SHORT TAKES: Voters need to be informed on issues

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:06 am on Monday, September 17, 2012

Yes or no … You’d better know the difference.

Of the many choices Michigan voters will make on Election Day, Nov. 6, few will be more confusing or complex than those in the series of special interest ballot initiatives designed to revise our Constitution. Some are heavily financed by groups hoping to shield their specific interests from the traditional political process. Historically, governance has left a wide variety of public issues open to a gradual process of reform and revision. These narrowly focused questions have been pushed onto the ballot as constitutional amendments intentionally purposed to circumvent and/or handcuff conventional legislative practices.

These issues will be on the slate as simple yes or no questions. But the most important challenge to voters will be to understand whether a yes vote means: yes, we want, or yes we don’t want. The devil is in the details, and the details will be in the wording of the ballot proposal.

It’s your responsibility as a citizen to help guide the path of our state government. Some issues being posed in November represent a sea change in how our laws are established.

America’s tradition of a constitutionally guided government with relatively rare changes to its overriding principles has worked pretty well.

We are now being accosted by a clamorous practice of government by recall, referendum and single-issue constitution changes. The problem may be exacerbated by the extreme partisanship and lack of compromise by today’s political parties; but also by the refusal of other groups to allow economic reforms being demanded by a global economy.

We are solidly in support of government by the people. We prefer that the people are well-informed, and that decisions being made are predictably in the best interests of all citizens. Constitutions are written to assure that stability. This newspaper will be doing its best to bring to you the necessary particulars of these constitutional issues, as well as to clarify what a yes or no vote means for each of them.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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