Sunday, November 01, 2020

Extra questions on US ballot papers

 I heard that as well as voting for a President? not a party? in the US, there are what we call referendum questions on ballot papers. I picked up a few from state ballot papers.

Oregon asked, differently phrased of course, but should magic mushrooms be legal to consume? I can envisage a lot of creative art and music coming out of Oregon, none of which I will understand.

Rhode Island is officially called The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Oh, the word plantations is going to kick some people off. Better it is dropped. We won't mention the N word.

Colorado asks should the grey wolf be reintroduced to the Rocky Mountains? Of course it should. Nature's balance and all that, but farmers will bleat like sheep.

I heard an interesting question for those in Washington DC, which was actually a city question. It was so interesting, I have forgotten what it was.

One state (Georgia?) has the confederate flag within its flag and the proposal is to change it to an image of a magnolia bloom. What a great idea. 

Citizens of the US unite and tell me what some of your ballot questions are and of course which state you are in.

 

40 comments:

  1. How fascinating. I really look forward to reading the answers to this one.
    Thanks Andrew.

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    1. EC, they must all be asleep in in the US now.

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  2. It's a major election. I don't think those questions are appropriate.

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    1. River, in a way I agree with you. Some of them should have just been done by appropriate government departments, but it is not our country.

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    2. Lynn Marie9:18 pm

      In the US, we have separate ballots for federal, state, and local elections. The state and local ballots may include various referenda as well as electing officials. The ballots for the different levels are separate and counted separately. The referendum issues may or may not happen to come up during a presidential election or not. You can't hold off state and local elections just because a presidential election happens to be going on at the same time.

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    3. LM, as do we, on different dates. You are only voting for federal elections this time. State and local elections will be separate on other days? Ok, your last sentence tells me they are separate but could coincide.

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    4. Actually, I don't think this is true in all areas. In Florida, we had a single ballot all on one page, but it included federal and local races (judges and school board mostly) as well as the referenda. Maybe it depends on the locality.

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  3. I had no idea they would have extra questions on the US ballot papers. I just want it done and over with!

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  4. I didn't know there were different questions in different area...Interesting.

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    1. Margaret, while it is a Federal election, it is conducted by the states in their own different ways.

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  5. Is Nevada the N word you mentioned? I'm just off for an S word.

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    1. YP, of course that is what I meant. S? Slash?

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    2. Shower then. Good to be clean.

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  6. Lynn Marie9:12 pm

    In the 6 New England states, the word "plantation" refers to a geographical and civil unit of land, like a township, range, acre or hectare. It has nothing to do with the large farms in the southern US that profited from enslaved laborers.

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    1. Thanks Lynn Marie. Sorry for my ignorance but is Rhode Island a New England state?

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    2. Lynn Marie6:47 am

      We were doing very well here in Maine compared to the rest of the country until this week when cases suddenly started doubling every day. Good Democratic governor at this time and I hope she will continue to lead us through. To answer your original question, we were the first US state that allowed gay marriage via a ballot referendum (or "extra question" as people here are calling them) rather than through legislative action. Ranked choice voting in Maine was also approved via direct citizen referendum and we are using that system in the current election for the first time, the only US state to do so. I think you showed us the way on that one!

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  7. Lynn Marie9:23 pm

    Yes it is. Sorry, I realized after publishing that I'd left that out. New England is that 6-state region in the very northeast corner of the US (east of New York state). Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts (where Boston is located), Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

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    1. Great LM. I likes to be edjicated. 😀 How well has Maine done with COVID! Strong Democrat Governor?

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  8. Our State and Local elections are not until I think it's February or March, when we have our Town Meetings. So for us, it's just the National, as well as the Senate and Congressional Elections. (Yes, Governor and State Senate Seats.)

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  9. We get one ballot, with federal state and local candidates and ballot initiatives. The state ballot initiatives are citizen led attempts to change something in the state. They require a massive number of legit citizen signatures collected in a certain time frame to make the ballot. Often they come with a price tag but no way to fund them, if they pass. Besides the initiative legalizing magic mushrooms for certain disorders including end of life anxiety, PTSD and depression, there was an initiative that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of certain drugs in possession and instead offer up treatment and housing, to the offender. There was a local yes or no bond initiative to continue funding the local sheriff's department (at a higher level than they would receive without the bond from county funds). This area NEVER says no to a law enforcement funding bond, which is one reason our local property taxes are the highest per capita in the state of Oregon. Then we had to choose from a variety of local, state and of course federal candidates. I voted two weeks ago, after I first got my mail in ballot. The election is over for me. Many people are stocking up again, in case of post election violence. One only has to look at what happened in Texas, with Trump supporters surrounding a Biden campaign bus, in attempts to slow it down and perhaps run it off the road, to agree there is the possibility of violence, post election. What did Trump say when he heard about the incident? Was it to urge his supporters to be peaceful? Nope. It was "I love Texas."

