Three weeks ago, I gave a run­down of the items on the bal­lot in the var­i­ous states this year. Today is elec­tion day for most of those states. I’ve pared every­thing down to the ones that are most impor­tant to watch today.

Ari­zona

State Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Rus­sell Pearce is the archi­tect of Arizona’s con­tro­ver­sial immi­gra­tion reform mea­sure, SB 1070 (the “Sup­port Our Law Enforce­ment and Safe Neigh­bor­hoods Act”). Pearce is being chal­lenged in a recall elec­tion by a more mod­er­ate Repub­li­can with the unfor­tu­nate name of Jerry Lewis. Lewis and other Pearce oppo­nents charge he has been too absorbed in the immi­gra­tion issue to focus on bills that would be more impor­tant to most Ari­zo­nans, such as jobs and edu­ca­tion. Polling indi­cates a photo fin­ish race in this con­ser­v­a­tive State Sen­ate district.

 

Ken­tucky

Guber­na­to­r­ial Election

Demo­c­ra­tic incum­bent Steve Bas­hear is run­ning against Repub­li­can David L. Williams and inde­pen­dent Gate­wood Gal­braith. Recent polls show Bas­hear with a very com­fort­able double-​​digit lead, so the only thing we’re really look­ing for here is a shock­ing upset.

Maine

Same Day Reg­is­tra­tion Veto Referendum

As a reminder, Maine Gov­er­nor Paul LeP­age, a Repub­li­can favored by Tea Party sup­port­ers, voted a repeal of same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion into law. This ini­tia­tive would over­turn the repeal, rein­stat­ing same-​​day registration.

Recent polling sug­gests that this ini­tia­tive will pass, but by a single-​​digit per­cent­age. The out­come here will sug­gest how well the Tea Party is doing in Maine: if it passes, the Tea Party is los­ing strength. Watch for the final mar­gin on this one.

Mis­sis­sippi

 Ini­tia­tive 26

This is the anti-​​abortion ini­tia­tive. Should it become law, “[t]he term  ‘per­son’ or ‘per­sons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fer­til­iza­tion, cloning or the func­tional equiv­a­lent thereof,” accord­ing to the initiative.

This is one of those that seems sim­ple on the sur­face, but prob­a­bly has a bunch of lurk­ing unin­tended con­se­quences. The ini­tia­tive may also vio­late the Mis­sis­sippi state con­sti­tu­tion, which pro­hibits the use of the ini­tia­tive process to amend the Bill of Rights por­tion of the constitution.

It’s a huge one to watch. Polling shows pretty much an even split between those in favor, and those opposed.

Ini­tia­tive 27

This is Mississippi’s voter dis­en­fran­chise­ment ini­tia­tive, requir­ing a government-​​issued pho­to­graphic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The Repub­li­can Party spon­sored it, and it is almost guar­an­teed to pass. It’s not impor­tant as a bell­wether; it’s impor­tant as another instance of voter disenfranchisement.

Ohio

Issue 2

This is the ini­tia­tive to repeal Ohio Sen­ate Bill 5. SB5 was designed to limit the power of pub­lic employee unions in the state, by:

  • lim­it­ing bar­gain­ing to wages and hours
  • out­law­ing strikes
  • shift­ing teach­ers to pay by performance
  • cut­ting sick leave by 33%
  • cap­ping vaca­tion leave
  • elim­i­nat­ing union dues pay­ment requirements
  • giv­ing the gov­ern­ing body final say over con­tract dis­putes, and
  • pro­hibit­ing char­ter schools from col­lec­tive bargaining

The ini­tia­tive itself is almost cer­tain to pass, based on recent polls show­ing com­fort­able double-​​digit leads. Watch for the actual num­bers, since they will indi­cate the degree to which unions retain pop­u­lar­ity in Ohio.

Issue 3

This ini­tia­tive would exempt Ohio res­i­dents from the PPACA indi­vid­ual man­date. It may be a good lit­mus test for the pop­u­lar­ity of the PPACA (and, by proxy, Pres­i­dent Obama) in Ohio. If noth­ing else, expect the results of this ini­tia­tive to be used in that man­ner by polit­i­cal pun­dits over the next year.

Wash­ing­ton

The two ini­tia­tives listed below are not nation­ally impor­tant, but they are inter­est­ing in the sig­nif­i­cant impact they will have on the future of Wash­ing­ton State.

Ini­tia­tive 1125

This is the Tim Eyman ini­tia­tive that tar­gets the vari­able tolls added of late to the SR-​​520 and I-​​90 float­ing bridges across Lake Wash­ing­ton. If it passes, it will pro­hibit gas taxes and road tolls from being used for non-​​transportation pur­poses, require tolls to be set by the state leg­is­la­ture, pro­hibit tolls on one road from being used to fund another road, and pro­hibit tolls var­ied by the time of day.

This ini­tia­tive polled well early on, but has tight­ened to the point where the lat­est polling indi­cates a sta­tis­ti­cal tie. It’s one for our Wash­ing­ton read­er­ship to watch, but doesn’t have sig­nif­i­cant national implications.

Ini­tia­tive 1183

This ini­tia­tive would close the state-​​run liquor stores and allow for state licens­ing of pri­vate par­ties to sell alco­hol. Wash­ing­ton state pro­hibits pri­vate par­ties from sell­ing alco­holic bev­er­ages other than beer and wine.

A pre­vi­ous ini­tia­tive on this sub­ject failed, in part because of con­cerns of a decrease in the amount of state rev­enues. This ver­sion would there­fore assess a 17 per­cent tax on all liquor sales.

Costco, based in Issaquah, Wash­ing­ton, (a sub­urb of Seat­tle) has been push­ing for years for per­mis­sion to sell hard liquor. Polling sug­gests that they may have got­ten it right this time; a bare major­ity have pretty con­sis­tently been in favor of 1183.