If you’re not completely unplugged from all forms of communication, then you know that the mid-terms are coming up this November. And these ones are important, to put it lightly. It’s no secret that a lot is at stake this upcoming election. After the surprising results of the 2016 election, so many prominent personalities have made it their personal mission to spread the word that voting is the most powerful way that we as citizens can make a difference. But with all this talk of politicians and campaigns, it’s easy to forget that many of us not only vote for representation to enact legislation, but some of us must decide on the legislation itself.
What we’re talking about here are Ballot Measures–155 proposals that voters in 37 states will decide upon in November.
Actress/activist @AmericaFerrera knows not everyone has the right to vote, so those who do must make their voices heard. Make your plan to vote before November 6th by clicking here: https://t.co/lzGCXxS2y4 pic.twitter.com/Vw5tHY9iSB
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 21, 2018
It can be hard to keep up with all the complicated jargon in current affairs, so to put it simply, ballot measures are pieces of proposed legislation that we, as voters, have the power to approve or reject. The coolest thing about ballot measures is that Americans can practice direct democracy when voting for or against these proposals–there’s no “middle man”, so to speak. If you believe in something on the ballot, all it takes is a check mark for you to make your voice heard.
In the past, Americans have used the power of their vote to legalize marijuana, same-sex marriage, and expand abortion access. That is why it is so important to educate yourself, not just on the representatives you’ll vote for, but the ballot measures that will show up on your ticket.
Take a look below to find out more about this year’s ballot initiatives and their corresponding states so you can be completely confident when you check that box!
— Gabriela Carrero (@gmcarrer) October 29, 2018
If you’re fed up with paying taxes on feminine products when other male-centric products related to sexual health (like condoms and Viagra) are un-taxed, then pay attention to Question 2 on Nevada’s 2018 ballot measures. This proposal will exempt tampons and pads from state and local sales taxes. This is an issue that many Latinas are very passionate about.
On a more controversial note, three states will also be prime battleground for advocates and opponents of reproductive rights. In both West Virginia and Alabama, legislators have introduced ballot measures that, if approved, will completely criminalize abortion in the event that Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Criminalization of abortion to this extent could send women who have done the procedure to jail.
Additionally, Oregon has proposed legislation to prohibit public funds from being spent on abortions, except when “medically necessary or required by federal law”.
All of these measures have the potential to affect Latinas directly, especially those of low-income households and those too young to access reliable methods of birth control.
— Dr. Rebecca Martinez (@BeckyGMartinez) October 14, 2018
Like the nine other states before them, North Dakota and Michigan have introduced ballot measures proposing the full legalization of recreational marijuana. Additionally, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah have introduced proposals for the legalization of medical marijuana, which, if approved, will have them joining the 30 other states where medical marijuana is already legal.
Considering how Latinos and other people of color are disproportionately affected by drug-related arrests, marijuana legalization is an issue that may be near and dear to the hearts of many Latinas.
Immigration and Immigrants’ Rights
— Jazmin Luna ???? (@JMeraRodriguez) October 29, 2018
If you’re a Latina living in Florida, educating yourself on the ins and outs of 2018’s Amendment 11 is a necessity before you cast your vote. According to Ballotpedia, the passage of Amendment 11 would delete the language in Florida’s constitution that prevents non-citizens from owning property. However, wrapped up in the proposal is the repeal of the requirement for a high-speed rail and reduce penalties for crimes committed before a law has been changed via legislation. This is one of the more complicated measures and if you’re a Florida resident, it would be in your best interest to do some research of your own and draw your own conclusions!
In Oregon, Measure 105, or the “Repeal Sanctuary State Law Initiative”, hopes to repeal the current law (the Sanctuary State Law) that forbids state resources from aiding in the apprehension of undocumented immigrants. A “yes” vote on this measure would support the repeal of Oregon’s sanctuary state law. A “no” vote would keep the status of Oregon as a sanctuary state status as is.
— ????✌Gaby???????? (@gabyserrano817) October 27, 2018
Although you may have never heard of it, Marsy’s Law (aka the “Victims’ Rights Amendment”) will be a ballot measure in six states this November–Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Named after Marsy Nichols, who was murdered in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend, the law aims to provide guaranteed constitutional rights to crime victims. Some of these rights include the right to be notified about and present at proceedings, the right to be heard at proceedings and the right to be notified about the release or escape of the accused.
If you feel better-informed now, then we’ve done our jobs! Go out and vote on November 6th and make your voz heard!