While the Presidential election is getting most of the nation’s attention, there are many state and local ballot issues that affect who gets to vote. One of those measures, San Francisco’s Proposition G, would allow city residents “to vote for local candidates and local ballot measures if they are U.S. citizens, at least 16 years old and registered to vote.”
A similar initiative failed in 2016, in a vote of 52.1% to 47.9%. In June, the city’s supervisors voted unanimously to put Prop G on the ballot. In addition to the Board of Supervisors, the measure is supported by individuals and groups such as the San Francisco’s Mayor, Democratic Party, League Of Women Voters, Green Party and Bicycle Coalition.
In a joint statement, Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors said: “Undeniably, 16 and 17 year olds [sic] are impacted by the decisions we make at the ballot box around education, transportation, housing, policing, and economic development. They have also been at the forefront of local, national, and global movements to advance civil and human rights, address inequality, end gun violence, reform our criminal justice system, and confront climate change. 16 and 17 year olds possess the same level of civic knowledge as 21 year olds, [sic] and they have demonstrated equal levels of political skill and activism.”
A variety of state measures would also affect who votes, including ones that restore voting rights to felons on parole, restrict voting to U.S. citizens, and award a state’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
- SB 313 – Citizenship Requirement for Voting Amendment: Amends the state constitution to specify that “only a citizen of the United States” can vote in Alabama.
- Proposition 17 – Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole: Restores the right to vote to people convicted of felonies who are on parole. The California Constitution does not allow people with felonies to vote until their parole is completed.
- Proposition 18 – Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment: allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primaries and special elections. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already allow this.
- Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative: Amends the Colorado Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. can vote in federal, state, and local elections, instead of the existing language that says “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote.
- National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Referendum (NVIPC): Joins Colorado into the NVIPC, awarding Colorado’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, if states representing 270 electoral votes adopt the compact. The state legislature passed this, but the law is on hold until after the vote on this referendum.
- Amendment 1: Places language in the state Constitution stating that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local or school elections
Other states have ballot initiatives that don’t affect who votes, but they would affect how elections are decided. Alaska and Massachusetts have “ranked-choice voting” (RCV) on the ballot, with the Alaska initiative also changing campaign financing laws.
According to Ballotpedia: “RCV is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.” RCV has been adopted in a number of states and municipalities.
Ballotpedia reports, “Voters in 32 states will decide 120 statewide ballot measures on November 3, 2020.” Voters will make decisions about important issues such as policing, taxes, marijuana, gambling, sex education and protecting the unborn. Many of these affect life, marriages, churches, families and local communities. We encourage you to vote your Christian values in this important election.
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