August 5, 2014 election results: Missouri right-to-farm narrowly approved, gun rights amendment succeeded and Michigan PPT to be phased out
Missouri election results
|Endorsements • Full text|
|Advertisements • Polls|
With the width of a corn silk between the "yes" and "no" votes, the right-to-farm amendment remains too close to call in Missouri. While voters were largely united in their support for the right to bear arms and digital privacy, the contentious Amendment 1 remained tight throughout election night. Voters rejected a temporary tax increase to fund transportation projects. Also defeated, though by a smaller margin, was the amendment to create a lottery ticket to fund veterans programs.
Amendment 1's results reflect the heated debate that filled the campaigns for and against the measure. Passionate voices were outspoken on both sides of this issue that demonstrated a lack of unity within the agricultural community in regards to this measure. If approved, the measure will add a new section to the Missouri Constitution which would protect "the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices." Supporters called for the measure saying it was a necessary step to protect modern farming practices from out-of-state activists and a society increasingly out-of-touch with rural, agricultural life. Opponents, however, saw the measure as part of a series of actions by the Missouri Legislature to protect large, corporate and, sometimes, internationally owned agricultural enterprises in the state to the detriment of small, family-owned farms. While both sides argued with conviction, what exactly the "right-to-farm" would mean under this amendment has been considered unclear by many. If the measure is ultimately approved, court rulings will likely come to play an important role in determining what exactly Amendment 1 protects.
As of Wednesday morning, supporters' 2,528 vote lead held. While many are calling a recount likely, supporters have stated their confidence that the numbers will hold. Missouri would be only the second state in the nation to have a constitutional right-to-farm, if Amendment 1 is approved. North Dakota was the first with a ballot measure it passed in 2012.
Missouri's stance on gun rights has no such ambiguity following the overwhelming approval of Amendment 5. Over 60 percent of voters supported the amendment, which provides an "unalienable" right to bear arms and a level of "strict scrutiny" for any future attempts to limit such rights in the state. While the state's constitution already included protections for gun rights, the amendment strengthened these rights with those phrases as well as removed the phrase that explicitly stated the constitution did not "justify the wearing of concealed weapons." Like the other primary ballot measures, Amendment 5 was largely overshadowed by Amendment 1, but it will likely have significant bearing for all future gun legislation in Missouri.
Voters were similarly decisive in their rejection of Amendment 7, which would have imposed a temporary increase in sales and use taxes to pay for transportation improvements in the state. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, revenue for transportation projects had declined due to inflation, a lack of fuel tax revenues and a loss of temporary funding. The fuel tax was said to have lost its effectiveness because it had not been raised in 20 years and vehicles had increased in efficiency. How the state will choose to handle the impending funding short falls remains to be seen, but voters made clear their opposition to raising sales taxes to make up the difference.
Also rejected was Amendment 8 which would have created a lottery ticket to fund veterans programs. Missourians will have to wait and see if and how the state will respond with other possible funding sources for veterans, as well.
Digital privacy received the most overwhelming support of the night as Amendment 9 received almost 75 percent approval from voters. Considered by some to be superfluous in light of the June 25, 2014, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Riley v. California, Amendment 9 provides a right to privacy for electronic communications and data. Whether or not such an amendment can have a real impact without action by the federal government remains to be seen. Regardless, it is a unique move to protect Americans' increasingly digital lives.
Michigan election results
Michigan Proposal 1 was well-received at the ballot box, despite supporters' concerns that voters would not understand the measure's language and instinctually vote no. Rather, 69 percent of voters approved the measure. Less than one month ago, 42 percent of likely general election voters said they were undecided or felt neutral about Proposal 1. Only 31 percent said they supported the amendment. Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities’ $8.5 million "education campaign" succeeded.
Proposal 1 is designed to incrementally phase out the personal property tax, also known as the PPT, on industrial and commercial personal property by 2023, while reallocating use tax revenue to local governments to replace money they would lose without the PPT.
Some supporters fretted about the consequences of the proposal not passing. Gov. Snyder (R) and Republicans in the Michigan Legislature want to eliminate the PPT and, as some suggest, would have done so with or without Proposal 1. Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokesperson for Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities, noted, "The fear that all of those expressed is that the Legislature will come back after the primary, pursue eliminating the personal property tax for business but not reimbursing local communities. I’ve heard more than one Republican legislator say, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what I plan to do." A PPT phase out without Proposal 1 would have meant loss revenue for local governments and services.
Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities officially ended their campaign following their victory, saying, "Michigan voters clearly took the time to get all the facts on this issue, thoughtfully considered what was at stake, and then cast an educated vote for what was best for Michigan – a “YES” vote on Proposal 1."
In local elections, voters in Hazel Park and Oak Park approved local initiatives to legalize marijuana. In Hazel Park 62 percent of electors voted in favor of legal cannabis. The margin of approval in Oak Park was a little lower, with 53 percent voting "yes." These two races - the first of slated for 2014 elections - mark the fifteenth and sixteenth local victories for Safer Michigan Coalition since 2004, when the organization started coordinating such local measures.
- Missouri Secretary of State, "Primary Election - August 5, 2014," accessed August 5, 2014
- St. Louis Beacon, "Proposed 'right to farm' constitutional amendment likely to end up in court," June 17, 2013
- KY3, "Law expert says wording of 'Right To Farm' amendment is vague," August 3, 2014
- Kansas City Public Media, "'Right to Farm' Passes Narrowly, Recount Possible," August 6, 2014
- emissourian.com, "Smaller Version of Transportation Sales Tax Passes Senate," May 3, 2014
- MLive, "2014 Michigan election results: Proposal 1," August 5, 2014
- Denno Research, "Statewide Survey of Michigan General Election Voters Wednesday, July 9-Friday, July 11, 2014," July 22, 2014
- Michigan Secretary of State, "Michigan Committee Statement of Organization," accessed July 25, 2014
- Senate Fiscal Agency, "Ballot Proposal 14-1," accessed July 28, 2014
- Citizens Research Council of Michigan, "Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2014-1," accessed July 15, 2014
- Detroit Free Press, "Proposal 1 to repeal Michigan tax on equipment approved by voters," August 5, 2014
- Livingston Daily, "'Engaged voters' to decide Proposal 1, supporters argue," August 4, 2014 (dead link)
- Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities, "Thank you!," August 6, 2014
- WoodTV.com, "Oak Park, Hazel Park voters approve pot proposals," August 5, 2014