Tomorrow is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November which can only mean one thing.
The robocalls are about to stop. For now.
Polls in Ohio open at 6:30am and are open until 7:30pm. There are three important statewide initiatives that could use you're help in deciding their fate.
Issue 1 is all about extending the cut off age for being elected to a judgeship from 70 to 75. This may not sound like it is controversial, but it is. See, I remember the many years ago that the age limit was enacted. See, we had a number of judges on the bench that, well, just weren't all there anymore. But, because being a judge is a pretty lucrative gig, interests would make sure that certain judges would run again and again. So we, the electorate of Ohio, said, "you know, once you're over 70, you probably shouldn't run for a judgeship again. Typical length of service term, 6 years. So if you're elected at 70, you'll still be on the bench until you're 76.
Why is this on the ballot? The main argument is that we'll be losing some of our best, most experienced judges for no good reason except the age limit. But, if that is the case, why not just remove the age limit. After all, won't the judge have even more experience on the court at 76? What this is really on there for is that the conservative majority on the Ohio Supreme Court are about to age out. Given that once a judge is elected, they're most often re-elected (the judge elections tend to have the lowest number of people actually voting). So this is a stalling action to get conservative judges in place to keep control of the Supreme Court.
Issue 2 is the repeal of SB5, Ohio's anti-collective bargaining law. The pro-SB5 side has been touting that it'll save money, that public union employees make too much (and, like the crabs in the bucket, don't you want to tear them down), and unions have too much power. They're mostly talking about the 2 provisions that have the most support in Ohio, making union members contribute to their health care (15%) and pensions (10%). The thing is, some unions would love it if those were the caps, because they pay more. In fact, nearly 90% of public unions pay that amount or more.
So what's it really all about? It's about removing the rights of workers. See, back in the 80s after several disastrous public union strikes, the law was rewritten to force union and management into binding arbitration to settle their disputes. At the time, management thought that with arbitration they would win more of their fights (they would often lose in the courts, which would lead to the strikes). So they rigged the selection of the arbiters to force decisions to go their way. Thing is, it didn't work out that. The unions continued to win 80%+ of their cases, even with the system rigged against them. For the pay comparison, when you adjust for the education levels required, public employees make less (even with the outrageous adjustments the American Enterprise Institute gave to the "intangibles", which put the union employees ahead of even the general working populace instead of behind them when you just look at pay). SB5 says that if there is a dispute, it is settled by management. There is no appeal, and the right to strike is abolished. This is what's known as, "you'll take what we want to give you, and you'll like it." And don't believe for a second that once the public unions are broken, the conservatives won't come for you (that's how general worker "pay" is lower than public union "pay" - ie. adjusted with a extra 10% because of job stability). This is the war on the middle class.
Issue 3 is about stopping Obamacare. Only, it has no chance. We'll get back to that. Issue 3 is very broadly written and would essentially halt any new regulations (and potentially laws) that would come into enforcement after May, 2010. That would include the new exotic animal regulations the governor is looking at putting into place. It would also ban any new Ohio EPA enforcement, changes to law enforcement, and several other things. I was asked to sign a petition for Issue 3, and so read the full amendment. It's a "sovereign citizen" amendment. See, there are several ultra-conservative movements in Ohio that would love to throw off the shackles of any government (no licenses, no law enforcement, no regulations, no taxes, blah blah blah). They've killed several law enforcement officers in the past decade.
So why won't it work? Okay, well, there are 3 potential outcomes. One, the issue doesn't pass. In that case, we're at square one. The other two invovle the issue passing. If the issue passes, all that other stuff comes along. It'll be hell in Ohio. I won't say anarchy, but it will severely hobble any government control or law enforcement. It'll be open season to violate the law, pollute the water, earth, and atmosphere, and allow unbridled exploitation of our natural resources. Since the main thrust of this issue is to stop the government from mandating you purchase health insurance. It would stop the state from enacting a similar law, like in Massachusetts. The only difference will be in how the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare. If they rule it unconstitutional, well, you won't be forced to by health insurance. But you'll also get all those other bad effects as well. Now, if the Supremes uphold Obamacare, well, you're going to have to buy health insurance. Why? It's called the Supremacy Clause. See, a State can't nullify a Federal Law. Take California for example. They passed a medical marijuana law. So state authorities have their hands tied in enforcing criminal marijuana violations. However, the Feds still can. For years they looked the other way, as long as people obeyed the rules. Now that California marijuana is showing up in other states the Feds have taken a renewed interest in shutting down commercial growers. Because a State law can't override or nullify a Federal law.
You would think since the proponents of Issue 3 claim they love the Constitution they would know that.
So, tomorrow, you need to go out and vote. And that way we can get on to the Presidential 2012 elections.