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    1. Thanks Strayer. Most interesting. #45 never relents, does he. What disgrace.

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  10. Generally speaking, all elections for officeholders, be they federal, state, county, or municipal, are held on the first Tuesday in November. That's not to say every president, congressman, governor, state representative, mayor, city councilman and judge is up for reelection on that date every year. In November 2021, any elections held will strictly be on the county or city level. In November, 2022 (assuming there's not a coup in the meantime) are what we Yanks call the mid-terms. The entire House of Representatives will be up for reelection, as well as some senators and governors, but not the president. In November 2023, it again will be mostly on the local level, fixing potholes and the like being the major issues of the day. Finally, in November 2024, another presidential election. The state referendums you mention can be found on ballots in the same years as presidential or midterm elections. Here in Ohio I don't recall ever seeing one in an odd-numbered year, but I could be wrong. There are also municipal referendums and rezoning requests and bond issues and renewal of taxes for things like libraries and parks that can appear on the ballot at any time. Speaking for myself, I like being able to vote for all those people and things on the same day. It's convenient.

    Outside of November, there are also primary elections, i.e., intraparty elections to see who will run in the general election. Those are usually held in the spring.

    We don't vote for the political party in the USA because political parties didn't really exist at the time the Constitution was written and therefor not mentioned in the Constitution. Oh, sure, there were people almost from the very beginning who referred to themselves as "Federalists" or "Republicans" (not the present-day Republicans) but it was all very loosely organized, those people belonging more to movements than parties. It wasn't until the formation of the Democratic Party in the 1820s (the same one we have now though much less hostile to "big government" than it once was) that you get something that resembles an organized, hierarchal, modern-day political party.

    As for having seemingly trivial questions about magic mushrooms and the use of the word "plantation" on ballots during an important election such as this, not everyone agrees it's an important election, not everyone agrees it's a pivotal moment in American history. Some people don't even vote, thinking it doesn't matter who's president. For the record, I am someone who thinks it IS an important election, maybe the most important in my lifetime, but have a difficult time getting through to someone who waves their hand dismissively and says, "Who cares? All politicians are crooks."

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    1. Very detailed Kirk. Thanks. I too get annoyed by those who have the attitude you mention in your last line.

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  11. In the state of Virginia there were two ballot initiatives, one expanding property tax exemptions for disabled veterans, and one changing the way congressional districts are changed. We get one ballot for all issues on the election, federal offices, state ballot questions, state and local offices that are open at the same time as the federal general election. The lower house of Congress (the House of Representatives) are on a two year term, the upper house (the Senate) is on a six year term with 1/3rd of them up each two years. Each state has 2 Senators, the number of House Members is based on population, varies from state to state, and changes every ten-years based on census counts.

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    1. Travel, aside from the Senate, you say the HoR has numbers based on state populations, so why do I hear Wyoming has the same voting power as California in the HoR, or do I have that wrong.

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  12. Maryland. We had several questions which mainly had to do with funding this or that. I voted yes on all.

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  13. Also, VERY ANNOYING. Our governor, Republican Larry Hogan, whom I kind of like, threw away his vote. We all know he is no fan of Trump, but he refused to vote for Biden and instead wrote in Ronald Reagan's name. I guess this means he's thrown his hat in the ring for 2024, because it seems like nothing more than grandstanding. Otherwise, why TRUMPet it? The turkey was under no obligation to tell anyone how he had voted.

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    1. Cynthia, that is so irresponsible. How can he expect people to vote seriously when he doesn't. Maybe he will get his when someone writes Duck, Donald on the ballot for his election.

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  14. Should red wine be free for the over-70's? French ballot paper 2020. Answer; yes, of course!

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    1. Cro, you are joking?

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    2. Over 70s in France, free wine for you that the world refuses to drink because it is so bad.

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  15. American politics do my head in Andrew, they really should do away with the current Constitution, the amendments are so out of date as to be ridiculous! Their voting system seems unnecessarily complicated and therefore far too many states.. I think that's all 😁

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  16. That was they have far to many states 😉

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  17. Florida had a bunch of them but as I recall they weren't very interesting!

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    1. Ok Steve. I've probably tried people's patience enough anyway.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.