Citizens are getting lazy about doing their homework on the ballot proposals. Want proof? Raise your hand if you have read the wording on each of the six questions.
No hands. Raise your hand if you have seen the TV commercials on the proposals. Lots of hands and your due diligence will likely end with that. Shame on you.
Watching TV commercials to "explain" the ins and outs of each issue will not get it done but the consultants know that you are lazy and they are exploiting it big time.
To wit. The most effective commercial is the one urging a no vote on everything. You've surely seen the husband and wife at the kitchen table bemoaning the writing of this "junk" into the constitution.
It's a brilliant ad because it is simple and does not require any thinking, no research, no nothing on your part. Unfortunately it is not that simple.
Each ballot question has a host of pros and cons that deserve your attention. Take Prop 1 for example: Should the state's Emergency Manager law be repealed?
On one hand the labor folks who helped put this on the ballot believe allowing one EM czar to takeover a city , thus rendering the local elected officials virtually useless, is rather un-American and un-Democratic. Yet the governor and his minions contend, this is not about usurping your local officials, but rather a good faith effort to help your city avoid a trip to the bankruptcy court.
Both sides have merit and simply voting no, does not cut it. You can vote no if you want, but do something more than just watching the ads to get there.
Even more complex, is the renewable energy issue aimed at achieving 25% of our energy from non-traditional sources by the year 2015. It is a real brain teaser with arguments all over the lot.
Simply voting no without any probing on your part is just plain wrong. And the list goes on with the bridge, collective bargaining rights, the two-thirds vote to raise taxes and the home health care measure.
And on that, the proponents are being very slippery. First of all you'd be hard pressed to discover that it was the SEIU union that did all the heavy lifting to put this on the ballot. There is no reference to that in the campaign brochure that showed up in the mail the other day. Wonder why? In addition those advocating for a yes vote have introduced some issues that are not related to the question itself.
This proposal has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with changes in Medicare nor the soon to be enacted pension tax on some senior citizens. Yet the campaign document tells unsuspecting voters, "The new tax law on retirement income, as well as proposals in Lansing and Washington, may end Medicare as we know it and limit home care and will have a negative effect on seniors…." Can you say "scare tactic?"
The point is a responsible voter should not rely on this one piece of information. But many will.
Now you might assert that you don't have enough time to do the research to cast a more intelligent vote, but frankly that is exactly what the Democracy expects you to do.
Otherwise the ad moguls will sucker you into voting their way, and their chances of doing that are pretty darn good..unless you do something about it. (editors note: Find the wording and an objective analysis of the six ballot question by going to the Michigan Citizens Research Council. Crcmich.org.)