Voter turnout for midterm elections typically lags behind turnout for presidential elections. In 2010, for instance, 37% of registered voters went to the midterm polls. For the 2012 presidential election, 54% of registered voters cast their ballot.
However, just because voter turnout for midterm election day can be lackluster doesn’t mean these elections are unimportant. In fact, midterm elections can be particularly helpful for passing legislation related to climate change.
By discussing various climate change ballot initiatives on the midterm ballots, we’ll help you cast your vote for a more eco-friendly, carbon-neutral country.
#1 California Climate Change Initiatives
California has seven initiatives on the ballot this November. These initiatives range from gambling legislation to bills funding school art and music programs. “Proposition 30” specifically targets the environment.
Supported by many environmental groups, “Proposition 30” seeks to impose a 1.75% tax hike on yearly incomes exceeding $2 million. Politicians would then put this extra revenue towards several initiatives designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives include:
- Electric car subsidies
- Clean Air Trust Fund subsidies
- Prevention of wildfires
By using a portion of “Proposition 30’s” intended tax revenue to fund electric car initiatives, politicians hope to curb carbon emissions from vehicles.
#2 Florida Climate Change Initiatives
Although Florida doesn’t have any direct climate action propositions on its 2022 midterm ballot, the state’s proposed “Amendment 1” can impact future environmental initiatives.
That’s because “Amendment 1” proposes to disregard home flood improvements when assessing property values for tax purposes. Supporters argue that this proposal will incentivize homeowners to take action to reduce flood-related damages.
Given that 4.85 million Florida homeowners made flood-related FEMA claims between 2000 and 2010, this proposal could, theoretically, do the following:
- Decrease flood-related governmental spending
- Increase funding to other environmental initiatives
- Help reduce the environmental risks of flooding
By reducing post-flood damage control in favor of more preventative measures, Florida could potentially limit reconstruction efforts. These efforts typically involve large machines that release greenhouse gas emissions.
#3 Illinois Climate Change Initiatives
Like Florida, Illinois doesn’t have any direct climate change ballot initiatives on the 2022 midterm ballot. Nevertheless, the ballot does feature a proposed amendment that can have serious environmental consequences.
The proposed amendment is “Amendment 1,” a ballot initiative that supports a state-protected right for workers to collectively bargain. If passed, “Amendment 1” would allow workers to negotiate:
- Work hours
- Work conditions
As far as environmental concerns, the last point may be particularly impactful. Under collective bargaining, workers could theoretically push back against work conditions that aren’t eco-friendly.
In short, non-eco-friendly work environments can do more than harm the environment—they can harm workers.
#4 Louisiana Climate Change Initiatives
As its name indicates, Louisiana’s “Waiving Water Charges Amendment” would waive water charges for customers who’ve incurred water fees because of infrastructural negligence.
While the proposal’s detractors argue that Louisiana would lose revenue from these water charges, supporters may argue that this proposal would strengthen water infrastructures.
In other words, this proposal may incentivize governments and utility companies to shore up their water delivery systems to save money.
In addition to potentially spreading waterborne pathogens, damaged infrastructures can result in water loss. Over time, water loss can have serious environmental consequences.
#5 New York Climate Change Initiatives
New York’s “Environment and Climate Change Projects Bonds Measure” is the most comprehensive climate policy proposal.
That’s because this proposal seeks to issue $4.2 billion in general obligations bonds to help finance:
- General climate change projects – According to the proposal, $1.5 billion would go towards general climate change projects and the best environmental charities. These projects include:
- Green building projects
- Wetland preservation
- Zero-emissions school busses
- Street trees
- Green roofs
- Flood-reduction – Up to $1.1 billion would go towards flood-reduction projects. These projects include coastline restoration and flood-prone construction.
- Land conservation – This proposal also seeks to allocate at least $650 million toward land conservation projects. In doing so, this proposal would fund conservation programs, projects, and fish hatcheries.
- Water infrastructure improvements – At least $650 million would go towards water infrastructure improvements. These improvements consist of wastewater treatment, septic infrastructure, algae blooms, and other concerns about water quality.
By proposing this ballot, New York is following in the footsteps of many companies who are learning how to offset their carbon footprint through reforestation and clean money investments.
Tips for Voting in Midterm Elections
Knowing climate policy proposals can only get you so far. To witness climate-focused ballot initiatives enacted, you must also vote for them. Here are a few tips for voting on midterm election day:
- Do your research – Unlike presidential elections, media outlets may not heavily advertise midterm elections. As a result, many people may not know what they’re voting for or against. To complicate matters, some proposal wording can be confusing or misleading. Researching ballot initiatives can help you understand what you’re supporting.
- Register to vote – Be sure to register to vote by your state and county’s deadlines. Failing to register means you likely won’t be able to cast a vote for important climate initiatives.
Vote With Your Wallet with Aspiration
Although midterm elections occur every two years, you don’t have to wait for these elections to cast your vote for climate change initiatives. You can make a change by preventing climate change and banking investments that further worsen it. Here at Aspiration, our sustainable financial services allow you to focus on the environment with every dollar you spend.
Furthermore, our clean money focus means your deposits never fund harmful, carbon-emitting companies and programs. We’re also committed to reforestation, helping neutralize vehicle carbon emissions, and measuring our environmental impact.
Investing in climate change solutions is easy. By opening an account and acquiring an eco-friendly debit card or applying for a green credit card with Aspiration, you’re doing more than banking smarter in the present. You’re casting a vote for a cleaner tomorrow.
Ballotpedia. Florida Amendment 1, Disregard Flood Resistance Improvements in Property Value Assessments Measure (2022). https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_1,_Disregard_Flood_Resistance_Improvements_in_Property_Value_Assessments_Measure_(2022)
Ballotpedia. Illinois 2022 ballot measures. https://ballotpedia.org/Illinois_2022_ballot_measures
Ballotpedia. Louisiana Waiving Water Charges Amendment (2022). https://ballotpedia.org/Louisiana_Waiving_Water_Charges_Amendment_(2022)
Ballotpedia. New York Environment and Climate Change Projects Bond Measure (2022). https://ballotpedia.org/New_York_Environment_and_Climate_Change_Projects_Bond_Measure_(2022)
Cal Matters. California ballot measures: What you need to know. https://calmatters.org/explainers/california-ballot-measures-2022/
Pew Research Center. Voter turnout always drops off for midterm elections, but why? https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/24/voter-turnout-always-drops-off-for-midterm-elections-but-why/