However, as most politicos know, all politics is local. In several states, statewide ballot issues will be driving turnout just as much, if not more, than federal contests. Below is a list and summary of just a few of those issues having an impact at a local level.
Maryland voters are considering Question 7, which if passed would expand gambling in the state of Maryland by authorizing a gambling facility in Prince George’s County. The facility will be allowed to operate “table games” and video lottery terminals. The taxes and fees generated by Question 7 would be used to fund education in Maryland. This has become a major election issue with large spending on both sides of this issue.
Supported by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Amendment 64 will legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21. If passed, the amendment will also allow the possession of up to 6 marijuana plants to be home-grown for personal use. The amendment creates a regulatory structure to control and tax marijuana sales and distribution and creates regulations for industrial hemp production. Opponents of Amendment 64 highlight marijuana’s negative effects on young people and that the amendment conflicts with federal laws against the possession, distribution, and use of marijuana.
Prop 2 and Prop 4
Michigan voters are considering two proposals pushed and funded by organized labor. Proposal 2, known as the “Protect our Jobs” Amendment, if passed would enact a constitutional amendment changing collective bargaining law and invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit union membership or collective bargaining. Additionally, the amendment will override any state laws that conflict with collective bargaining agreements in regards to hours and conditions of employment. Proposal 4 would allow in-home care workers to collectively bargain. There is deep concern among opponents, principally the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Governor Rick Snyder, that these proposals will place Michigan at severe economic disadvantage compared to other states.
Virginia voters will consider a constitutional amendment that would restrict eminent domain to be used solely for public use. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a supporter of the proposed amendment and the Virginia Farm Bureau has also come out in support of the amendment. The opposition includes the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal league.
This measure would require food labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways. The issue has created concerns among the food and grocery industry in California as well as the California Farm Bureau. California’s Democratic party is a supporter of the measure.