Election Victories for Women, Workers, and Voting Rights Advocates
Voters across the country defeated laws earlier that week that would have targeted reproductive rights, collective bargaining, and same-day voter registration. And in key state legislative races, the message of LGBT equality prevailed while the author of one of the nation’s strictest immigration laws was recalled.
Maine Restores Same-Day Registration
In Maine, 60 percent of poll-goers voted to repeal a law passed this summer by the state legislature that eliminated its 38-year tradition of same-day registration. The decision is a resounding victory for the grassroots coalition of Protect Maine Votes, which faced an extremely well-funded opposition and had to debunk false claims of voter fraud throughout the campaign.
Ohio’s Pro-Union Voice
It’s now clear why Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his allies in the state legislature tried to restrict early voting: His anti-union agenda is toxic among the voting public.
In a 61 percent to 39 percent landslide, with turnout rivaling the 2010 election, Ohioans overturned SB 5, the law which curtailed the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 unionized public workers. SB 5 opponents say their victory sends a message to other states considering anti-collective bargaining legislation.
No Personhood Amendment in Miss.
Anti-choice forces likely assumed a conservative Southern state like Mississippi would readily accept their agenda. But 58 percent of voters there said that Issue 26 went too far. The proposed amendment defined a fertilized egg as a person, thus granting it equal protection under the law.
As pro-Issue 26 advocates themselves openly said, this would have effectively defined abortion and birth control as murder. With similar measures being considered in several other states—including Michigan, Montana, and Wisconsin—Issue 26’s defeat should serve as an encouraging rallying cry for pro-choice advocates throughout the country.
Hope for Marriage Equality, Immigration Reform
State legislative elections also provided welcome news for marriage equality, and some hope for a change in rhetoric surrounding immigration reform.
In Iowa, control of the state senate was at stake following Democrat Swati Dandekar’s resignation to join Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration. The one-seat Democratic majority is a crucial obstacle against repeated efforts to eliminate marriage equality in Iowa. Democrat Liz Mathis, a supporter of same-sex marriage, was elected by a 12 percent margin, even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district.
Meanwhile, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce was recalled. Pearce is notorious as the author of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070. He will be succeeded by fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, who opposed SB 1070 and pledged to strike a more conciliatory tone on immigration.
Devon Brown is an intern with Campus Progress.