If you live in America, and if you’re not getting bombed right now, there’s a good chance you do, tomorrow’s a big day. Not only is it Taco Tuesday, it’s also mid-term election day. That means you get to go to the polls, wait in line, then check off the name of the person whose crazy ads offended you the least–if you feel like going at all.
But honestly, choosing our leaders isn’t as important as the ballot issues that are coming up. These things rarely have the kind of publicity as the people crazy enough to want to hold elected office. Plus, ballot issues don’t have egos they need stroked by public approval every few years. The only time you hear about ballot issues is when some faith group gets involved (read: anything related to abortion or marriage equality).
So to make sure you’re prepared tomorrow, here’s a quick overview of the ballot measures you may see tomorrow, and how to vote on them.
Issue: Whether to outlaw placing baited bags and other containers when hunting black bears (Maine)
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this issue is the most important of the election. The eyes of the world are going to be on this one. Have you ever been to a part of Maine that isn’t the beach? Of course not. It’s miserable forests packed with all sorts of wildlife that can kill you, like giant mosquitoes. Plus, it’s got long winters with heavy snowfall. It’s like Minnesota with mountains. The people who live there are loggers or dregs of New England, and they positively hate everything else in the state. If these survivalists want to sit around waiting for a bear to check out the doughnuts they left sitting out for them. I have no problem with that.
How to vote: No.
Issue: Whether to legalize the use of marijuana (Alaska, Oregon, D.C.)
Much like creating a holiday about trees and ending child labor were in the 20th century, this is the “cool” issue to support today. California has OK’d medical use, Colorado has basically swung wide its doors to the reefer industry. So far, neither of those places have descended into madness. That means it’s going to happen in your state, too. It’s still a federal crime, so that makes it all moot if a federal officer happens to stop you. It’s never been my thing, but what the hell.
How to vote: Yes, dude.
Issue: Whether to increase minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota)
The last time I made minimum wage I was in high school. When you’ve got free room and board, $7.25 seems like a pretty decent wage. Granted, that was more than a decade ago, but the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since then. Seems like a good idea for states to do it themselves. However, if the lowest paid workers make a little bit more, that means I don’t really make as much more than them as I used to. I worked hard to look down on people from the middle. Let’s not ruin that.
How to vote: No.
Issue: Whether to create a hospital stabilization fund (Louisiana)
Louisiana hospitals aren’t stable? Is this because of all the swampland down there? Anyway, let’s make sure hospitals are on stable ground. In the meantime, don’t get sick in Louisiana.
How to vote: Yes.
Issue: Require background checks for everyone who buys a gun, not require anything more in a background check than what is federally required (Washington)
There are two measures in Washington state about gun control, and they propose to do opposing things. One would require that everyone who wants to buy a gun in the state to go through a background check, because this apparently isn’t already the case for some stupid reason. The other wants the state to require no more restrictions on buying firearms than what the federal government makes them do already, which is jack, unless you’re a felon. It’s like taking a test and getting the same question phrased two different ways. Only thing is that you can vote for both more background checks and no new background checks at the same time. There’s a very real chance that two contradictory ballot issues will pass at the same time. Have fun with that one, voters who enjoy irony!
How to vote: There are only wrong answers here.