- Voters across the country cast their ballots for the 2022 midterm national, state and local candidates on Tuesday, and they also voted on a list of ballot measures.
- Michigan, California and Vermont enshrined the right to abortion in their state constitutions on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an anti-abortion measure in Kentucky was voted down by voters.
- Voters in Maryland and Missouri have approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for people 21 and older. But voters in Arkansas and North Dakota rejected the legalization proposals.
Millions of voters across the country cast their ballots for the 2022 midterm elections on Tuesday.
In addition to choosing top state and local officials, their votes are expected to determine whether Democrats will be able to retain control of the U.S. House and Senate, or whether Republicans will overthrow one or both houses of Congress.
As the sun crept over the East Coast on Wednesday, there was one draw left. Democrats won key Senate and gubernatorial seats, such as John Fetterman flipping the Pennsylvania Senate seat against Republican Mehmet Oz. The “red wave” of Republican strength was not unfolding Wednesday morning, despite victories like incumbent Republican Brian Kemp beating Democrat Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor. Many well-attended races have yet to be called.
Amid millions of votes for lawmakers, voters also weighed in on ballot initiatives from coast to coast – on issues ranging from legalizing marijuana to access to abortion and prohibition of slavery.
Some Americans voted on raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and on policies designed to fight climate change.
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Abortion access votes in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Vermont
After the Supreme Court overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade earlier this year, access to abortion became a key issue in states across the country. For the midterms, advocates hoped states across the country would protect reproductive rights.
Voters in Michigan, California and Vermont on Tuesday enshrined the right to abortion in their state constitutions, according to tallies by The Associated Press. In Kentucky, an anti-abortion measure on ballots was rejected by voters.
The rejection of the amendment, which attempted to deny any constitutional protections for abortion in the state, marks a significant victory for proponents of abortion rights. Kentucky’s GOP-dominated legislature has imposed a near-total ban on abortions — which could yet be upheld by the state’s Supreme Court. But rejecting the amendment also means there is a possibility for the court to declare abortion a state right.
And in Montana, a referendum could mean criminal charges for healthcare workers if they don’t take “all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life” of a child born alive, including after an attempted death. ‘abortion.
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Ballot measures in Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Nebraska
Voting rights were listed on ballots in several states for midterms — including measures on voter identification, early voting, and ballot initiative voting rules.
In Connecticut, a constitutional amendment to allow in-person early voting passed in Tuesday’s election.
Meanwhile, voters in Ohio passed an amendment that would bar people who aren’t U.S. citizens from voting in local elections. And in Nebraska, voters passed a measure that requires valid photo ID to vote in any election.
In Arizona, voters were asked if they should be required to provide a date of birth and voter ID number for advance voting affidavits, instead of just a signature. Arizonans also voted on proposals regarding ballot initiatives, including whether the state legislature can change or repeal measures voters have passed if the measures are found to be unconstitutional.
In Michigan, voters were asked to create a nine-day window for early voting, among other changes, such as requiring photo ID or a signed affidavit to vote. And Nevada ballots asked voters to establish preferential voting for congressional and some state elections.
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Prohibit slavery – especially among prisoners
Five states decided whether or not to abolish slavery on election day. Voters in three states — Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont — passed measures to amend their states’ constitutions to outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime, according to tallies from the Associated Press.
In Oregon, the vote remained too close to be announced Wednesday morning – but votes in favor of passing the state’s anti-slavery initiative were ahead. Meanwhile, Louisiana voters rejected an amendment to remove language from the state constitution allowing for involuntary servitude in the criminal justice system.
Yes, over 150 years ago the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution ended slavery nationally when it was ratified in 1865. But loopholes still allow it as a punishment for people convicted of a crime.
If passed, these referendums could be more than a token gesture. Supporters of criminal justice reform have said it could mean higher wages for prison work, among other changes.
Maryland and Missouri legalize recreational weed; more states vote on drug policies
Marijuana has appeared on ballots in several states this year. In Arkansas, Missouri, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota, voters faced the possibility of legalizing marijuana for people 21 and older.
Voters in Maryland and Missouri on Tuesday approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for people 21 and older through constitutional amendments. The two-state measures will also make changes to criminal law and overturn many previous marijuana possession convictions. In Missouri, for example, non-violent offenses will be removed – except for selling to minors or driving under the influence.
South Dakota’s marijuana legalization initiative was still too close to call early Wednesday, according to Associated Press tallies. Meanwhile, voters in Arkansas and North Dakota on Tuesday rejected legalization proposals.
Colorado voters debated whether the state should define certain psychedelic mushrooms and plants as natural medicines. The amendment would also allow the personal use, possession, transportation and growth of the substances for people 21 or older. On Wednesday morning, the vote was too early to be announced.
DC raises minimum wage for tipped workers; Nevada and Nebraska vote on salary increases
Nevada voters had the option on Tuesday to raise the minimum wage in the state to $12 an hour. The current state minimum wage is between $9.50 and $10.50, depending on whether or not the person has health insurance.
Nebraska voters have approved a ballot measure that will dramatically increase the state’s minimum wage from $9 currently to $15 an hour by 2026.
In Washington, DC, voters chose to raise the minimum wage for tipped employees to match the wages of non-tipped employees.
Contributor: Associated Press.
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