Breakdown of the three proposals on the Michigan ballot
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – While the races heat up in the state of Michigan, voters are also contending with a series of ballot proposals that will greatly impact state policy for every Michigan resident.
There are three proposals on the ballot this year:
Proposal 1 — the Legislative Term Limits and Financial Disclosure Amendment — would amend a previous article in the state’s constitution, which previously set term limits for state representatives and senators at three, two-year terms and two, four-year terms, for a total of six and eight years in office, respectively.
However, a legislator could theoretically serve 14 years in office, if they served as a representative and then as a senator, or vice-versa.
But if passed, this proposal would limit terms for both representatives and senators to a total of 12 years in office, meaning they could serve 12 years in as a representative or a senator, thought they would not be able to continue serving as a state legislator for more than 12 years in office.
This proposal would also require state officials to file annual financial reports, disclosing their income, assets, positions in other businesses or organizations and any agreements made on future employment, adding more transparency among candidates.
Political Science Professor Tiffany Bohm told ABC57 that this proposal could help voters make more informed choices about their candidates, but being able to serve longer as a state representative or senator could turn some voters away from the proposal.
“I think an opportunity for term limits allows voters to say ‘hey look, we want to get new people in there, fresh faces that may want to be more accountable to voters,’ the actual constituents of their districts,” said Bohm. “The challenge to that is when you have very short-term limits—it’s very difficult for officials to get anything done.”
Proposal 2 — the Voting Policies in Constitution Amendment — if passed, would have the state create more absentee ballot drop boxes, as well as fund prepaid stamps for absentee ballot voters, and count all absentee ballots sent through the mail, provided they were posted by Election Day, and received within six days.
This proposal would also mandate a nine day early voting period and help provide expanded election security by making election audits public.
Tiffany Bohm said that elections are still secure in their current state, but this proposal could potentially bring some reassurance to those who are concerned about the integrity of the election process.
“Right now we have election judges, people who go in from both parties and the clerk’s office and it’s very secure and responsible now, but it’s just kind of behind the curtain,” said Bohm. “And so, when it becomes public, the public-- I believe-- will have access to see how it’s counted, but your vote is private. Your name and information and how you vote cannot be made public, legally. So, I think just the process and maybe seeing people do it is going to be the focus of the publicity—or transparency, I should say.”
Proposal 3 — the Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative — if voted in—would protect “the individual right to reproductive freedom, including the right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion.”
This proposal would give the state the right to regulate some abortive procedures, but would not prohibit it as a medically necessary procedure, such as if it would affect the life of the mother, and all previous laws on abortion that conflict with this proposal would be invalidated.
It would also give individuals the right to make their own decisions regarding other reproductive rights, such as contraception, sterilization, miscarriages and infertility.
If passed, these rights would then be protected by the state’s constitution.
Professor Bohm said of the three proposals on Michigan’s ballot, Proposal 3 may have created the most controversy among voters, and that controversy may have created some misinformation about it.
“It’s also probably—of the three proposals—the one that’s got the most misinformation, or the potential for misinformation,” she said. “I recommend that voters really read the exact measure, word for word, because I’ve definitely seen some posts out there that present some inaccuracies that take some liberties with the wording.”