What seems on its surface like an early win for cannabis advocates in Michigan may, in fact, be an attempt to rig the state’s upcoming general election. The question of legalizing recreational marijuana will appear on the November ballot, and voters are expected to turn out to register their support. But the prospect of higher voter turnout has some GOP lawmakers in Lansing worried. Concerned better turnout could impact other races, they’ve begun discussing ways to take legalization off the ballot. But broad support for the issue leaves them with just one move. And that’s why Michigan may legalize recreational marijuana before November ballot.
In A Bid To Suppress Voter Turnout, GOP Lawmakers Want To Legalize Weed Early
Historically, higher voter turnouts tend to favor more liberal or progressive candidates. In other words, more voters typically means more Democrats in office.
No wonder Republican-controlled state legislatures have made voter-suppression tactics a staple of their political strategy. And their efforts have accelerated in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Voter-suppression tactics include things like closing polling locations, issuing strict ID laws, voter purging and disenfranchisement. Gerrymandering, or the redrawing of election districts to favor particular candidates, is another way of distorting democratic representation.
And in these areas, Michigan is one of the worst. In December 2016, Michigan’s Republican-led House passed some of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws in the face of strong objections from Democrats and civil society groups. ID requirements tend to make it harder for minority, elderly, and student voters—groups that tend to vote Democrat—to cast their ballots.
And in April 2017, The Center for Michigan found that gerrymandering in the state is among the nation’s worst. The report shows how districts dramatically and