2010 is a contentious election year and the focus of the election coverage has been the balance of power in the House and Senate on the federal level and the governors’ offices, Houses and Senates of the various states. There is one generally overlooked aspect of the 2010 election. The outcome of the ballot initiatives often swing on just a few votes. Here are some of the ballot initiatives that may have an impact. There are three main issues that are on the ballot in multiple states.
There are four states that are considering making changes on the state marijuana laws. California has the most progressive and controversial ballot measure. California is seeking to legalize small amounts for personal use and a few plants for individuals to cultivate their own in proposition 19. Proposition 19 is currently trailing at the poll by 10%. This may cause clashes with the federal law prohibiting marijuana. Oregon is seeking to change their current law to allow for medicinal dispensaries, instead of requiring patients to cultivate their own. As of last weekend, Oregon’s measure is languishing at a 40% yes vote. Both Arizona and South Dakota are seeking to legalize medicinal marijuana and marijuana dispensaries. Arizona’s prop 203 is winning at the polls with independents’ and Democrats. South Dakota has previously seen a similar initiative fail to win over voters.
Hunting and Fishing
Several states have ballot initiatives relating to hunting and fishing rights. Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee are all seeking to make a State Constitutional amendment that would reinforce the right to hunt in those states. Arizona’s proposition 109 and Arkansas’s issue 1 are looking likely to be approved. Montana is seeking to raise the hunting license fees and North Dakota wants to ban canned hunts.
Maine and Oregon are both seeking to add a casino. Oregon’s initiative is surprisingly contentious because there is debate over what location should get the casino and the resulting tax money. Colorado is looking to reclassify charity based raffles and lotteries under the Department of Revenue instead of under the Department of State.
Washington is seeking to abolish state run liquor stores and the polls show this is likely to pass. Rhode Island wants to change its official name from State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to State of Rhode Island. Oklahoma wants to make the English language the official language of the state. Michigan and North Carolina both have ballot initiatives to restrict convicted felons from certain types of work. North Carolina is concerned with felons serving as sheriffs. Michigan is concerned about felons serving in any type of elected or policy making position.
Ballot initiatives are often overlooked in the grand scheme of which party will gain power. It’s unfortunate because there are often very important issues that are being addressed.
“Ballot Measure Database”, NCSL.
Aliyah Shahid “Attorney General Eric Holder: Federal Law Enforced Even if Marijuana Bill in California Passes”, New York Daily News.
Kim Melton “Parks and Prison Ballot Measures Ahead, Poll for the Oregon Shows”, Oregonlive.com
Niki D’Andrea “Prop 203 – The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – Puts the Chronic in Chronic Pain”, Phoenix New Times.
Heather Murschel “Are we Ready for Medicinal Marijuana”, Black Hills Pioneer.
“Right to Hunt and Fish Up for Vote”, Ammoland.com
Lewis Delevan “Poll: Arkansans Support Hunting, Fishing Protection”, Times Record Online.
Brent Walth “Measure 75 Campaign is Battle over who gets Oregon Casino Dollars”, OregonLive.com
Chris Grygeil “Poll: Voters Lean toward Costco’s Liquor Privatization Init”, Seattle Pi Blogs.