10 Ballot measures to Watch in Tonight’s U.S. election

Tonight President Barack Obama will be re-elected, Democrats will keep the Senate and for no apparent reason the Republicans will keep the House of Representatives for another 2 years. More awesomely, Wisconsin is going to elect America’s first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin. As a politics nerd, I always like to watch a number of ballot measures (mostly because it lets me repeatedly use the plural “referenda” as much as humanly possible) because they can have as large/damaging/excellent effect as the Presidential ticket, and they can be really interesting/weird. Here are 10 measures to watch tonight:

Marriage Equality:

Maine, Maryland, Washington State and Minnesota all have same-sex marriage ballot initiatives  The first 3 have affirmative ones and Minnesota’s is to take away rights from same-sex couples by banning SSM. Tonight could be the first time same-sex marriage is approved by a popular vote. It is terrible that human rights are being put to a vote but these 4 states give me hope. Check out The Advocate for live coverage of all LGBTQ issues on election day.

Cannabis Legalization:

Colorado, Oregon and Washington all have ballot measures to legalize marijuana. All 3 states already have medicinal marijuana. These ballot measures have been polling positively in Washington State and Colorado, but surprisingly not in Oregon. The pro-legalization side in Colorado is called “The Colorado Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” which is exactly how legalization advocates should make their case.

Death Penalty/3 Strikes Law in California: 

2 awesome ballot measures in California are 34 and 36. 34 would get rid of the death penalty in the state of California ( I don’t think this will pass but I’m still hopeful) and 36 will get rid of California’s “three strikes” law which has lead to California’s overcrowded prisons and has been devastating for those in California living in poverty. This is the kind of regressive legislation you could see Stephen Harper’s government putting forward and I’m glad it seems to be heading for repeal.

The Plutocrat and the Bridge:

Proposal 6 in Michigan could have a profound affect on Canadian-American relations. Proposal 6 would amend Michigan’s constitution, so that if the state ever wants to build a “new international bridge or tunnel,” the whole state–and each affected municipality–would have to first hold a referendum. The Ambassador Bridge (between Detroit and Windsor) is 85 years old and is owned by one man, Manuel  Moroun. Mr. Moroun is a billionaire trucking magnate and he doesn’t want a competing bridge.  Michigan’s Republican governor Rick Snyder (as well as Canada’s government) have come out strong against this ballot measure. It is bad for trade between Canada and the United States and is the perfect example of the new politics of plutocracy that seems to have taken over parts of the United States in the new post-Citizens United world.

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