Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Ballot madness

If Michigan citizens get into voting booths on Nov. 6 and take time to study all six complicated proposals on the statewide ballot, they might end up standing in line for a week.

The ballot is clogged with several proposed constitutional amendments. They range from silly (a plan for union rules and a state registry for home health-care workers) to highly dangerous (a mandate that would make it virtually impossible to raise any state taxes, no matter what).

When the modern Michigan Constitution was written a half-century ago, its framers didn't imagine an era when moneyed interests would happily shell out millions of dollars to pay people to collect signatures to get proposals on the ballot. But that is what billionaire Manuel Moroun, owner of the Ambassador Bridge, has done this year in his campaign to protect his monopoly control over motor freight crossing on the Detroit River. For good measure, he also bankrolled the proposal aimed at preventing tax increases.

If this trend continues, Michigan government soon will be powerless, and the state an economic wasteland. The problem could be fixed, however, by making two simple changes.

One more amendment should be put on the ballot -- one that would make Michigan's constitution harder to amend. The Legislature also needs to outlaw the shady practice of paying canvassers to collect signatures, and to make it a crime to misrepresent to voters what a proposed amendment would do.

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