Yesterday voters headed to the polls to voice their decisions on straight ticket voting, the sale of state bonds for infrastructure improvements and the collective bargaining rights of Michigan government employees.

Only one of the three proposals met success at the polls while the other two failed to earn the votes needed to pass.

Proposal 02-1: FAILED.

With a 60/40 split, the proposal for straight ticket voting, which stated that voters would no longer be able to choose a party’s slate of candidates with only one mark on their ballots, did not pass.

This decision backs the petition drive, which put the law of banning straight ticket voting to a referendum. Since the proposal failed, voters will still be able to use straight ticket voting.

“We know people wanted a chance to vote it down and they did,” said Party spokesman Ben Kohrman, who stated that Democrats opposed the proposal.

Kohrman noted that after the Republican-controlled Legislature approved the law ending straight party voting, Democrats were able to easily collect enough signatures to put the referendum on the ballot.

“”We collected 350,000 signatures in the dead of winter in only 60 days,” Kohrman said.

Proposal 02-2: PASSED.

This proposal was expected to pass and did so by a comfortable margin of about 10 points.

The proposal asked the voters to approve the sale of $1 billion in state bonds for the purpose of funding sewage treatment infrastructure improvements.

“There will be less sewage going into lakes and it will fix what has become a serious water quality problem in Michigan … people will see a marked improvement in the quality of the water, especially near urban areas,” said Anne Woiwode, director of the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club, America’s largest, oldest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

The distribution of the funds is dependent on the communities that require funding.

“The communities will have to access their own funds and take advantage of them … they need to be willing to go ahead and do that,” Woiwode said.

According to the non-partisan state Senate Fiscal Agency, the proposal would cost Michigan taxpayers $334 each over the next 30 years, or $11 per year.

Proposal 02-3: TOO CLOSE TO CALL.

The votes were split nearly down the middle for Proposal 02-3. It proposed amending the state Constitution to guarantee Michigan government employees the right to collective bargaining.

With 29 percent of precincts reporting, 51 percent of those who cast ballots, or 401,580, had voted against the measure, while 49 percent, or 378,877, had voted in favor as of 2 a.m.

The proposal was placed on yesterday’s ballot by the Michigan Employee Rights Initiative – calling itself MERIT – which submitted about 400,000 petition signatures. The proposal allowed for Michigan employees to initiate binding arbitration through a third party in case bargaining fails.

“The proposal was meant to give us a chance to have a level playing field and to have our disputes be settled by a neutral party and not a politically appointed service commission,” said Alan Kilar, president of the Michigan Employee Rights Initiative, which supported the proposal.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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