballot. Attorney General Bill Schuette, who’s now the Republican candidate for governor, also weighed in against the ballot proposal, arguing that it would create a “fourth branch of government.”

On a 4-3 vote, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the proposal could go on the Nov. 6 ballot. The State Board of Canvassers approved the ballot language on Aug. 30, 2018.

Here’s exactly what you’ll see on the ballot:

Proposal 18-02: 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:

o 4 each who self-identify as affiliated with the 2 major political parties; and
o 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.
  • Require an appropriation of funds for commission operations and commissioner compensation.

Should this proposal be adopted?


STATEWIDE PROPOSAL #3: Make Voting More Accessible (Promote the Vote)

The Promote the Vote proposal, if approved, would amend the state constitution to allow no-reason absentee voting, give military members additional time to vote, let citizens register to vote anytime with proof of residency, allow straight-party voting, protect secret ballots and require audits for election results.

Currently, residents can only vote absentee if they cite one of the reasons allowed by law, such as being out of town on Election Day or being physically unable to get to the polls. And straight-party voting is now banned in Michigan, following state legislation to outlaw it and subsequent unsuccessful court challenges.

This proposal is backed the ACLU, the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the Detroit chapter of the NAACP and the Michigan League for Public Policy. The State Board of Canvassers approved the ballot language on Sept. 7, 2018.

A group called Protect the Vote, backed by conservatives, is opposed to this ballot initiative.

Here’s exactly what you’ll see on the ballot:

Proposal 18-3: 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.
    • Cast a straight-ticket vote for all candidates of a particular political party when voting in a
    partisan general election.

Should this proposal be adopted?




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