The first is on the legalization of marijuana. The second is on redistricting. The third is on voting rights.
Get acquainted with each of the ballot proposals with the handy guide below, each proposal accompanied by a 60-second explanation.
Proposal 1: Marijuana legalization
What is Proposal 1?
The proposal (which is five pages long) would allow under state law the personal possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older.
The proposal would allow people to buy up to 2.5 ounces a day and possess up to 10 ounces in their home as long as it was properly locked up; grow up to 12 plants for personal use; have the state regulate the industry and subject the sale of marijuana to the state's 6 percent sales tax and an additional 10 percent tax; allow communities to determine whether marijuana business will be allowed in their towns; earmark the first $20 million of tax revenue from the sale of marijuana for at least two years to research into the benefits of marijuana to treat PTSD and split the rest between roads, schools and the communities that allow marijuana businesses.
The proposal will also convert current criminal marijuana-related charges to civil infractions.
Arguments for and against
For: The biggest argument coming from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol is that state and local police are spending too much time and money on enforcing low-level marijuana offenses and that resources should be going toward more serious crimes, as previously reported by the Free Press.
Against: On the other hand, Healthy and Productive Michigan, the political action committee formed to oppose the legalization proposal, believes car crashes will most certainly increase as high drivers take to the road.
The Free Press Editorial board said Michiganders should vote 'yes' this fall on Proposal 1 because:
Prohibiting it outright does not work (about 15 percent of Michiganders used marijuana in 2015, according to federal data).
Enforcing laws against weed consumes significant law enforcement resources.
The impact of that enforcement effort falls disproportionately on African Americans, who use marijuana at the same rates as whites, but are four to 10 times more likely to be arrested for it.
Legalizing marijuana and regulating its possession and use can provide needed tax revenue.
Proposal 2: Redistricting (or gerrymandering)
What is Proposal 2?
Voters Not Politicians, a citizens' group, would create a 13-member independent citizens redistricting commission in the legislative branch, made up of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five people who identify with neither party. The proposal will also deny partisan officeholders, their employees and lobbyists from participating. It will create districts geographically based on the reflective population of Michigan, as well as fund commission operation and compensation.
Arguments for and against
For: It's beyond dispute that gerrymandering has played a role in the way many political lines have been drawn in Michigan over the last several decades.
Proponents say the Voters Not Politicians constitutional amendment would take the drawing of political maps out of the political back rooms and into the light of day. Voters should choose their elected representatives, they say, not the other way around.
Against: Opponents say the plan, though presented as nonpartisan, is a thinly veiled Democratic effort to gain partisan advantage. A spokesman for the Michigan Freedom Fund, called the Voters Not Politicians proposal "a complex mess that doesn’t belong in our constitution" and "a blank check to 13 new un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats."
They say it will move decision-making away from elected officials to people who are not accountable and have no relevant experience. They say the way Michigan's political lines are drawn is largely dictated by federal and state law and the geographical reality that Republican and Democratic voters are concentrated in different areas.
The Free Press Editorial Board wrote: “Voters have an extraordinary opportunity to wrest control of the redistricting process from the hands of self-serving politicians and place it in the hands of an independent citizens' commission beholden to no political party. Major parties have utterly failed to collaborate on a redistricting process that serves the interests of voters, especially independents who don't consistently gravitate to one party's candidates. That's why the Free Press recommends a yes vote on Proposal 2.”
Proposal 3: Voting rights
What is Proposal 3?
Here's what the proposal would do:
Protect the right to vote a secret ballot
Ensure military service members and overseas voters can obtain ballots
Provide Michigan residents with the option to vote straight party
Automatically register citizens to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines
Allow a citizen to register to vote anytime with proof of residency
Provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason
Ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results
The Promote the Vote question — Proposal 3 on the ballot — would bring Michigan in line with at least 17 other states when it comes to same-day voter registration, such as Idaho, Colorado and Wisconsin.
Arguments for and against
For: The proposal, which is largely funded by ACLU Michigan, has been endorsed by many officials and organizations across the state, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the League of Women Voters and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. Supporters said the proposal would prevent fraud through the required auditing process. Promote the Vote advocates have argued that it would make it easier for working parents, and other voters with time-constraints, to vote.
Against: Non-profit and nonpartisan organization Engage Michigan has argued that the removal of straight-party voting can lead to longer lines at the polls and increased confusion among voters. Critics also have argued that the proposition would only increase voter fraud, though opposition has been small.
The Free Press Editorial Board wrote: “Michigan's state constitution empowers ordinary citizens to submit legislation and constitutional amendments to a popular referendum when elected leaders shirk their duty to constituents. Because government is more effective and responsive when participation in elections is robust, the Free Press Editorial Board recommends that Michigan voters vote yes on Proposal 3.”