Working towards peace and sustainability

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Front and Center: The upcoming election is extremely important and we hope all Peaceworks members and supporters who are eligible will be sure to vote, and will encourage friends, family and others to turn out as well. We also encourage members and supporters to consider volunteering to support candidates, as active participation in the electoral process is the only real antidote to the domination of politics by money.

Some people say voting is the most important thing we do in the political realm. Without diminishing its importance, we’d like to suggest that it’s the bare minimum we can do; something that every eligible voter can and should do, in addition to other forms of activism, both electoral and issue-oriented. Put another way, voting is to political engagement as recycling is to sustainable living; something necessary, but not sufficient.

In most cases, voting just takes a few minutes out of a day, perhaps two or three times a year. So we hope that, come November 6, you will turn out and exercise your franchise. (And, if you will be away, or otherwise unable to go to your polling place on that day, that you will get and file an absentee ballot.)

Peaceworks is an educational non-profit. This means we do not endorse, support or oppose candidates for office. We encourage active citizenship, which of course includes voting. We urge voters to become informed as to where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day, including climate change, justice concerns and war and peace, the latter particularly regarding candidates for federal office.

Ballot Questions

While we don’t take positions on candidates, we can, and do, on occasion, endorse ballot issues, which are essentially legislation. This year we are supporting yes votes on three ballot issues:

Amendment #1:  The “Clean Missouri” amendment is a package of what could be called “good government reforms,” all of which sound to us like steps in the right direction. These include:

  Establishing a new method for legislative redistricting that reduces the ability for politicians from the majority party to unfairly gerrymander districts;
  Setting campaign donation limits for candidates to the Missouri House and Senate;
  Sharply limiting gifts to legislators, allowing only trivial gifts;
   Opening to public scrutiny public records and proceedings;
   Reducing “revolving door” politics by prohibiting legislators or legislative employees from going directly into paid lobbyist positions; and
  Prohibiting political fundraising on state property.

To learn more about Amendment #1 click HERE.  

Medical Marijuana: Peaceworks supports the legalization of medical marijuana. There are many ways patients can benefit from cannabis. It is far safer than many drugs—both prescription and otherwise—that are used to treat various conditions for which cannabis is effective. It is time, therefore, for Missouri to join the more than 30 states around the nation that have legalized.

How to vote on medical marijuana in Missouri, this year, is somewhat confusing, as there were three separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns this year and all three qualified for the ballot. Let’s break this down. First of all, there are two constitutional amendments and one statutory proposition. The amendments have the advantage of not being subject to repeal or alteration by the state legislature, and can only be changed by a future vote of the citizens.

Amendment #2: Peaceworks is supporting and urging a “yes” vote on Amendment #2, which has been put together by a coalition of patients, healthcare providers and grassroots citizen advocacy groups. The campaign organization goes by “New Approach Missouri” and it provides a very reasonable framework for legalization, including a fairly low tax (4%) and provisions that allow patients to grow their own in limited quantities. The amendment provides a common sense framework for overseeing the process of production and distribution. Details available by clicking HERE.

Amendment #3, the Bradshaw Amendment: This proposal, on the other hand, is anything but common sense-based. It is the project of one man, Brad Bradshaw a personal injury lawyer and physician, who has funded the campaign virtually single-handedly. If this amendment passes, it would allow the sale of medical marijuana, but not personal cultivation. It would put a higher (15%) tax on retail sales.

The revenue from this tax would fund a “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute” of which Bradshaw would be made chairman. He would also appoint all the members of the board of directors for the Institute. Bradshaw expects an annual income of approximately $66 million, and decisions as to how these funds are spent would be in the hands of Bradshaw and his handpicked board. Bradshaw also sued in failed attempts to get both Amendment #2 and Proposition C removed from the ballot.

The choice between these two is clear cut and this has been widely recognized including in this St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial. Click HERE.

It’s important, before voting, to be aware of the process. Specifically, if both Amendment #2 and Amendment #3 pass, the one receiving the larger number of votes is the one that will be enacted. For this reason we urge voters to vote yes on #2 and no on #3

Proposition C:  The third medical cannabis ballot issue is Prop. C. It is a statute (law) and thus would only go into effect if both amendments failed, but it passed. Peaceworks did not take a position on this proposition. We have heard that some are voting “yes” on C as insurance, in case the dueling amendments split the pro-legalization vote. There certainly is some logic to this position.

But our primary message remains: “Yes” on Two, “No” on Three.

Proposition B: If passed, the “Raise Up Missouri” initiative would increase the minimum page in the state from its current level of $7.75 by 85 cents a year until 2023 when it would reach $12 an hour. Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage has decreased dramatically over the past four decades. Anyone working full time should be earning a living wage and passage of Prop. B would be a step in that direction.

This measure isn’t perfect. It is statutory, rather than a constitutional amendment, which means the legislature could tinker with it, and some think $12 an hour is not enough. But we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Passing this would be good for Missouri’s working poor, and therefore for all of us. For more info on Prop. B click HERE.

For more information on these ballot issues as well as on candidates for office, we encourage you to check out the Voters’ Guide published by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. It’s available on-line by clicking HERE. 

See you at the polls come Election Day!