There are Important Local Issues on the Ballot, We Just Aren’t Talking About Them

Reuters

Sofie Jones, Opinions Editor

          Many Americans, and many CA students, have been expressing discontent and dissatisfaction with the choices appearing on the ballot in November’s Presidential Election. Therefore, a significant portion of the electorate is threatening to refrain from voting. While I, personally, do not think this is necessarily the most productive approach, there are many other significant and compelling reasons to go to the polls, if you are able to vote.

           Regardless of the state of the Presidential race, there are many other things that Massachusetts citizens will be deciding. Although these elections are not covered as publicly as others, they are an important reason to vote yourself or to encourage others to. There are not only many congressional and local government positions up for grabs, but also important ballot measures. These local decisions will have tremendous day-to-day impacts on our education system, economy, and climate.

          In Massachusetts, all nine seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for grabs. Residents of Concord, and other towns in district three, will choose between Democratic incumbent Niki Tsongas and Republican candidate Ann Wofford.

         Various State Senate and House of Representative positions will also be decided in this election. These are the people who decided what local legislation will look like for the next few years. Furthermore, in Massachusetts, there will be four, distinct and controversial questions on the ballot.

         Question one refers to whether or not Massachusetts should change existing law to allow more slots, or gambling, licenses to venues. Currently, the law allows three separate resort casinos and only one slots venue throughout the state.

          Question two is about the authorization of more charter public schools. On this issue, a “yes” vote would allow twelve more charter schools to open every year, with authorization by the state Board of Education.

          The third question contests whether there should be legislation regarding a required minimum size for enclosures housing farm animals. If farms or food manufacturing companies do not fulfill these requirements, which pertain to having spaces large enough so animals have enough room to lie down, their products would be prohibited in the state.

        Perhaps the most well-known issue on the ballot, other than that of the presidency, is question four, about whether marijuana should be legalized for those over 21. Currently, in Massachusetts, only medical marijuana is legal. This question, if decided affirmatively upon, would result in marijuana being regulated in the same manner as alcohol.

        Decisions like these will have profound effects on our country, state, and towns until at least the midterm elections in two years, and in most scenarios, much longer.  In a political climate that seems so laser-focused on our two presidential candidates, it is increasingly important to look at the others issues on the ballot, before deciding not to vote or that our individual opinions don’t matter.