Americans will vote, Tuesday, in six states, on 24 measures related to security and police issues, election reform, and other proposals related to the restrictions of the Corona epidemic, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In some major cities, in addition to choosing the mayor, voters will have the opportunity to participate in voting to resolve the controversy over important issues raised in their local communities, according to CNN .
Measures taken by state authorities during the outbreak of the Corona epidemic in the United States caused controversy within local communities, which prompted the resort to vote on amendments to resolve the dispute over them.
In Texas, voters will consider “Proposition 3” for a constitutional amendment that would prevent local state officials, even if elected, from “banning or restricting religious services to religious organizations.”
“Proposal 3” is related to the orders issued by most US states, including Texas, to stay at home to reduce unnecessary gatherings and prevent the spread of the Corona virus.
While some states have restricted church services, the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, considered religious worship an essential service and exempt from his executive order that required residents to stay at home at the height of the virus’ spread.
Because the issue generated significant controversy at the state level, Texas lawmakers approved the addition of “Proposition 3” to the ballot, with a bipartisan vote earlier this year, and Abbott expressed support for the amendment.
The Republicans who drafted the amendment say it strengthens constitutional protections for Texas churches, and that “in both times of calm and crisis, we should not confine the church.”
Opponents of Proposition 3, including the American Federation of Church and State, and some religious groups, argue that the amendment endangers public health.
Texas residents will also vote on “Proposition 6” related to Corona restrictions as well, as the state has imposed restrictions on personal visits from family and friends, and has not appointed primary care providers to nursing homes to prevent the virus from spreading among their vulnerable communities.
The role and powers of the police in the US states, and the mechanisms for controlling the conduct of officers, are among the most prominent issues of concern to local communities, so they are present in these voting processes.
Calls to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in Minnesota have escalated in the wake of the murder of George Floyd last year at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Residents are voting on the question of dissolving the Minneapolis Police Department, with the creation of a new “Public Safety Department” overseen by the mayor and city council.
The new Public Safety Department may have police officers, but the city will no longer be required to hire a minimum number of officers. If the measure is passed, the city will need to appoint a new public safety commissioner.
Cleveland residents will vote on a new civilian committee, called the Community Police Commission, whose members will have ultimate authority over police department policy and procedures, hiring, training, and disciplinary actions.
According to the proposal, the mayor will appoint 13 members of the committee, after a city council vote of approval, for a four-year term.
Supporters of the measure say it will ensure “genuine accountability” for the police, and that any investigations into police misconduct will be “really independent”.
Opponents warn that the proposal gives too much power to an unelected group of civilians, without training or experience in the police sector, and will operate with few checks and balances.
Albany, New York
Residents of this city will decide on “Proposition 7,” also known as Local G Act, in which they vote on whether they want to expand the authority of the council, which refers civilian police to conduct investigations, and “exercise oversight, review, and resolution of community complaints about abuse of police power.” “.
Under this procedure, the board can conduct independent investigations, even if there is no complaint filed, and will have the authority to summon those involved in the case.
Austin – Texas
Voters in Austin, Texas, are asked whether the city’s police departments should be increased under “proposition A,” as its supporters believe the city is facing a “criminal wave” while also experiencing a shortage of police officers.
But passing the proposal would be a burden on the city’s budget, as opponents believe that if it passes, the city will be forced to make cuts to other essential services and possibly lay off other city workers, such as firefighters or 911 emergency service workers.
Issues of historical discrimination against the black communities in America will be present in the voting processes as well.
Detroit – Michigan
A “yes” vote on Proposition R would be in favor of the Detroit City Council, which has created a task force recommending housing and economic programs that “address historical discrimination against the black community in Detroit.”
City council officials say the proposal “will help move discussion from talk, to action, and toward correcting the most egregious discriminatory and racist practices of the past.”
It is also about “repairing the damage done to the African American community, so that those affected have an equal and real chance of success and a better quality of life.”
“Question No. 1” is being put to a vote in New Jersey, and residents will choose whether to allow betting on college sports.
Currently, college sports betting in the state, and in college activities involving New Jersey teams, is prohibited. But voters will decide whether to change this into a legitimate practice.
Richmond – Virginia
Residents of Richmond, Virginia’s capital, will decide whether to approve the construction of a new casino and 250-room luxury hotel in South Richmond along I-95.
It will be the first black-owned casino in the United States, and the casino’s owner says the project will generate an estimated $47 million in total annual revenue for Richmond and create 1,500 direct jobs.
Virginia Democrats, including Governor Ralph Northam, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, and Richmond mayor, Levar Stoney, are encouraging residents to vote “yes” to the casino referendum, saying it would provide economic and job opportunities for the region.
But Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and former governor of the state, voted early against the casino’s proposal because he “believes there are better ways to promote economic development in Richmond”.
Opponents see the casino as an exploitative project that will be harmful to the black community in Richmond.
Election reforms, voting and redistricting
New Yorkers vote on several proposals statewide. Among the proposals is to amend redistricting, the process for how district lines are drawn for state and congressional offices.
In another case, it is known that New York, currently, requires its residents to register to vote at least 10 days before the elections, but a proposal that the residents will vote on requires the removal of this requirement, paving the way for state lawmakers to enact new laws that would allow the resident to register to vote. In less than 10 days – like same-day voter registration.
As now, voters in New York may vote by absentee ballot if, due to illness or physical disability, they are unable to appear at the polling place, or expect to be absent from their county of residence, or New York City if they are a resident, on Election Day.
But a proposal that will be voted on by the state’s residents to a referendum to abolish the requirement for the voter to provide a reason, if he wishes to vote by absentee ballot.