The 2020 U.S. election isn’t just about Trump versus Biden –...

During the U.S. presidential election, voters in 32 states and the District of Columbia also have the option to approve or disapprove a variety of voting questions, ranging from proposals on elections, abortion rights, and taxes, to the legalization of magic mushrooms.

In total, at least 124 legal and constitutional questions appear in this year’s state votes – so-called voting measures or proposals, some of which are proposed by citizens and others by legislators.

California, which generally leads the country in election campaigns and sometimes sets off national trends, did so again this year at 12 for approval, followed by Colorado at 11.

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s election campaign.

elections

In Massachusetts and Alaska, citizens have proposed that states hold so-called ranked elections in state and federal elections. So far, only Maine has used the method whereby voters nationwide rate candidates based on preference on their ballot papers.

But some other states use it in some places.

Several proposals are under debate in California, including voting 17-year-olds and restoring the right to vote for paroled offenders.(Mark Von Holden, AP Images for the California Democratic Party Black Caucus via AP)

California’s proposal 18 would give 17-year-olds who turn 18 in the next general election and join 18 other states and Washington, DC, voting rights in the primaries.

State proposal 17 would restore the right to vote for probation officers convicted of criminal offenses.

Three states – Alabama, Colorado, and Florida – are calling on voters to amend their constitution to require that “only one citizen” can vote instead of “any citizen” false patriotism.

California gig workers

A man on a bike with a green Uber Eats backpack.

A man on a bike with a green Uber Eats backpack.

Proposition 22 is the first gig economy question to be asked in front of nationwide voters.(Unsplash: Robert Anasch)

California’s Proposal 22 is classified as a citizens’ initiative, but is backed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates, and would exempt company riders and delivery drivers from a state law that makes them employees, not contractors.

At $ 190 million, mostly from companies poured into the “YES 22” campaign, the proposal is the most expensive electoral measure of the year and the first gig economy question to be asked of statewide voters, Ballotpedia said.

By making drivers contractors rather than employees, the measure would deprive them of a variety of statutory rights such as unemployment insurance. But it would provide minimum wage rates, health care subsidies, and some accident insurance coverage.

Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms

For the first time, a state would allow the use of psilocybin, a hallucinogen also known in its raw form as magic mushrooms, for therapeutic use by adults 21 and older if Oregon voters approve the Psilocybin Services Act.

Relying on some research showing the drug’s benefits in treating anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses, the 71-page proposal includes a two-year plan to look into the matter further and put in place a regulatory structure before psilocybin licenses can be granted.

Opponents, including the Oregon newspaper, say the proposal “tries to get ahead of science too quickly”.

In a related Washington DC civic action, voters will consider Initiative 81, which would instruct police to include “entheogenic plants and mushrooms,” including psilocybin and mescaline, among their lowest enforcement priorities.

Marijuana

Though the measures are no longer indicative, voters in five states will be considering proposals to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medicinal adult use.

The Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota ballots will ask voters to approve recreational use of the drug, in some cases changing their constitutions to do so.

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Arms sales in the United States are rising for fear of unrest

South Dakota also has a referendum on medical marijuana, while Mississippi has competing voting questions – one from citizens and one from lawmakers.

As of 1996, 33 states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana, 11 have approved recreational use, and 16, including some medical marijuana states, have decriminalized simple possession, according to the National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Laws.

abortion

The country’s dispute over abortion rights will be broadcast from the courts and state houses to the polling booths this year, as it does in almost every election cycle.

Colorado Proposition 115 would ban abortions after 22 weeks of gestation, except for those necessary to save the mother’s life.

While 43 states are already restricting abortions at some point during pregnancy, 15 of the restrictions have been blocked by court orders, according to Ballotpedia.

In Louisiana, lawmakers are urging voters to approve an amendment that would make it clear that the state constitution does not protect the right to abortion or the funding of abortion.

The change would pave the way for the state to ban abortion if the US Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling protecting abortion rights under the US Constitution.

Wildlife

The once endangered gray wolf is on the Colorado ballot, where supporters urge voters to form a commission to reintroduce the animals and administer them in the western part of the state where they once lived.

Proponents of Proposition 114 say that bringing the wolves back over the next three years after they were killed more than 80 years ago would restore the necessary balance to Colorado’s environment with far-reaching benefits.

A wolf looking at the camera

A wolf looks at the camera

Gray wolves have repopulated the mountains and forests of the American West at a remarkable rate since they were reintroduced 25 years ago.(Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service via AP)

Gray wolves have been reintroduced in Montana, Idaho, and Yellowstone National Park.

Opponents argue that the predators are already invading from neighboring states and pose a threat to ranchers, hunters and endangered species.

It is a “ballot box biology” to let the voters and not the experts in wildlife management decide on the topic.

The decision would be made days after the Trump administration announced it would remove the wolves from a list of federally protected species so they could be hunted in the bottom 48 states, where their numbers rose from 1,000 in the 1970s to around 6,000 is.

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Antony Green reveals the keys to winning the US presidential election.

Reuters

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