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Ballot initiatives for the 2022 election include voting, gun control and abortion

Ballot initiatives for the 2022 election include voting, gun control and abortion

In Connecticut, voters will decide on Tuesday whether to allow early voting. In Michigan, residents are weighing measures that supporters say will make it easier to vote.

In Arizona, the proposal would add ID requirements at the polls — a move supporters say would strengthen voting integrity in a state where many conservatives are still in denial about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

As people go to the polls in elections that will determine the balance of power in Congress, they will also be voting on the ballot itself.

Ballot initiatives in many states touch on some of the most divisive issues in the country, including abortion rights and gun restrictions. And the flurry of proposals reflects the unease that remains after the 2020 presidential race, when former President Donald J. Trump made efforts to reverse his loss and mobilize his supporters by spreading baseless claims of a stolen election.

The Republican-led initiatives respond to those concerns, and supporters say they are needed to add security to the election process. But critics — including President Biden — say the proposals are part of a broader effort to prevent access to voting and weaken the country’s electoral system, with Mr. Biden warning last week that “American democracy is under attack.”

In Arizona, where the Republican candidates for the US Senate and the governor were jostling ban the use of electronic voting machines and dismantle the state’s popular vote-by-mail system, one proposal would require photo identification if voting in person and an affidavit with your date of birth and driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number if voting by mail. (Currently, to vote in person, a tenant needs two documents with their name and address, such as a phone bill or vehicle registration.)

Critics say such efforts don’t make voting safer, they just create more obstacles.

It’s a similar debate takes place in Michiganhow voters feel about the initiative, called Proposition 2, which would allow nine days of early voting (the state currently has no open polls for it) and increase access to absentee voting.

“We need to create a voting system that provides safe options for voters, equal access to the polls, and ensures that all of our voices are heard when it comes time to vote,” said Khalilah Spencer, president of Promote the Vote, a group that supports the effort as the campaign for Proposition 2 started this year.

But Secure MI Vote, an opposing group, said, “If Proposition 2 wins in November, elections will never be secure again.”

The initiative in Ohio aims to thwart any attempt to allow people who are not citizens of the United States to vote in local elections. It is intended to counter efforts elsewhere, including New York City, to allow legal permanent residents and persons authorized to work in the United States to vote in city-level races. A similar proposal is for the Louisiana ballot on the Dec. 10 ballot.

Other measures offer an opportunity to take the nation’s temperature on a range of other contentious issues.

Several states, including California, Kentucky, Michigan and Vermont, have measures that will either protect or limit it access to abortion.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Maryland have ballot measures legalizing marijuana. In Colorado, which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, voters are deciding whether to decriminalize the psychedelic mushroom and allow limited access to those 21 and older. (Oregon is the only other state that has embarked on the widespread legalization of psychedelics.)

In Iowa, the initiative proposes establishing the right to arms in the amendment the state constitution, which stipulates that the ability of residents “to keep and bear arms shall not be impaired”.

Oregon, however, could become one of the states with the strictest gun restrictions voters are weighing the measure it would require people trying to get a permit to pass a background check, submit fingerprints, pay a fee and enroll in a safety course. Supporters say the measure could save lives by reducing gun violence, but opponents say the proposal would not limit the effect of illegal firearms.

Five states — Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont — also have yes ballot propositions would prohibit slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for persons convicted of crimes. (Similar measures were passed in Colorado in 2018 and in Nebraska and Utah in 2020.)

If it becomes outlawed, inmates could challenge the practice of forced labor for which they are paid pennies an hour, if anything at all. Report published this year The American Civil Liberties Union found that prisoners produce more than $2 billion in goods annually and provide more than $9 billion in services while being paid an average of 13 to 52 cents an hour.

Alaska, Missouri and New Hampshire will also ask on the ballot this year whether residents want to call a convention to revise or amend their state constitutions — a question automatically posed to residents at regular intervals, usually every 10 or 20 years, depending on the state.

More broadly, many states are considering initiatives not only on access to polling stations but also on the process by which elections are conducted.

Nevada voters will decide whether to move the state into it system of open primaries in which the five candidates with the best results go to the general election, regardless of party.

There is a ballot initiative in Arkansas. The issue before voters is to raise the requirement that statewide ballot initiatives pass with a 60 percent simple majority vote.

Supermajority mandates have been campaigned across the country in recent years — and indeed, as long as such ballot initiatives have existed — because each party in power sees them as a tool that can be used to undermine its influence. “It goes beyond partisanship because it’s really about who controls the state government,” said Daniel Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida.

Comparable measures had different results at the polls. In June, South Dakota voted on a proposal to require 60 percent support to pass a statewide initiative; 67 percent of voters said no.



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