Late last week, I speculated that voter fatigue was really starting to set in over this year’s unpredictable and unprecedented Presidential campaign. Twenty-four hours later the Washington Post dropped the Access Hollywood video bombshell.
November 8 can’t get here fast enough for most of us.
The problem with focusing on the madness at the top of the ticket is that it distracts voters from electoral contests that will impact our lives in more immediate and local ways. The November election isn’t just about Clinton and Trump. It includes elections for all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 34 seats in the Senate.
At the state level, 93 state executive officers will be elected including 12 governors and 10 attorneys general. Eighty percent of the country’s state legislative seats are up for election – that’s nearly 6,000 representatives being chosen across the country. 235 judges will be elected in 34 states. These are individuals who make decisions every day that shape the direction of our communities and this country.
Of particular interest for those of us who support progressive and responsible marijuana policy, five states -- Arizona, California, Maine , Massachusetts, and Nevada – have put forth ballot measures that would see them join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. As of the end of September, the ‘Yes’ vote was leading in all five states.
But these ballot measures are important beyond their own individual states; they’ll help redraw the map on legalization in the United States. “Yes” votes in Maine and Massachusetts would open the door for legalization in other northeastern states such as Vermont and New Hampshire where similar initiatives would need to be led by state legislators in the absence of a ballot measure process. Success in California will be critically important to keep momentum going on legalized marijuana across the country.
Over on the Civilized Ballot 2016 political hub, we are breaking down the details and rounding up the latest news on each of these ballot questions. I hope you’ll check it out. If you live in a state with a ballot measure, please support it and no matter which state you live in, on November 8, please get out and make your voice heard.
Derek Riedle is the founder and publisher of Civilized.