by Dan Gibson
It's not that uncommon to see references to Arizona politics outside of our own media bubble on the internet, but generally, the references are predictably either something that Joe Arpaio did or complaints about SB 1070.
Thus, it was a little surprising to look on the front page of link-sharing/source-of-amusing-images website Reddit and see the headline "6 out of 10 propositions on my Arizona Ballot are outright lies, cleverly written to deceive voters."
For a link to make the front page of Reddit is a challenge, requiring hundreds of the site's users to "vote up" the post, which in this case might say more about the general distrust for politics on the site than anything else. Still, that someone took the time to post their frustration with a system that is theoretically supposed to allow for some direct democracy in our legislative process should be some cause for alarm, right?
Even worse, the first comment on the post doesn't really encourage optimism for whether people have any idea what they're voting for on Nov. 2: "I have asked a dozen acquaintances their opinions on ANY of these props and have yet to get one that had any clue to what any of them were, let alone formed a decision about which way to vote. I can't help but feel like we are f***ed."
The post is below the cut.
There is a disturbing trend among these propositions:
1) They are written on the ballot in a style that hides their real effects.
2) Some will permanently take away powers from the voters.
3) The sponsors reference false threats and fears that do not really exist.
4) They attack vulnerable groups.
5) They are sponsored by outside groups who want to gain a foothold for a cause, not improve AZ.
Prop 107: Ending 'discrimination' by banning efforts to close racial education gaps
What the ballot says: This will make racial discrimination a state crime.
Real effect: Will end scholarship and early-start programs designed to help hispanics/natives.
Baseless fear mongering: AZ doesn't have affirmative action! Just specialized education programs.
Outside sponsorship: Sponsored almost entirely by Colorado group that attacks affirmative action all around the country.
Prop 109: Tweek the AZ Constitution to take away voter control over wildlife issues
What the ballot says: Make hunting a protected constitutional right regulated by the legislature.
Real effect: The voters will be barred from passing popular wildlife initiatives.
Baseless fear mongering: There is no threat to hunting rights, and they are already protected.
Outside sponsorship: The NRA was the original and by far the largest sponsor.
Prop 112: Make it even more impossible for citizens to get initiatives on the ballot
What the ballot says: "A Yes vote will change the initiative filing deadline from 4 months to 6 months prior to election"
Real effect: The wording is almost impossible to understand in this proposition. It would shorten the time available to citizens to collect signatures for popular initiatives. There is so little time already that citizens can almost never gather the required amount. This year, the only popular initiative that was able to make it to the AZ ballot is the medical marijuana proposition. This would end choice in establishment favorites such as photo radar.
Prop 113: Make it prohibitively complicated for groups of workers to unionize
What the ballot says: Protect the workers' right to a secret ballot.
Real effect: Forces unions to have the most complicated form of initiation even though less complicated forms are generally considered adequate and fair.
Baseless fear mongering: The worker's right to privacy is not threatened currently, and unions are vehemently against this possible new, expensive requirement.
Outside sponsorship: Anti-union front groups. http://www.progressivestates.org/node/22564
Prop 301: Take all the money from the Land Conservation Fund with no future repayment
Prop 302: Take all the money from the Early Childhood Development Fund with no future repayment
What the ballot says: Please help move the balance of these funds into the general fund.
Real effects and motivation: Jan Brewer always says that she has balanced the budget. In reality, she meant that the budget is balanced if voters approve her two propositions, 301 & 302. Otherwise an 800 million dollar shortfall/deficit remains. These two propositions will take money out of funds to help children and the elderly. These funds were created by voters and thus need voter approval to be raided. Brewer doesn't want new taxes, except this hidden tax on POOR CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY.
For more information on the propositions and candidates on your ballot this November, check out our voters' guide.