Op-Ed 499 word article for La Voz
By: Sam Wercinski, Executive Director, Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation
On November 6, Arizonans will be faced with a long ballot, and many will be tempted to leave most of the ballot blank. Don’t miss your opportunity to shape Arizona’s future. It’s important to vote on the entire ballot - President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, County Sheriff, State Legislators, and ballot propositions.
Many times, the President will be given credit or blame for the economy, immigration, health, defense, and education policies. But the reality is that the President does not operate in a vacuum. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives play important roles in these policies.
It’s important to vote for your state representatives as well as for candidates in local races such as county sheriff and county supervisors. These candidates will determine policies that affect your everyday life, including local law enforcement, public infrastructure, health care, public education, immigration, and public spaces.
Ballot measures, also called propositions, will also be on your ballot. It’s important to understand and vote on each measure on your ballot, especially because many will have long-term consequences for public education, military bases, state land, federal land, and your right to a fair legal system. Making sense of the ballot measures is challenging, which is why Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation created a nonpartisan voting guide to help voters make an informed decision on each measure. The full text of our voter guide is available in English and Spanish on our website www.AZAdvocacy.org or you can receive a copy by calling our office (602-297-2500).
Here is a brief summary of the measures:
Propositions Affecting Your Right to a Fair Legal System
Prop 115 makes judicial selection more partisan and political by shifting more power to the Governor and Legislature. Legislative hearings before retention elections will politicize the selection and retention of judges, weaken the separation of powers, and threaten judicial independence and impartiality.
Prop 114 gives a complete defense to persons who are sued for injuring or killing someone who is attempting or committing a felony, regardless of how much the defendant was at fault.
Ballot Propositions Impacting K-12 Education and Public Infrastructure Funding
Prop 116 and 117 could result in lower funding for K-12 education and public infrastructure for roads, water systems, and schools in exchange for tax cuts for businesses and property owners.
Prop 118 would lower total distribution by $1.3 billion over the next 19 years for K-12 schools from the State Land Trusts.
Prop 204 renews the one-cent sales tax to provide dedicated funding for public education. It prevents legislators from cutting K-12 funding below the current level. The measure also dedicates a small percentage for children’s healthcare, the Department of Public Safety, and transportation projects.
Other Ballot Propositions
Prop 119 would require voters to approve any proposed land exchange of state land trusts for federal or private lands, Prop 120 affects National Parks and Federal Land in Arizona, and Prop 121 abolishes the current political party primary election system and creates an open “top-two” primary election.
The Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation secures electoral justice, political rights and full civic participation, especially for underrepresented and marginalized constituencies, to achieve government for the People, not corporations.