This year in Michigan not only are we voting on proposals and representatives, we are also voting for a new governor. The division between Democrats and Republicans has grown in some ways since the last presidential election. This year it will be interesting to see if Michigan flips the house from having a Republican majority to a democratic majority. 2018s house elections are projected to be competitive. This is because of Donald Trump's presidency, he has been somewhat controversial and it has caused people to become either more involved in politics or switch parties.
Democrats would have to flip 17 seats in the Michigan house of representatives to switch the majority. There are 110 seats up for vote and 24 seats were at the end of their term limit. This means that 24 seats have two completely new candidates running. This is significant because they have no former support so it opens up more opportunity for the party holding the seat to switch. There is a lot of opportunity in this respect for a change. Additionally, the positions of governor, secretary of state, and attorney general are up for grabs.
The one proposal that is the most controversial this midterm election is the legalization of marijuana. Proposal 1 states that, "An initiation of legislation to allow under state law the personal possession and use of marihuana by persons 21 years of age or older; to provide for the lawful cultivation and sale of marihuana and industrial hemp by persons 21 years of age or older; to permit the taxation of revenue derived from commercial marijuana facilities; to permit the promulgation of administrative rules; and to prescribe certain penalties for violations of this act." In plain language, this means that the state of Michigan will regulate marijuana like alcohol is regulated. This is a big deal it would potentially increase usage and regulate usage.
People have strong opinions for and against this proposal and reasonably so. The process of regulating marijuana use will take time and have kinks that will need to be worked out. One of the biggest concerns is driving while under the influence of marijuana. The device that officers could use to calculate the level of intoxication is expensive and will be something county's need to figure out how to supply. Despite obstacles, there are positives to the legalization, one of which would be regulation. Regulating marijuana could lessen the use of it. People will have to pay higher prices with the taxes involved in regulating the product. However, this could also help keep more dangerous chemicals out of marijuana. With it being regulated there will have to be an agency that tests the product to keep it safe for consumers. Currently, consumers don't know what they are buying off the street and while they can't overdose on marijuana users could potentially overdose on something that the marijuana they bought is laced with.
The second proposal in the ballot is less controversial, but still equally important. This proposal transfers the power of congressional redistricting from the legislature to an independent committee. The committee would be made up of 13 members. Four from the democratic party, four from the Republican party, 5 independent or third-party members. Affirmative votes of 7 members, 2 of which from each category would be necessary to pass a redistricting plan. This would prevent a party from redistricting the state in their favor.
Preventing bias will prevent weighted districts in the future. The chances of districts becoming primarily democratic or republican are less likely if there is an even number of votes from each side. While this may seem small there is a chance it could prevent corruption in the future. The future is how I consider my votes in the midterms.
I ask myself what effects will this person have on the future? I try to consider my grandkids, the changes we are trying to make today we may not see take effect but they will. The other most important thing about voting is research. It is important to understand what you are voting for so that you can make the most educated decision. Ballotpedia.org is a great resource for finding information on your upcoming election. The site is interactive so that you can search for a sample ballot then click within the ballot to receive more information on a proposal or candidate.
Below is the link to Michigan's midterm elections this year. The only thing this year that varies from district to district is the candidates for seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.