SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (News4Utah) – Experts are expecting higher voter turnout because voters will be deciding some long-standing, controversial battles in our state.
Proposition 2, which addresses medical cannabis is getting all the attention, but voters will also weigh in on Proposition 3, Medicaid expansion and Proposition 4, redistricting.
You could say it’s the year of the ballot initiative.
“We’re used to talking about the candidates, but wow, we may be seeing people showing up more for these initiatives than even the candidates themselves, and that’s a whole new ballgame,” said Hinckley Institute of Politics director Jason Perry.
The most contentious battle is over Proposition 2. It would legalize the use of medical cannabis for certain conditions.
Opponents argue it’s more recreational than medical.
“This is not pure politics right here. This is something kind of rooted in a philosophical or a moral belief in some way. Any time you start dealing with those issues, people start showing up,” said Perry.
Proposition 3 would settle a years-long fight in our state over Medicaid expansion.
It asks voters to approve a 0.15% increase on non-food items to the sales tax.
The money would be used to help expand Medicaid to those at 138% of the federal poverty level and lower, as intended under the Affordable Care Act.
This has been a heated debate in the past, but so far no organized opposition.
“People in the state, maybe thought the legislature didn’t go far enough in their last efforts on that. I think this is one they will still be talking about more as we get closer,” Perry said.
Talk around Proposition 4 has also been fairly quiet.
It would create an independent redistricting commission meant to address gerrymandering.
That commission would make recommendations to the legislature, but not have binding authority.
“It’s hard to argue against an independent group submitting the initial lines to the legislature, and people are going to want to get involved in that, so I think it’s helpful overall,” said Perry.
These initiatives are expected to draw a crowd, and that could change the makeup of the electorate for all races on the ballot.
“Because some of these things don’t really fall along party lines, it’s hard to say if you are going to get more Democrats or more Republicans to the polls this time. The one thing I can say for certain, we’re going to see more of both,” Perry said.
You can find out more about these propositions, candidates and other ballot issues here: vote.utah.gov