Marijuana, Guns, & Money Are Some Of The Key Issues On The Ballot In These Swing States
The sometimes sad, often scary theatrical showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has dominated the news cycle this election season, and the absurdity of it all will no doubt drive voters in key battleground states to the polls. But there are other issues at stake for voters in these important battleground states. So, what are the major ballot issues in each swing state? This is a quiet year for ballot initiatives and referenda, with many swing states failing to have any initiatives approved in time for the 2016 election. However, there are several swing states that will be voting on growing political and social issues ranging from prison reform to legalized marijuana.
Ballot initiatives have the power to spark a sea change, not just within a state but throughout the nation. This year, voters in 10 states will vote on both medical and recreational marijuana, an issue that has moved from the fringes of American politics to the national stage. The right to die with dignity — a right that is only granted in four states — is also having a moment on state ballots in 2016. Will these ballot measures help swing — or curb — the momentum on some of these issues? Here are five ballot issues in the major U.S. swing states:
Medical Marijuana In Florida
Voters in Florida will have another chance to decide on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes come Nov. 8. Amendment 2 would allow the use of medicinal marijuana in Florida for people with debilitating medical conditions, including HIV, AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and others. A licensed doctor would have to approve the use of marijuana for each patient. Amendment 2 would not legalize marijuana completely.
In Florida, amendments need 60 percent of the vote for approval. The state attempted to pass a similar amendment in 2014 but fell short at 58 percent of the vote.
Legalized Marijuana In Nevada
While Florida voters decide on medicinal marijuana, voters in Nevada will be debating whether or not marijuana should be completely legalized in the Battle Born State. Question 2 on the Nevada ballot would approve the recreational use of 1 ounce or less of marijuana. If legalized, people must be at least 21 years old to purchase, consume, and possess marijuana.
Nevada is not the only state this November looking to legalize marijuana. Massachusetts, California, and Arizona also have ballot initiatives looking to legalize recreational marijuana.
New Gun Laws In Nevada
Nevada is also shining a spotlight on another hot-button issue this November: gun reform. Question 1 on the Nevada ballot puts forth a new gun law mandating background checks for firearm transfers, closing the loophole that allows people to buy firearms at gun shows or transfer firearms through dealers without a background check. Under this proposed measure, an unlicensed person who wants to sell or transfer a firearm to another person must conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer. All licensed gun dealers must run a background check.
Minimum Wage, Assisted Death, And Ending Unpaid Prison Labor In Colorado
Colorado has a number of important measures on the ballot this November, taking up some of the most contentious issues in America. Proposition 106 would legalize "assisted death," or what is more commonly known as physician-assisted suicide. The End of Life Options Act would allow terminally ill patients who have just six months to live to choose to safely end their lives with assistance from legal drugs. Two physicians must provide the prognosis of the patients, and all patients must be at least 18 years old. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has endorsed the measure, and it's very likely voters will overwhelmingly pass the act.
Colorado voters will also vote on Amendment T, or the Colorado Removal of Exception to Slavery Prohibition for Criminals Amendment. Currently, Colorado law grants prisons the right to make inmates work without pay or restitution. As the law states, "There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." Voters are looking to remove this exception in a much overdue vote for civil rights.
Another important Colorado measure, Amendment 70, would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour in 2017, $10.20 in 2018, and $11.10 in 2019. By 2020, the amendment proposes an increase to $12 per hour. The amendment has a fair share of detractors, but Hickenlooper and the majority of voters support the wage increases.
Although many have rightly focused on the two choices for our next POTUS, these issues are important social and economic measures that, depending on the way the vote swings in these states, could have a major impact on the country.