Today’s Important Votes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Election Day: The Vital Votes, from Collective Bargaining to ‘Personhood’ (swampland.time.com)
- High Stakes in Ohio, Mississippi and Virginia as Voters Head to the Polls (swampland.time.com)
- State Elections Preview for November 8, 2011 (elections.firedoglake.com)
- What Election Day 2011 could tell us about 2012 (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- The Biggest Issues, Races on Today’s Ballots (newser.com)
- What Election Day 2011 could tell us about 2012 (cnn.com)
- Tea Party Looks To Impact Presidential Election (npr.org)