Yesterday was election day in several states, and there were quite a few deplorable ballot measures up for consideration by voters. It ran the gamut. Everything but recall elections to workers rights, voting rights, and reproductive rights were to be decided. Last night, I was pathologically checking my Twitter feed for updates. But all in all it was a good night for common sense, so I thought I would do a little roundup here.
Gross Mississippi Egg-as-Human state constitutional amendment
DEFEATED 58%-42% This amendment would have classified a zygote, before implantation in the wall of the uterus (i.e. before pregnancy actually begins), as a full human being with the same rights as the person carrying it. This would have made abortion tantamount to murder (duh), but would also ban IVF and contraception. It would have also made any stillbirth a potential murder case. This would have been a major blow to women’s autonomy and public knowledge of basic biology.
The good news: It was defeated. The bad news: There is an essentially identical bill making it’s way through Congress. Blerg.
Ohio is for Lovers…of Unions
SB 5 REPEALED 61% to 39% Ohio’s anti-public union law, SB 5, was one of a number of laws passed around the country limiting the rights of public sector unions to organize. The effort to repeal the law – a “people’s veto” – manifested itself as “Issue 2″ on the ballot yesterday, and boy howdy, did people respond! More people voted against Gov. Kasich’s signature piece of legislation that voted for Kasich last year. That is hard-core union-buster busting, Ohio.
The good news: SB 5 is no longer law! The bad news: Ohio state legislators are probably going to come back and try to enact parts of SB 5 that were relatively popular.
Maine’s same-day voter registration
APPROVED 60% to 40% Last year, Republicans across the sought to make their majority permanent by enacting restrictive voting regulations. One such regulation was elimination of same-day voter registration in Maine, which had been around since the 1970s. In Maine, 60,000 people (of 750,000) used this method in 2008, and a study by the Think tank Demos has found that same-day voter registration increased participation in elections by seven percent. Republicans often “worry” about voter fraud, but in the 30+ years Maine has used this method there have only been two cases of fraud. That’s a pretty good return on investment, if you ask me.
So why would Republicans try to limit it? Because people who used this method to vote more often than not vote Democratic. It would also hurt students, who live and work in the state or district but are likely registered – if at all – elsewhere. But you know kids today, they just lean too dang far to the left.
The good news: Maine voters reinstated same-day voter registration! The bad news: It looks like voter ID laws are still on the minds of Republicans in the state. Grrr…
Bye-bye, Russell Pearce!
RECALLED 52.4% to 45.4% Russell Pearce is a Republican state senate leader in Arizona. Or at least he was before yesterday’s vote. But he was ousted by a recall vote, the first time that has happened to a Arizona state senate president in…ever! So…there’s that for ya, Russell!
But Russell Pearce wasn’t just a powerful state senate Republican leader. He was also a driving force behind the despicable and racist Arizona immigration law. (Remember that one?) This was ultimately his downfall.
Non-discrimination wins the day in Michigan!
REPEAL FAILED 2,818 to 1,661 Last year, Traverse City, MI enacted an ordinance that gave key protections to LGBT people in the areas of employment and housing. This was way too much for
anti-gay bigots good Midwestern conservatives to handle. So they mounted a campaign to get the ordinance repealed. And they failed. BIG TIME. The people of Traverse City voted by an almost 2-to-1 margin to keep these protections on the books. Fairness FTW!
Wins for the gays!
There were other successes for LGBT people outside of Michigan. Virginia elected its first openly gay state senator. Iowa Democrats retained control of the state senate, which means that Republicans don’t have the votes to ban marriage of same-sex couples in the state. Massachusetts has it’s first gay mayor (and only 22 years old!).
And the day of great things went international!
Why? Because finally – FINALLY – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will resign! Finally, after bunga-bunga parties and underage prostitutes and controlling everything with his media empire, he will be gone. (It was, of course, none of these things that brought him down in the end. In related news, congrats to Italy on becoming a bigger economic problem than Greece!) After the Italian parliament passes an austerity package. Oh please please please let this package pass soon. Please please please…
This post sounds a little celebratory and gloat-y, which it is. I hope that – with the exception of the Berlusconi thing (which is in and of itself a social good) – this is a sign of things to come. I hope that the people of the United States have woken up to see what happens when we put nutbars in office. These people ran as fiscal conservatives, but instead they waged an all-out assault on reproductive choice, voting rights, worker’s rights, and immigrant rights. I hope people will be this fired up and passionate come next November. Because the choice seems stark to me. Either I believe these rights should be protected, or I don’t. And after a 2010-2011 of one party attacking those rights when a vengeance, I know how to hit back. After these elections, I’m convinced many other people know how to hit back, as well.
Image credit: Charleston’s TheDigitel