What's in Your Ballot?
The 2018 Midterm elections are here, and they are just important as ever. This November 6th every state will tackle issues ranging from taxes, privacy rights, voting rights, gun control, minimum wage, affordable housing and marijuana… to name a few. However, 3 major issues can be seen across multiple states on this midterms’ ballots, it might seem Déjà Vu but no… we are still talking about abortion, LGBTQ equality and common sense environmental laws; its not like its 2018 or anything.
Here are the propositions and here’s how to break it down:
Female and Abortion rights
Pro-life activists succeeded in bringing up this issue since 2014, three different states have taken pro-life initiatives on the ballots: Alabama, West Virginia and Oregon. In Oregon, proposition 106 seeks to limit the ease of choosing abortion, more specifically, it will prohibit the use of public funding for abortion unless it is required by federal law. So while it will not be illegal to get one, it will be hard to pay for it or have access to affordable care, a worrisome idea for women of low income. In Alabama and West Virginia, both Amendments 1 and 2 propose the specification of language in their constitution; meaning a wording change specifying that abortion is not protected by the state and that abortion funding is not a right. Voting “Yes” on these ensures the state constitution’s change in wording to ensure abortion is not an accessible choice for women. Voting “No” keeps the constitution as is and does not criminalize the option to choose.
Massachusetts, yes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, is leading the way again by proposing anti-discrimination protection for the transgender community. On the ballot, people will vote on whether or not to keep an anti-discrimination law passed in 2016 that prohibits discrimination of transgender people in public spaces. Stating that no one should be discriminated based on their gender identity in public spaces, the ballot does not specifically state what “public spaces” entails, are bathrooms considered one? Regardless of the fine print, the ballot aims to protect and accommodate ALL people of all communities and is a step in the right direction towards future nation-wide acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Vote “Yes” to keep this equal protection law in place.
Environmentalist Reform and Animal welfare
The carbon tax, a.k.a Initiative 1631 in Washington, proposes to charge companies a $15 polluter fee per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions they produce, with the fee increasing more each year until the state meets its goal for reducing pollution. Supposedly, the money collected from these fees will be used to push forward energy-efficient efforts such as solar powered buildings, adding more fueling stations for electric vehicles and improving public transit. A quarter of the revenue will also be directed towards water related projects and helping with climate change related problems. Vote “Yes” for this proposition to pass.
In California, a “Yes” on proposition 3 authorizes $8.877 billion to be collected in general obligation bonds and be used for new water infrastructure, recycling of waste water, habitat rehabilitation and improving water storage facilities. The bad thing is, since 1996, $29 billion dollars have been collected from 8 statewide bonds and quite frankly, not much has happened. California is in a drought now more than ever and money doesn’t seem to be the issue, because enough has been collected by now! The problem seems to be that no one is taking responsibility for the irresponsible use of water in the first place… i’m looking at you Palm Springs, home of the highest water consummig desert. Voting “No” will not allot this money to damn reconstruction and water treatment, which sounds bad but might force the state to look at other ways water is being wasted and find more sustainable and Lon-term solutions. Pros and Cons. Vote “Yes” for 9 billion dollars to be spent on dam recontrusction, “No” for money to be funded another way or be used in other projects.
Also in California, a “Yes” vote on proposition 12 will implement space regulations for a less barbaric treatment of livestock, specifically pigs, calves and egg-laying hens. Calves raised for veal would be confined in an area larger than 43 square fee while Egg-laying hens would have more than 1 square foot of space. While this proposition seems like a step in the right direction it leaves too many grey areas. Firstly, an original cage free proposition was passed in 2008 which banned cages by 2015; not much changed for the animals. Now we are voting again but dealing with space restrictions and freedom of mobility, specifically the ability to stand up and turn around… tentative applause? While there might not be cages, there is no promise of hens roaming free and living a humane life. As for the calves and pigs, they will still be confined and there are no specifications on how many animals will be in these slightly larger spaces. In other words, this is half a step in the right direction. While we wait for actual improvements in the animal welfare sector, let’s support local farmers and companies that opt for an ethical treatment of animals.
Finally, Florida’s Amendment 9 bans off-shore drilling practices, a response to the Trump’s administrations plan to drill oil and gas in places that have been banned and protected waters. Fracking, a method used for drilling these oil and gas, breaks through the hardness floor of the ocean by using a pressurized liquid. This practice is dangerous because it contaminates the water, erodes the land and heightens the risk of earthquakes, pollutes the air with emissions and harms the marine wildlife and in turn, the whole ecosystem. What Amendment 9 proposes is that drilling be illegal 3 nautical miles from the shore and 9 nautical miles along the Gulf of Mexico, what happens between those miles and the 200-mile international limit is a question of federal policy. However, what Florida aims to do with this proposition is send a message, promote safe practices and make it harder for these companies to operate their damaging practices and harm the water quality in their beaches.