Yes­ter­day, Michael posted up a list of impor­tant bal­lot ini­tia­tives and elec­tions to watch. Today, let’s recap what we know as of this writ­ing (2 am EST) and what’s still out there.

Sixty/​forty splits were the order of the day, with many ini­tia­tives being decided by that mar­gin. Only a cou­ple of races are close: a Wash­ing­ton state trans­porta­tion tax ini­tia­tive and con­trol of the Vir­ginia State Sen­ate. We will be watch­ing those through the day Wednes­day, but the Vir­ginia race in par­tic­u­lar may not be decided for a week or more.

The title color indi­cates my best guess of whether the results favor the left (blue), the right (red), or neither/​mixed (gray).




Recall State Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Rus­sell Pearce

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 was 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 indi­cated a +3 mar­gin for Lewis, within the mar­gin of error of the poll.

Actual results had Lewis at +7, with 53% of the vote to Pearce’s 46%, a stun­ning defeat for a State Sen­a­tor in a lead­er­ship posi­tion. Pearce con­ceded with con­tro­ver­sial Sher­iff Joe Arpaio by his side.

In this case Lewis is far from “left”, but I’ve cho­sen a blue color to indi­cate a win for the mod­er­ate forces favor­ing a more bal­anced approach to immi­gra­tion policy.



Guber­na­to­r­ial Election

Demo­c­ra­tic incum­bent Steve Beshear ran against Repub­li­can David L. Williams and inde­pen­dent Gate­wood Galbraith.

Pre-​​election Real Clear Pol­i­tics aggre­gated polls had Beshear at 54%, Williams at 29%, and Gal­braith at 9%. The actual elec­tion results favored Beshear by a 56/​35/​9 mar­gin, or +21, not far from the +25 pre­dicted by the aggre­gated polls.



Same Day Reg­is­tra­tion Veto Referendum

Last year, the Republican/​Tea Party-​​dominated Maine leg­is­la­ture over­turned a same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem that had been in place in Maine since 1973. Maine Gov­er­nor Paul LeP­age, a Repub­li­can favored by Tea Party sup­port­ers, signed this repeal of same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion into law.

The ini­tia­tive, Ques­tion 1, gath­ered 71,000 sig­na­tures and was placed on the bal­lot. A “yes” vote was to rein­state the 1973 scheme of same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion. Polling sug­gested that the ini­tia­tive would pass, but by a single-​​digit percentage.

Actual results showed the restora­tion of same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion pass­ing by 60% “yes” on Ques­tion 1 to 40% “no”. This is a stun­ning repu­di­a­tion of those who claim ram­pant voter fraud, and a rever­sal for Tea Party sup­port­ers in Maine politics.


Ini­tia­tive 26

This is the anti-​​abortion ini­tia­tive, the so-​​called “per­son­hood” amend­ment. 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.

Polls showed pretty much an even split between those in favor, and those opposed. The actual vote was not close: vot­ers favored “no” on 26 by a 58% to 42% margin.

Ini­tia­tive 27

This is Mississippi’s voter dis­en­fran­chise­ment ini­tia­tive, requir­ing a government-​​issued pho­to­graphic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The Repub­li­can Party spon­sored it, and it was almost guar­an­teed to pass. It’s not impor­tant as a bell­wether; it’s impor­tant as another instance of voter dis­en­fran­chise­ment. It passed by about the same mar­gin as 26 failed: 62% in favor, 38% opposed.


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

Con­fus­ingly, a “no” vote over­turns the Sen­ate bill and is seen as a reaf­fir­ma­tion of union rights, while a “yes” vote sus­tains the Ohio State Senate’s action.

The ini­tia­tive was a strong repu­di­a­tion of the State Sen­ate action, which was sup­ported by Gov­er­nor Kasich and can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney. Vot­ers favored over­turn­ing SB 5 by a 63% to 37% mar­gin. Impor­tantly, the “no on 5″ ini­tia­tive has helped to build an orga­ni­za­tion that will now turn to the re-​​election of Pres­i­dent Obama in this crit­i­cal bell­wether state.

Issue 3

This ini­tia­tive would exempt Ohio res­i­dents from the PPACA indi­vid­ual man­date. Ohio vot­ers strongly sup­ported Issue 3, with 66% vot­ing “yes” (to exempt Ohioans from the man­date) and 34% vot­ing “no”. The actual impact of the bill is likely to be lim­ited, as Fed­eral law trumps State law. How­ever, it sends a strong mes­sage that vot­ers are dis­sat­is­fied with the man­date pro­vi­sion of PPACA.


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.

The ini­tia­tive is locked in a close race as of this writ­ing, but looks to be defeated by a nar­row mar­gin. It is polling at 49% yes, 51% no statewide, with only a 40% yes pro­por­tion in King County, where it needed to run stronger.

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.

Ini­tia­tive 1183 has passed by an easy 60% “yes” to 40% “no” margin.



All in all, a good day for the blue team. Issues that caused lib­er­als some angst (such as the Mis­sis­sippi per­son­hood amend­ment, the Maine same-​​day voter reg­is­tra­tion rein­state­ment, and the Ohio attempts at weak­en­ing unions) went down to crush­ing defeats. Mod­er­ates gained a sur­prise vic­tory in the Ari­zona immi­gra­tion fight.

The Ohio repu­di­a­tion of the indi­vid­ual man­date and con­trol of the Vir­ginia State Sen­ate are the only bright spots for the red team. Vir­ginia State Sen­ate con­trol (at either 21D-​​19R or 20D-​​20R, with R Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Bill Bolling hold­ing the tiebreak­ing vote) now hangs in the bal­ance. The Repub­li­can chal­lenger is 86 votes ahead in the crit­i­cal Dis­trict 17 race, with pro­vi­sional bal­lots still uncounted. If the Repub­li­can wins, then the GOP will con­trol both the House of Del­e­gates and State Sen­ate in Vir­ginia. This may spell trou­ble for Pres­i­dent Obama’s for­tunes in this swing state.