Your guide to Michigan's three ballot proposals for the November election

Posted at 12:38 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 13:23:31-04

We're just days away from the Midterm Elections and we're taking a closer look at the ballot proposals that you will see at the end of your ballot on Nov. 6.

There are three proposals in the 2018 election: Proposal 18-1, Proposal 18-2 and Proposal 18-3.

Proposal 1 - Legalizing recreational marijuana

What the ballot language will say

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.

What it means

In short, this proposal would make recreational marijuana legal in the state of Michigan, becoming the 10th state in the country and Washington D.C. to legalize pot.

Anyone 21 and older living or visiting the state will be able to buy, possess and use marijuana and/or marijuana-infused edibles in the state. They can also grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their homes for personal use.

The restrictions on that include a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at home and anything over 2.5 ounces to be in a locked container. 

There would also be a state licensing system through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which would cost the state millions of dollars to create. It would also be subject to a 10 percent excise tax for implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads and more.

According to a report from the non-partisan Senate Fiscal Agency, recreational marijuana could bring $262 million in tax revenue by 2023.

The plan would also change some marijuana-related crimes to civil infractions.

Proposal 2 - Independent redistricting commission

What the ballot language will say

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.
·      Require an appropriation of funds for commission operations and commissioner compensation.
Should this proposal be adopted?

What it means

Proposal 2 was started by a group called Voters Not Politicians and looks to end gerrymandering in Michigan. After a fight that went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, the proposal ended up on the ballot.

Every ten years, the party in control of the Michigan legislature re-draws congressional district lines after the annual census. Currently, the Republicans have control and last drew the lines after the 2010 election. They will be re-drawn again after 2020.

Prop 2 would amend the state constitution and take the hands out of the politicians, and instead create an independent commission of 13 people: Four Republicans, Four Democrats and Five Independents. That commission would then be tasked with drawing the new state lines that are "geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population."

There are several restrictions for the people who serve on the commission. The Michigan Secretary of State will mail applications for the commission to at least 10,000 randomly selected registered voters, and from those applicants, they will select 60 Republicans, 60 Democrats and 80 Independents. The majority and minority leaders of the state House and Senate will be able to strike up to five applications each, and then the Secretary of State will randomly select the final commission.

Proposal 3 - Easier access to voting

What the ballot language will say

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.

What it means

Proposal 3 involves many different parts of easing access to voting and to ballots. It would allow people to automatically be registered to vote when they apply for, update or renew their driver's license or state ID card unless they choose not to. 

On top of that, they could register to vote with a proof of residency and obtain a ballot during the 2-week period before, up to and on election day.

For those wanting an absentee ballot, Prop 3 would let people get an absentee ballot without providing a reason.

Finally, it would allow straight-ticket voting in the general election, which means a voter can check a box and vote for all candidates in a single party.