Election 2016

The Rest of Your Ballot

Down ballot races matter too.

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The presidency isn't the only choice next week. There are more issues than "Who's worse, Trump or Clinton?"

Other important things are on the ballot.

Congressional elections may determine whether Obamacare lives or dies.

Electionbettingodds.com currently says Republicans will hold the House but lose the Senate. But it's close.

And politicians aren't the whole story.

In Kansas and Indiana, voters will decide whether the "right to hunt and fish" should be protected by their state constitutions. Advocates say such a right is needed because zealots will keep inventing "endangered" species and new gun restrictions until most hunting and fishing is impossible.

For similar reasons, Oklahoma voters will vote on a ballot measure guaranteeing a "right to farm."

Several states will allow voters to punish their neighbors on Tuesday by imposing "sin" taxes. Politicians like taxing "sin" because it gives them money while letting them claim that they discourage bad behavior.

So, four states offer ballot measures that would raise tobacco taxes.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey vote on whether to expand legal gambling, but only state-run gambling. In Rhode Island, 61 percent of the revenue will be kept by the state. State-run gambling is always a bad bet, but government will really screw you in Rhode Island.

I'm surprised politicians stop at gambling and don't tax all the Bible's deadly sins: pride, envy, lust, etc. Probably because politicians don't want to tax themselves.

Californians will vote on expansion of a counterproductive rule: a ban on plastic bags. Its supporters say it reduces litter and protects oceans and wildlife. As usual, the zealots ignore science, convenience and health.

A canvas reusable bag must be used 131 times before it will compensate for the minor environmental impact of plastic bags.

Most reusable bags get contaminated by bacteria. The government tells us to carefully wash reusable bags, but almost no one does.

So California voters are likely to vote themselves increased health risk, bad smells and higher costs—for no real environmental benefit.

In Massachusetts, voters are likely to prohibit keeping pigs, calves and hens in spaces where they "can't lie down or turn around freely." This may improve animals' lives. I write "may" because more space also leads to more fighting—even cannibalism—among animals.

But the new law will triple the amount of space farmers need. That raises costs. Egg prices increased 22 percent after California passed such a law.

On Tuesday, Washington may vote to impose a carbon tax on itself. It won't have a noticeable effect on climate change, but it will make enviro-zealots feel better.

Fortunately, Tuesday also offers voters some good choices. Nevada voters may choose to open their state's energy market to competition. Competition lowers costs. I was surprised to see that unions oppose that. Do unions now oppose everything that's good?

Four states will get to vote on legalizing medical marijuana, and five vote on whether to legalize weed for all adults. The betting suggests that most of these measures will pass.

These are issues Americans disagree about—and it's good we don't have to wait for Washington, D.C., to reach agreement about them. Innovation often comes from state experiments.

Abortion and gay marriage were first legalized by states. Likewise, women first got the vote in Wyoming. Only after that did other states, and the federal government, follow.

James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution, would have approved. He wanted leeway given to state governments. In the Federalist Papers, in words that would be partly echoed in the Constitution, Madison wrote, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."

Since then, arrogant presidents and other federal officials have taken powers from the states. That leaves Americans fewer choices.

But the states will prove again on Tuesday that they still have a say, even if we're stuck with President Hillary Clinton for the next four (or eight?! please no!) years.

COPYRIGHT 2016 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

NEXT: Clinton Lies About Lying About Her Lies

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  1. I just went over my local ballot. It was easy.

    1. Provide by law qualifications for the Registrar of Voters. Yeah, I don’t want someone’s Labrador Retriever appointed.

    2. Have unaccountable bureaucrats set tuition and fees without legislative approval. Hell no.

    3. Deduct Fed corp tax from State corp tax. Yes. Less money for the state.

    4. If killed in the line of any kind of public service that person’s family exempt from property tax forever. Yes. No explanation needed.

    5. Two amendments limiting the ways and amounts state funds can be used. Yes.

    6. For all the people running for office I am voting straight R except for court of appeals. I know the D and he is a good guy.

    1. “”””1. Provide by law qualifications for the Registrar of Voters. Yeah, I don’t want someone’s Labrador Retriever appointed.”””

      Since the Registrar of Voters is usually the dumping ground of any relative or crony of the local politicians who is too stupid or lazy to be put in charge of garbage collection then a Labrador Retriever might be a better choice.

      1. You may have a point there.

        *strokes chin thoughtfully*

        1. I’d vote for this “Labrador Retriever”.

          TW: Phone recording of a recording.

    2. 4. I’d need some definitions. What is “public service”? What constitutes “family”? Forever is a long time and “family” can expand over generations.

