The 3 Big Ballot Issues For 2016 That Could Have A Major Influence On The Country After Election Day

Sometimes politicians just don't do what we want them to, and in some states, citizens have taken politics directly into their hands by proposing ballot measures. That's a form of direct democracy that lets voters bypass the legislature and governor by voting on a law. A majority can lower taxes, ban bilingual education, or legalize assisted suicide. One of the most famous measures of recent times was Proposition 8 in California, which outlawed gay marriage in the sate until the Supreme Court ruled on the matter in 2015. This year is no different. These three big, contentious ballot issues for 2016 could have nationwide implications.

Ballotpedia reported that there will be 155 statewide ballot measures voted on this November among a total 163 this year in 35 states. Of those, about 72 were put forward by voter initiatives, while the rest were proposed by the state legislatures. They could affect nearly two out of every three Americans — 205 million people total.

There are a few state-specific measures, like requiring condoms be used in all porn shot in California, or Minnesota's proposal to have an independent board set lawmakers' salaries. But many states are tackling the same problems, all of which have been ignored at the federal level in recent years.

Marijuana Legalization

There are a record 10 ballot measures on medical and/or recreational marijuana across the country this year. Ballotpedia reported that just over 80 million Americans will be affected by the outcome. One of the most contentious is of course California's, as the state's Proposition 64 would allow recreational use for Californians 21 and older. But it is far from alone; recreational use is also on the ballot in Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

Gun Control

Gun control initiatives could affect slightly more than 50 million Americans if they are passed. With Congress at a standstill on the issue, four states will vote on measures on background checks and other gun control measures. California, again, is voting on limiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as requiring background checks in the state. Maine and Nevada will also vote on background checks. Washington state will vote on a measure that would allow courts to restrict an individual's access to guns in extreme cases.

Health Care Reform

Just think back to the debate, when both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump denounced the prices of health plans on the Obamacare exchanges. There definitely is more work to do on health care, and that's why there are five measures on the ballot in four states. In Colorado, they've gone the furthest and proposed to institute the first universal single-payer plan in the country. New payroll taxes of 10 percent would fund it — two-thirds paid by employers and one-third by the employee.

The plan is unlikely to pass, and opponents have far out-raised supporters. More likely to pass is a California proposition which would have the state regulate the price of drugs by having state agencies pay the same amount that the Department of Veterans Affairs does — usually a steep discount from the market rate.

So if these — or other issues like the minimum wage, which is also on the ballot in a number states — are an issue of concern, make sure that you vote on the down-ballot issues, too. Especially in states like California, as they could have a huge impact.