Election Day Results: Personhood Amendment Defeated and More
The results are in! In yesterday’s elections, voters defeated a number of harmful measures in local and state elections across the country, including a ballot initiative in Maine that would have restricted voting rights and an anti-abortion state constitutional amendment in Mississippi. However, other election outcomes were not quite as positive. See below for a state-by-state update of the most high-profile results:
Personhood Amendment Defeated…
The Personhood Amendment in Mississippi (Proposition 26), which would have defined a fetus as a person and thus banned nearly all abortions as well as some forms of birth control and infertility treatments, failed to pass as a ballot initiative yesterday. At a time when the right to reproductive health services is being eroded by Congress, the failure of Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment marks a HUGE victory for families across America. As of polling conducted on Sunday, the battle was neck-and-neck, leaving the final decision to the 11% of likely voters who were still undecided. The presence of a strong pro-choice faith voice, as well as vigorous get-out-the-vote and education campaigns by organizations like the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and Mississippians for Healthy Families, helped ensure the amendment’s defeat by 16 percentage points.
The defeat of Proposition 26 is cause for great celebration, but we have a lot more work to do. Keep a look out for similar personhood ballot initiatives in your state, watch for anti-choice bills that might come up in the U.S. Senate, and check back with RACblog as we follow potential threats to federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education.
…But Restrictive Voter ID Law Passed
But while Mississippi voters rejected Proposition 26, they approved a dangerous constitutional amendment of a different kind: Sixty-three percent of voters approved Proposition 27, which will now require all Mississippi voters to present government-issued photo ID at polling precincts. For more on the myth of voter fraud and the ways in which photo ID laws restrict voter rights, see my previous RACblog posts here and here.
Anti-Labor S.B. 5 Defeated…
By a comfortably wide margin, Ohioans voted to repeal a law that would have limited union bargaining rights. The law, which was passed by the state legislature as Senate Bill 5 and signed into law Republican Governor John Kasich in March, would have set health care and pension minimums for public employees and restricted workers’ rights to go on strike and bargain collectively (the question of whether to repeal the law appeared as Issue 2 on the ballot).
“We Are Ohio,” the main group that wanted the law repealed, enjoyed wide public support and raised $30 million for its side. The RAC proudly supports workers rights and congratulates Ohioans for defeating S.B. 5.
…But Anti-Health Care Reform Referendum Passed
Ohioans voted in favor of an amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit any law requiring Ohio residents to buy health insurance. Passage of the amendment has been interpreted by some as a rebuke to President Obama’s health care reform law, which includes the “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
How the amendment will affect health care in Ohio remains unclear. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will consider for the first time whether to review the Affordable Care Act, which has been challenged in courts across the nation since it was signed into law in March 2010. If the court strikes down the mandate, the Ohio law would become moot; if the Court upholds the mandate, the federal law would preempt state laws. Read more on our previous post on RACblog.
Same-Day Voter Registration Restored
Maine voters struck down a law that would have ended a 38-year-old practice of allowing residents to register to vote on Election Day. Enacted earlier this year, the law required individuals to register to vote at least two business days before the election, thus restricting many Mainers’ ability to cast their votes as the poll. The vote resulted in 60% in favor of repealing the law, with 40% opposed.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.