The issues on the table for the Nov. 6 election

Ysabela Golden

If you’re able to vote in the upcoming election, you’ve probably already decided whether or not you’ll be heading to the polls on November 6 (though for those away from home who aren’t sure if they can, the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot isn’t until Saturday, Nov. 3). For the last two years we’ve all been hyper-aware of the effect our elected officials can have on our country, and if you are planning on voting you’ve almost certainly already decided on which party your vote is going to land. But not everything on the ballot this year is divided by party – Michigan has three proposals on the voting block this November, and no matter your position on the political spectrum, all three are important enough to pique your interest.

The first proposal is the legalization of marijuana for people of 21 years or older, though if you’re spending any significant amount of time on a college campus you probably already knew this one was going to be on the ballot. The group behind the proposal is the “Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol,” and that’s pretty much exactly what they’re asking for, though with the caveat that you’re not supposed to use it in public or keep more than 10 ounces in your home at a time. In addition, the funds collected from 6 percent sales tax and 10 percent excise tax would have to go toward clinical medical marijuana trials related to veterans with PTSD, municipalities that allow marijuana businesses, road maintenance, and the School Aid Fund.

Second is a proposal to end gerrymandering, which, if you’re not familiar with the term, is the way political parties with majority control change the shape of voting districts to make it easier for them to be re-elected instead of to best represent their constituents. Proposal 2, if adopted, would instead create a commission of randomly selected registered voters to change district boundaries after a census. The commission would have four members who identify with each of the two major political parties and five who identify as neither, ensuring ultimately non-partisan decisions. 

The final and third proposal would be to make United States citizens qualified to vote in Michigan automatically registered to vote when getting or updating a driver’s license or state ID (unless they decline), able to register up until and including election day, and make it easier for registered voters to obtain absentee ballots. That last point is probably the most relevant to college students away from home, but anyone who’s tried to register before an election is familiar with how annoying the current process can be.

As a society we put a lot of (yet somehow still not enough) importance on voting politicians who truly represent our positions into office. But on this upcoming election day, it’s also important to remember that there’s a much more direct opportunity to affect future policy on the table than just voting on representatives to make decisions for us.