Elections are coming up on Tuesday, and I took some time today to try and wrap my head around what I’ll see on the ballot. It ended up being a fair bit more complicated than I’d hoped. There are 8 different ballot measures this time around, and most of them are fairly complicated, with implications I don’t know that I’m fully capable of completely understanding.
This is not good.
I elect representatives to government so that they can take the time to understand the ins and outs of these issues and then vote accordingly. In multiple instances on this year’s ballot, that happened, but people didn’t like the outcome. In general, I’m not a fan of doing an end run around the political process if you don’t get things the way you want. However, it feels like more and more often, that’s what’s being done in this state. We have issues that just keep coming up again and again (and again), and there’s never any real closure to it. People just keep throwing up ballot initiatives to try and get a different result.
And in my book, the general populace will have a hard time understanding the ins and outs of most of these measures. They come with implications that will be far reaching, and they all seem to be complex enough to the point that the amount of effort people are making to simplify them feels disingenuous. In some instances, it feels like a splashy feel good wrapping that’s surrounding an “I have no real idea what this will actually do” interior.
I am not sure how I’m going to vote still, but at the moment, I’m inclined to vote against most of these, for the simple reason that the more these succeed, the more of them we’ll see. I do believe there have been instances when Maine’s government has willfully ignored the will of the people. Times when laws have been slow to be enforced, or just ignored altogether. The number of efforts it took to get ranked choice voting actually used is a prime example. So while I do think there are times when these ballot measures are needed, I feel like using them too much will be bad for our state overall.
What’s the point of even electing representatives if we end up deciding everything by a popular vote? Especially when those votes are around issues that are really complex and hard to understand? It feels like we’d be devolving to voting for class president, where it doesn’t matter so much what the person you vote for believes, but rather how much you like that person.
Usually I’d go over the different measures here on my blog and then advocate for what I think should happen with each. I don’t feel capable of doing that justice this time around, so I’ll just link to a source where you can find all that information out for yourself. Ballotpedia does a great job of compiling all the information about each.