Miles: This November, mind the issues, remember number 2

The Salt Pile

Once again election season is upon us. Come Nov. 3, voters across the country will come out in droves to voice their opinions and help drive our country forward. Or, taking into account past years at least, only 30 percent of Ohioans will be at the ballot and that is an absolute shame.

It may not be the critical presidential election year quite yet, but every single person that reads this ought to go to the ballot box in a few days. The issues on the ballot could affect the development of Ohio for years to come.

Issue 3 has received the most attention, both from lawmakers and the media at large, due to the fact that recreational marijuana is a hot issue throughout the country right now. For the unaware, the short version is that Issue 3 will legalize recreational marijuana usage in Ohio. As always, though, there’s a catch; only 10 facilities will have the legal right to manufacture the product, effectively creating a monopoly in the state. This has sparked contentious debate, and excellent points have been made for both sides. In fact many of these arguments have been featured in The Observer.

In my opinion, however, the most important part of this year’s ballot is actually Issue 2. Issue 2, officially known as the proposed Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment, would amend the Ohio Constitution to allow the Ohio Ballot Board to evaluate proposed amendments. Specifically, the ballot board would prohibit petitioners from sponsoring amendments that would “create a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel” for the sale or manufacture of goods. If the five-member board finds the proposition in violation of this principle, it puts two questions in front of voters, which in effect ask if this amendment should be granted an exemption. Both questions must be approved by voters, with a majority, for the amendment to pass.

On the surface, this feels like an innocent idea, one that simply limits the influence of special interest groups on the Ohio economy. However opponents of Issue 2 have noted that the vagueness of the bill could very easily be misappropriated, and that the Ohio Ballot Board could effectively shut down unwanted petitions, sending them into a “political black hole,” as it were. It is also important to note that the Secretary of State appoints all five members of this panel. It is not difficult to envision incredibly undemocratic scenarios that could result from this arrangement.

On the other hand, it is very possible that this bill is as innocent as it appears. Issue 3 has its own fair share of problems and Issue 2 passing would definitely resolve quite a lot of them. The point here is that these issues, and in particular Issue 2, are important, and they will affect a large portion of the campus community in some way or another.

Just because we aren’t seeing a new face in the White House doesn’t mean that it’s safe to ignore this election. Please vote. Whether for or against, do your research, know where you stand and let your voice be heard.

Danny Miles is a second-year student, who manages to simultaneously spend far too much and far too little time on his homework.