This November, voters will need to be educated

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 11, 2015

Whatever your take on Initiative 42, the ballot measure that, if passed, could mandate fully funding public education, or 42A, an opposite ballot measure that, if passed, will keep school funding as it is, the fact is, the whole voting process is convoluted.
First, lawmakers in Jackson introduced 42A, a similarly-titled initiative to the earlier Initiative 42 but which removed the words “be required to” from the phrase “Should the State be required to provide for the support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools?” Which critics have argued is a confusing thing to do in and of itself.
Earlier this week, Gov. Phil Bryant approved the official November ballots and it seems things are getting more confusing still.
By state law, voters will be able to give either Initiative 42 or Initiative 42A a straight up or down vote. Either you’re in favor of one and not the other, or vice versa. It’s simple; you pick one.
But that’s not all. After that, no matter how one votes, voters will face a second question: Which measure do you want to vote for?
In effect, this is asking voters: Do you prefer apples or oranges? Which do you like?
According to reporting by MPB, whatever initiative gets a simple 50 percent plus one majority, that initiative is on the way to becoming state law. But only if whatever initiative gets the outright majority in the first question can also get at least 40 percent support from all statewide ballots.
We’re not picking sides in this matter. But confusing ballots and ballots that are needlessly tedious are reminiscent of early attempts to maliciously confuse voters to distract from unfavorable outcomes.
We hope all our readers will take time to educate themselves on the November ballot (which we will be printing prior to the election) and go into the booth educated and prepared.

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