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Midterm 2022 Ballot Initiatives: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Ben Gray, File

Ahead of Election Day tomorrow, many issues are top of mind for voters: Inflation. Crime. The economy. The soaring costs of heating oil and gas. The list goes on.

With Republicans expected to sweep the House and potentially flip the U.S. Senate, there are also important ballot measures to watch.  

Falling under the radar are ballot initiatives in competitive 2022 states like Nevada and Oregon. Even in non-competitive states like Tennessee and Iowa, there are good ballot measures to strengthen right-to-work and Second Amendment rights, respectively. 

Ballot-box voting can have serious ramifications— positive or negative. In Colorado, ballot-box biology led to a narrow victory for radical environmentalists to dictate wolf reintroduction in the Centennial State. Alternatively, deep blue California voted overwhelmingly for Prop 22 in 2020 to stop the bleeding caused by the anti-gig worker Assembly Bill 5. 

Here are several state measures to watch on Election Day. 

The Good

Two ballot measures would protect sacred rights concerning the Second Amendment and right-to-work. 

Iowa Amendment 1, billed as the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment, would enshrine the Second Amendment into the state’s constitution. As of this writing, six states—including Iowa–don’t currently uphold this. Here’s how the ballot measure, as proposed, reads

Shall the following amendment to the Constitution be adopted?

Summary: Provides that the right of the people of Iowa to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right. Any restrictions on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

Full Text: Article I of the Constitution of the State of Iowa is amended by adding the following new section: Right to keep and bear arms. Sec. 1A. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny. [5]

A “Yes” vote for Amendment 1 would remedy this and make Iowa the 45th state to protect gun rights.

Tennessee voters have a choice to vote or reject Tennessee Constitutional Amendment 1—the Right to Work Amendment. A “Yes” vote would amend “the state constitution to add a new section to make it illegal for workplaces to require mandatory labor union membership for employees as a condition for employment.” 

The Volunteer State first enacted its right-to-work law in 1947. Given the Biden administration’s full-fledged war on freelancing, including independent contracting, this could shield Tennesseeans from being wrongly misclassified writ large as employees if Labor Department rulemaking to upend worker classification proceeds after December 13th. 

The Bad 

Let’s move on to the bad ballot initiatives, of which, sadly, there are many.

Most notable is Nevada, the Silver State, which may adopt ranked-choice voting for future elections. 

Question 3, the Top-Five Ranked Choice Voting Initiative, if passed, would “open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections, which would apply to congressional, gubernatorial, state executive official, and state legislative elections.”

Seeing how this system muddled Alaska elections this year, Nevadans ought to tread carefully here. 

Can ranked-choice voting work? RCV worked decently in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election primaries. But in general elections? I’m not confident about it. Nevadans should vote “No” on Question 3.

Next door in California, my home state, there’s a deceptively worded measure, California Proposition 30, to “mitigate” high-intensity wildfires by tying prevention to taxing personal incomes above $2 million–a 1.75% increase. Then those monies would be allocated to net-zero emissions vehicles subsidies and “wildlife suppression, prevention programs.” 

Crazy stuff. 

Why burden residents further to prevent and mitigate high-intensity wildfires instead of pursuing actual forest management? Forest management doesn’t call for taxing residents’ income. This is highly irresponsible and won’t stop high-intensity wildfires. 

Californians reading this: Vote “No” on Proposition 30. 

The Ugly 

The ugliest—and arguably most dangerous—ballot measure up for consideration is Oregon Measure 114. This would enact more draconian gun control restrictions in Oregon. This would go against the seminal Bruen decision and trends favoring growing support for gun ownership.

A “Yes” vote on Measure 114 would “prohibit manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, possessing, using, or transferring ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and make violations a class A misdemeanor.”

I suspect Oregonians will reject this if by electing Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan—who is against Measure 11—to office. I don’t see sufficient evidence predicting split-ticket behavior between Drazan and Measure 114.

Oregonians should reject Measure 114. 

Conclusion

Over the weekend, I voted early in person in my northern Virginia precinct.

While there were no ballot measures to oppose, I was proud to cast my vote against incumbent Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. It was easy to support his challenger, Republican Karina Lipsman. While Lipsman’s chances appear to be slim, she’s run a decent race and has exposed Beyer’s vulnerabilities—potentially being compromised for having a staffer with close ties to the Chinese Embassy.

If you live in the aforementioned states, don’t just vote for good candidates. Pay attention to these ballot measures and reject the awful ones. 

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