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  • Jim Townsend

A Look at the 2018 Ballot Proposals

With the November 6th election rapidly approaching, we wanted to help local readers take a closer look at the three statewide ballot proposals that will be going to voters.

The primary mission of The Portland Beacon is to is to serve as a steward of the community by educating citizens so as to encourage a more engaged and vibrant community. By no means do we mean to sway your vote one way or another, but we do want to give you the information necessary to make your best choice.

We did put a call out to readers to share their opinions as we prepared this piece, and we thank those who did.

The Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center allows voters to see a sample of their ballot. The sample ballots can be found at You will need to identify your county, jurisdiction and precinct.

The proposal language below was taken directly from the sample ballot page.

Proposal 18-1

A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers

This proposal would:

· Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

· Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.

· Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.

· Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

· Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

Proposal 18-2

A proposed constitutional amendment to establish a commission of citizens with exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and U.S. Congress, every 10 years

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

· Create a commission of 13 registered voters randomly selected by the Secretary of State:

- 4 each who self-identify as affiliated with the 2 major political parties; and

- 5 who self-identify as unaffiliated with major political parties

· Prohibit partisan officeholders and candidates, their employees, certain relatives, and lobbyists from serving as commissioners

· Establish new redistricting criteria including geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population, reflecting Michigan's diverse population and communities of interest. Districts shall not provide disproportionate advantage to political parties or candidates.

· Require an appropriation of funds for commission operations and commissioner compensation.

Proposal 18-3

A proposal to authorize automatic and Election Day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting, and straight ticket voting; and add current legal requirements for military and overseas voting and post-election audits to the Michigan Constitution

This proposed constitutional amendment would allow a United States citizen who is qualified to vote in Michigan to:

· Become automatically registered to vote when applying for, updating or renewing a driver's license or state-issued personal identification card, unless the person declines.

· Simultaneously register to vote with proof of residency and obtain a ballot during the 2-week period prior to an election, up to and including Election Day.

· Obtain an absent voter ballot without providing a reason.

· Cast a straight-ticket vote for all candidates of a particular political party when voting in a partisan general election. recently published what they called “A complete guide to Michigan's 3 ballot proposals.” You can find it at This insightful guide is well worth your time, and lists prominent individuals and organizations for and against each one.

The Detroit Free Press also posted a piece that they called, “Your guide to Michigan Election Day 2018: Key races, poll times, more”. I encourage you take check this one out as well. It can be found at

If you are looking for a bit more information on proposal 2 specifically, published “Q&A: Everything you need to know about the marijuana legalization proposal in Michigan”. This piece can be found at

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