Election News from Elsewhere

By Erica C. Barnett November 9, 2011

Last night was election night in other states too. Although some are declaring last night's results a victory for Democrats and a rejection of Republican policies (thanks largely to big wins for union members and women in Ohio and Mississippi, respectively), the picture isn't quite so simple, with voters approving other measures that restrict voting rights and reject health care reform. Voters in states with gubernatorial elections mostly kept the same party in charge, with Mississippi electing a new Republican to replace Republican Haley Barbour and voters in Kentucky reelecting Democratic governor Steve Beshear.

Here's a brief roundup of some notable election results from around the state and the nation.

In Mississippi, voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have given a fertilized egg all the rights of a human being, likely banning not just abortions but hormonal birth control, emergency contraception, miscarriages, IUDs, and in vitro fertilization.

However, Mississippi voters also passed a measure requiring voters to present government-issued ID at the polls---a proposal that critics said would suppress voter turnout among low-income people, the elderly, and minorities.

In better news for voter access, Maine voters approved a measure allowing same-day voter registration, which Republicans had opposed.

Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected new limits on public employees' collective bargaining rights. At the same time, they also approved a constitutional amendment preventing the health insurance mandate from Obama's health care reform from going into effect in the state.

There were also elections last night in other cities around Washington State. We, obviously, were a little obsessed with the action in Bellevue. But voters in other cities statewide made some decisions to.

Tacoma voters overwhelmingly approved a measure, similar to Seattle law, making simple marijuana possession cases the city's lowest law-enforcement priority.

Also in Tacoma, 25-year-old political activist Anderson Ibsen was poised to be the only new member of the city council, whose other incumbents won easily last night.

In Bellingham, Monroe, and Longview, voters chose overwhelmingly to ban red-light traffic cameras aimed at catching speeders and red-light runners.

In Bellingham, where a proposed coal and cargo terminal project has been a major environmental issue in the mayor's race, former state representative Kelli Linville is narrowly leading incumbent Mayor Dan Pike.

In Renton, Ed Prince and Robin Jones remain neck-and-neck in a close (and ugly) race for an open seat on the Renton City Council.

In Pierce County, voters agreed to increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent to upgrade the county's 911 system, creating a new emergency response agency and buying a new radio dispatch system.

In Spokane, incumbent Mayor Mary Verner is losing to challenger David Pandon.

In Edmonds, challenger Dave Earling is beating incumbent Mayor Mike Cooper, who was under fire because of several recent management decisions involving personnel.
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