It was a pro-choice wave that swept through the various states where the issue of abortion rights was on the ballots, namely Kentucky, Michigan, Vermont, California and Montana.
An overwhelming majority of voters in Vermont and California have decided to enshrine reproductive rights in their respective Constitutions.
In Kentucky, a very conservative state where one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country is already in force, nearly 53% of voters rejected a measure aimed at amending the Constitution to formally ban abortion there.
This is a historic victory for the people of Kentuckyand Tamarra Wieder, of the organization, indicated in a press release Planned Parenthood.
This is not only a success in the face of government meddling and interference in individuals’ personal medical decisions, but it is also the first time that so many different organizations have come together for the specific purpose of combat a threat of this magnitude.
In Michigan, the issue was particularly critical because the referendum vote sought to prevent an old anti-abortion law dating from 1931 from taking effect. Finally, just over 55% of voters voted to enshrine the
reproductive freedom in their Constitution.
On the side of Montana, 53.9% of the votes rejected the proposal to give explicit legal rights to embryos and fetuses that are born alive, which would further restrict access to abortion.
States End Slavery, Louisiana Perpetuates It
Although slavery has been outlawed in the United States for 150 years, incarcerated people can still be enslaved by
punishment for a crime according to the 13e amendment to the US Constitution.
On Tuesday, Louisiana voters voted against an amendment to the Constitution to remove the section allowing slavery as a punishment.
Similar referendums, however, saw the opposite results in Vermont and Tennessee, where more than 80% of the population voted to abolish slavery.
Votes were still being counted late in the evening in Oregon, but at the time of this writing, more than half of voters had voted to end slavery in that state.
Cannabis still banned in several places
Voters in Maryland overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana, and Missouri followed closely behind.
On the other hand, in Arkansas and in South and North Dakota, the referendums pointed to a continuation of the criminalization of cannabis. Colorado voters were still undecided late in the evening on a proposal to decriminalize certain psychedelic drugs.
Cannabis legalization seems to be becoming an increasingly bipartisan issue, says the Washington Post. Some hoped that a victory in these conservative states could bring the debate to the federal stage.
Towards a Preferential Voting System in Nevada
Nevada citizens have positioned themselves for the integration of a new preferential voting system (where voters choose their candidates in order of preference). Some experts believe that preferential voting allows for greater representativeness and the selection of less polarized candidates. This voting method is already used in many cities across the country and in two states, Maine and Alaska.
Moreover, while this election is considered crucial for democracy, voters in several states have come out to restrict access to the vote (Nebraska, Ohio), or even to expand it (Michigan, Connecticut).
In Arizona, a proposal to restrict voting was on course to be denied late Tuesday evening.
The issue of access to firearms did not inflame debates during this election race, but voters in two states had to think about it.
In Iowa, a new constitutional right to own and carry a firearm has been won hands down.
In contrast, in Oregon, the race was still very tight for a new law to require obtaining a license to acquire a firearm, and to prohibit weapons that can contain more than 10 cartridges.
This report was produced during an internship at the Radio-Canada office in Washington thanks to a grant from the Fondation de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).