What you need to know when you enter the voting booth

November 4, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

vote2016-540x250There are only four more days until the upcoming general election, and conversation is heating up. It may be leaving you confused, but with a little research you can approach the voting booth with confidence.
There are several items on the ballot that are confusing to people, and we thought we would address the highlights here.
The presidential election has been more than publicized in regard to the top candidates, so here’s a breakdown of the lesser-known candidates:
President and Vice President:
Donald Trump (REP):

  • Careful screening of immigrants, restoring Patriot Act provisions to allow personal Internet data to be collected
  • Ending government corruption and wasteful spending, as well as creating better-paying jobs in an attempt to regrow a stagnant economy
  • Reforming the tax code and renegotiating NAFTA
  • More affordable tuition for college students and less restriction on schools in making choices for their students
  • Repealing Obamacare
  • Stricter enforcement of immigration laws

His running mate for vice president is Michael Pence (REP).
Hillary Rodham Clinton (DEM)

  • Tax relief for working families, raising minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy
  • Familes making $125,000 or less can go to in-state four-year public college tuition-free.
  • More solar energy use and renewable energy resources in general
  • Reforming gun laws, with more comrehensive background checks and keeping assult weapons off the street
  • Comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship
  • Stopping tax giveaways to big oil and gas companies.

Clinton’s running mate for vice president is Timothy Michael Kaine (DEM).
Gary Johnson (LFP)

  • Vetoing legislation that would result in deficit spending, reductions in spending without tax increases
  • Getting the government out of people’s lives, protecting freedoms instead of restricting them
  • Getting rid of Common Core teaching methods, allowing more local control over education policies
  • One single consumption tax, doing away wtih income and payroll tax
  • Not allowing the federal government to stand in the way of states that choose to legalize marijuana
  • Freedom for all to marry the person they choose to marry

His running mate for vice president is Bill Weld (LPF).
Darrell Castle (CPD)

  • Withdrawing from the United Nations
  • Deconstructing the Federal Reserve
  • Allowing anyone to marry, because it isn’t the government’s business
  • Limiting the power of the federal government as a whole
  • Withdrawing federal government from programs which don’t respect private property rights, such as Sustainable Development and Local Visioning
  • Very, very pro-life

His running mate for vice president is Scott Bradley (CPF).
Jill Stein (GRE)

  • Enacting emergency measures to turn the tide on climate change
  • Redirecting research funds from fossil fuels to renewable energy, ending fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling and pipelines
  • Creating living-wage jobs for Americans who need work
  • Encouraging the formation of unions
  • Repealing the Taft-Hartley Act, which bans boycotts and state “right-to-work” laws.
  • One single public health program

Her running mate is Ajamu Baraka (GRE).
Roque De La Fuente (REF)

  • Providing for the general welfare of American citizens and exercising military capabilities only when necessary
  • Addressing illiteracy, poverty and healthcare
  • Building a cogent strategy to replace nonrenewable energy with renewable resources
  • Restricting federal spending, indexing the federal budget to the prior year’s GDP
  • Providing for the Department of Justice to more readily engage independent prosecutors to pursue politicial corruption.

His running mate is Michael Steinberg (REF).
United State Senator:
Marco Rubio (REP): Wants to promote strong Florida families, abolish Common Core, cut taxes for business and families and repeal Obamacare.
Patrick Murphy (DEM): Wants more gun control, immigration reform, more union workers, more growth in the middle class sector.
Paul Stanton (LPF): Wants to stop the war on drugs, ease corporate taxation, create more opportunities for impoverished Americans, stop crony capitalism.
Tony Khoury (NPA): Wants more job creation, Social Security reform, finding health insurance alternatives, supporting the Choice Program of Tomorrow for veterans, re-evaluation of gun laws.
Bruce Nathan (NPA): Wants to eliminate Common Core and fund more Zika virus research.
Steven Machat (NPA): Disavows corrupt corporations, including those that pollute Florida’s water. Wants to lower interest rates on student loans.
Basil Dalack (NPA): World peace.
Lee County Sheriff:
Mike Scott (REP): Wants expansion of youth outreach and intervention programs, more drug enforcement.
James Didio (NPA): Seeks higher pay for deputies, eliminating top-heavy administration, having an open door policy with the media.
Charlotte County Sheriff:
Bill Prummell (REP): More focus on mental health services, against legalization of any type of marijuana
Jim Melo (DEM): Maintaining professionalism within the department, more financial accountability
Ed Pope (NPA): Wants to demilitarize the sheriff’s office, uphold deputies’ service to the people and not to politics, manage the budget.
No. 1 Constitutional Amendment, Article X, Section 29
Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Source
This amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.
Voting yes would make it difficult to change future solar energy policy and would establish a constitutional – not statutory – right for people to own or lease solar power equipment. However, costs to the users of solar power would soar under the wording of this amendment.
A vote of “no” leaves the law alone, allowing people to buy or lease solar equipment without restriction, and would protect existing rules that allow net metering, a process in which people can sell their excess solar power back to the grid.
This is a highly-controversial amendment. It’s worth some research.
No. 2 Constitutional Amendment,   Article X, Section 29
Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions
Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law.
Marijuana and its components have been known to replace opioids and other strong, addictive drugs in patients with seizures, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinsons and hundreds more. This bill would allow people with these conditions living in Florida the right to purchase medical marijuana through strict licensing agreements with heavily regulated dispensaries. Laws regarding recreational use of marijuana would not change.
Some people believe it will lead to increased community drug use and devaluation of real estate around places where marijuana is sold.
If you vote yes, the impact on property tax revenues cannot be determined.
No. 3 Constitutional Amendment, Article X, Section 29
Tax Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize a first responder who is totally and permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty to receive relief from ad valorem taxes assessed on homestead property, if authorized by general law. If approved by voters, the amendment takes effect January 1, 1017.
Many say it’s better to vote “no” on this one, as new exemptions shift the burden of payment to state taxpayers, and that tax reform should take place across the board. Others say this is a good thing, because it will allow the State legislature to decide whether the exemption should provide full or partial relief from property taxes for individuals injured while assisting the general public.
The legislature has been toying with this amendment since 2012, when it was rejected but other amendments like it were approved.
In general, there is little support or opposition shown.
No. 5 Constitutional Amendment, Article X, Section 29
Homestead tax exemption for certain Senior, Low-Income, Long-Term Residents; Determination of Just Value
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to revise the homestead tax exemption that may be granted by counties or municipalities for property with a just value less than $250,000 owned by certain senior, low-income, long-term residents to specify that just value is determined in the first tax year the owner applies and is eligible for the exemption.
This is an adjustment to homestead taxes for seniors who meet a certain income threshhold and have lived at least 25 years in the home. This amendment will simply enable the original 2012 amendment to work as intended.
Very few people are contesting this one.
The amendment takes effect January 1,2017, and applies retroactively to exemptions granted before January 1, 2017.
Polls are open on Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Florida law requires that you provide picture and signature identification at the polls and prohibits a voter from voting in a precinct in which the voter does not reside.
Your polling place on the island is the Boca Grande Community Center Woman’s Club Room if you live in Lee County.
If you live in Charlotte County, your polling place is the American Legion Hall in Rotonda, 3436 Indiana Road.
Election Day is this coming Tuesday, Nov. 8.