    3. Number 4 may require a bit more thought. Yet another exception carved out for a special interest group. Also, think of all the people and circumstances this may cover. There is a greater than zero number of criminals in that group, but you can rest assured that every single cop’s family will get that benefit regardless of the circumstances of their service or death.

      1. ^This^

        I’d vote “no” on that one, personally.

    4. I’ll push back on number 4. The meter maid who gets clipped by a car, the cop who participates in a no knock raid on a guy with tomato plants, the cop who needlessly escalated a situation that could have been resolved by arresting the guy at work the next day, the politician who has a cardiac while giving a speech, the list goes on.

  2. My ballot questions.
    Question 1 would allow the Gaming Commission to issue an additional slots license. I don’t care.

    Question 2 would authorize the approval of up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education per year. Teachers’ unions say vote no, so I’ll vote yes.

    Question 3 would prohibit certain methods of farm animal containment. NO!!!!

    Question 4 would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old. Yes, but this state will fuck it up somehow.

    1. The only reason why I am even bothering to show up is for Question 3: if that law passes food prices will go up. I fucking hate the people supporting it.

      The others I don’t feel strongly about since
      – 1 and 2 are essentially state grants of special licenses to do business, like taxicab medallions. More medallions are better than fewer, I guess.

      – 4 It’s good to decrim posession. But they’ll still go after people who engage in commerce. It’s a big nothingburger.

  3. But the states will prove again on Tuesday that they still have a say, even if we’re though we’re going to be stuck with President Hillary Clinton for the next four (or eight?! please no!) years.

    Fixed that sentence, and I don’t share Mr Stossel’s optimism about states’ rights, but I’m going keep my breath held anyway and hope for the best….

  4. Down-ballot statewide LP candidates need votes from capital-L and small-l libertarians for the LP to maintain ballot status in the next election cycle.

    I’m so disgusted with Johnson/Weld’s refusal to campaign against their opponents (other than conservatives of pretty much every variety) that I really don’t care whether people vote for those bozos. People who are old friends with life-long bonds to a meddlesome leftist war-monger, and who characterize a nanny-statist, crony capitalist political grifter as a “wonderful public servant,” have no business getting the LP nomination and don’t really deserve your vote. Many of the statewide candidates, on the other hand, are genuine libertarians and do deserve your vote.

    1. **SLOW CLAP**
      **STAND UP**

      Well said

    2. Say word. Fuck ’em. Weld mostly, but Johnson a little bit, too. Gotta say, I’m not exactly bowled over by the LP’s national strategy this time around. I’m not sure if that’s because of LP leadership or because of LP membership. Based on the hijinks at the Libertarian National Convention (seriously, wtf?) I’m worried that it’s the former. Worrisome because I genuinely have believed that the LP could be a real force for increasing liberty in this country, but if it’s basically just an excuse for neckbeards to have conventions then I’d rather not waste any more time or money with it.

      1. I’m gonna MISS this guy, but mainly I’ll miss the whining. I kinda miss McAfee’s flouncing act too. But the guy has a good microphone voice, so I hope nobody else’ll have him and he comes back.

  5. I’m pretty bummed, I live in NY and NY doesn’t have referendums or ballet initiatives. That and NY politics is basically the personification of everything that can go wrong with a government, short of complete collapse leading to civil war.

  6. It’d be funny if Trump’s more rabid voters end up blessing the Clinton ascendency with a Democratic Congress.

  7. Grants courts the authority to deny bail in some felony cases

    Nope.

    Issues bonds for senior citizen facility improvements

    Nope.

    Issues bonds for academic and public library resource acquisitions

    Nope.

    Issues bonds for higher education and school improvements

    Nope.

    Issues bonds for public safety improvements

    Nope.

  8. My state only has two sadly:

    Raise minimum Wage: No,
    Complex Marijuana Initiative: Begrudging Yes.

    1. BenG – My state too – Complex Marijuana Initiative: Begrudging Yes.

      taxing and regulating a plant – it reads like a prog’s wet dream passed by central committee

    2. Can you roll a joint out of flag papers?

  9. Alabama Elections: Come to vote for president, stay to vote on fourteen !@#$ing constitutional amendments

    (I’m not joking, it’s 14)

  10. Washington’s carbon tax proposal also reduces the sales tax. Would you rather tax retail transactions or an externality?

  11. Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

    The fucking progs fixed that

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are ….numerous and indefinite.”

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  13. So “we don’t grow marijuana in Muskogee” is losing to “the grass is always greener in the other fellow’s yard”?
    Can I get a permit in Indiana to hunt snail darters on full auto?
    Who says the LP is not making a difference in the laws?!

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