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Abortion Rights Win Big; Mixed Results for Ballot Measures on Marijuana, Voting, Slavery

HeadlineNov 09, 2022

One of Tuesday night’s big winners was abortion rights. Vermont, Michigan and California all voted to enshrine the right to an abortion in their states’ constitutions. In Kentucky, voters rejected a ballot measure that sought to amend the state Constitution to say there is no right to abortion. State lawmakers have already passed a near-total ban on abortion in Kentucky, but the measure would have made challenging the ban even more difficult. In Montana, with over 80% of ballots counted, it appears voters will reject a ballot measure which would establish that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons, and criminalize healthcare providers.

Meanwhile, voters in Maryland and Missouri voted to legalize recreational marijuana, while similar proposals failed in Arkansas and North Dakota.

Several states had measures related to slavery on the ballot. Voters in Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon and Vermont backed removing language from their constitutions that allows slavery as punishment. But in Louisiana, two-thirds of voters rejected a proposal that would have barred slave labor in prisons.

In voting rights, Connecticut passed a measure allowing in-person early voting, and Michigan approved several pro-democracy measures, including opening polls for early voting and ballot drop boxes. But in a blow for voting rights, Nebraskans overwhelmingly supported requiring a photo ID to vote, and Ohio voters chose not to let residents who are not U.S. citizens cast ballots in local elections. Maine’s largest city of Portland and Evanston, Illinois, have both backed measures to use ranked-choice voting in city elections. In Nevada, a ballot measure to allow for open primaries and ranked-choice voting has not been called yet, though “yes” votes lead by 3 percentage points.

In labor news, Washington, D.C., approved Initiative 82, which raises the minimum wage for tipped service workers from $5.35 to $16.10 an hour by 2027.

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