Three proposals made it to the statewide ballot for the November election and if one just read the titles of the original proposals, one might look on them rather favorably.

Proposal 1 is called voters for transparency and term limits; most people prefer term limits and who doesn't like government transparency?  The Ludington Torch loves both.  Proposal 2 is called Promote the Vote 2022; who doesn't want to see more people involved in the democratic process?  Proposal 3 is called Reproductive Freedom for All; who doesn't believe that we should all be free to reproduce?

But the titles of these proposals are deceptive, and they get more deceptive as the number of the proposal grows.  It reminds one of the Ludington election this May where city voters were asked whether there should be a revision of the charter yet were never told the cost that such a revision would entail and how much the committee created would be paid, statutory requirements that failed to be met.  This fraud and error allowed for that proposal to pass, with all voters other than a handful unknowing that it would cost nearly $100,000 to effectuate and about $20,000 of that was slated for the committee; had it been known that it was a costly process rather than free, would it have passed?

The three statewide proposals appear to conform to statutes as they have went through the legal process with some challenges, and their summary on ballots convey the main gist of each.  The Ludington Torch believes that ballot proposals should be clear and fully summarized as to what their passage will do, that's why we have challenged the May proposal in court (result pending) and offer this primer on how these proposals will affect us if passed.  We also believe that the voter's default position should be to vote no against any proposal that is ambiguous or does not clearly define itself.

Proposal 1:  Transparency and Term Limits

Summarized, the first part of the proposal would make all statewide elective officers file financial disclosure statements available to the public at the end of each year.  The big question to ask is why isn't this already the case?  Lest we forget, the legislature and the governor are somehow immune to FOIA requests in Michigan, one of only two states that have such a restriction.  While this part offers some transparency in where elected officials are getting their money, it doesn't go very far.

The second part changes term limits for state legislators from currently two terms in the senate (8 years) and three terms in the house (six years) to a straight 12-year total in combination.  This allows for someone to serve three terms in the senate or six terms in the house.  As the idea behind term limits is to offer fresh faces faster and to keep officials from getting too ensconced in a position, this part fails as its effect will be to entrench incumbents. 

It should come as no surprise that the incumbent legislature is the originator and force (along with their friendly lobbyists) behind this ballot proposal.  The small bite of transparency is offset by the deceptive term limit shell game in favor of the house (and the senate).  If you truly value term limits, this is not your proposal, vote for it only if you value the transparency of financial disclosure statements more.

Proposal 2:  Promote the Vote 2022

Summarized, the proposal ambitiously looks to change election law dramatically as seen in the initiative petition:

Ads for the measure tout how current law sometimes makes military ballots uncounted, saying the amendment will lead to secure and fair elections, and that voter ID will only be strengthened by codifying it into the state constitution.   

Reading the petition, the proposal's goal seems to be all against voting integrity, making elections rife for fraud and less than fair to voters following the rules.  Current Michigan law allows for military absentee ballots will be counted if received by mail the Saturday before an election.  This might be improved if it allowed for reception by election day, but the proposal puts a duty on clerks to count them if the postmark is by election day, making results of an election potentially unknown on election night and for votes to continue coming in the week after.  This isn't a good result, better just to instruct military folks to get their ballots in at least a week before an election like suggested for other absentee voters.

It also nullifies voter ID by effectively giving those without ID who sign an affidavit to have their vote counted and assume they are not doing this in other precincts using other names.  When we see that it allows for private donations (Zuckerbucks), drop boxes, (2000 Mules) and audits only by election officials (insuring any fraud or cheating by those election officials receiving private donations will not be caught), and other measures that encourage cheating and promote fraud, one can see that the proposal is trying to legitimize the insecure and unfair 2020 election in Michigan. 

It's patently ridiculous that voting yes on proposal 2 is voting for secure elections as it does just the opposite.  Everybody sees that, but one side doesn't care to acknowledge it.  For over 150 years, Michigan had laws and procedures that allowed one legitimate voter to cast one and only one legitimate vote; enaction of this proposal will empower and enable cheaters and disenfranchise all others. 

Proposal 3:  Reproductive Freedom for All

If you asked me before this year what 'reproductive freedom for all' means I would have to guess that it meant the right for everyone to consensually get together with a member of the opposite sex and make babies.  It's a right already recognized by society. 

But apparently, the sponsors of this proposal suggest the definition is:  "the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care."

In Michigan, an adult woman already has these rights, even the right to abortion following the September decision of a Court of Claims judge that permanently struck down the 1931 law that criminalized abortion in Michigan unless the woman's life was in danger.  This followed a decision by the Supreme Court earlier that gave states the power to legislate abortion matters.  Unless a successful appeal of this judge's decision occurs, this will offer no additional rights to an adult woman.  

But the proposal gives these rights to everyone without limit and effectively repeals all prior laws in conflict with it.  So young children could ignore all parental consent restrictions currently in place to sterilize themselves, perhaps in preparation to have gender-affirming surgery-- even though they may not be mature enough to understand the consequences of those acts. 

Since a pregnancy occurs after sperm from a human male fertilizes the egg of a human female, prospective fathers should have these reproductive rights too.  So what happens when the prospective parents disagree on whether to abort or not?  One person's rights will be violated, regardless.

The proposal is ambiguous and self-contradictory.  It establishes the broadest reproductive rights in the US, then states the legislature can regulate those rights after the fetus becomes viable.  Not that those regulations will matter much, as the right to abort will supersede those rules up to birth if the mother claims her mental health is in danger by not aborting.  

And if that abortionist offering great deals (because he saved a lot of money not going to medical school or buying malpractice insurance) has some complications during his practice that leads to death or disability of his patient, they are immune from malpractice suits and other liabilities.  

The proposal is too reactive and broad in scope to be considered sound.  This proposal should be squashed just because it is badly crafted all over, but our representatives in the state legislature should transparently reconsider the 1931 law and adjust it accordingly after listening to the people.  A vast majority of which would consider many of the outcomes the passed Proposal 3 would offer as unacceptable.  


Proposal 1 whiffs at being good term limit policy, vote for it only if you do not like term limits and/or you think the transparency of legislator's financial records is more important than having more entrenched politicians.

Proposal 2 should be voted for only if you think that your favored party can't win in an election where every legal voter casts only one vote.  It should be voted against if you want fair and secure elections with procedures that reduce fraud and cheating to a minimum by those counting the votes.

Proposal 3 should be voted for only if you can read it through and explain to others exactly what will be changed and be able to defend why those changes are better than what currently exists.  If that is impossible for you, vote against it.  

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