While the Democrats’ quest to take back the House and Senate is definitely today’s main story, there are also a number of ballot initiatives to watch.
Voters in a number of states, including ones with close congressional races, are considering a variety of ballot initiatives designed to spur turn-out from the religious right, or alternatively, among more progressive voters. Here’s a quick overview:
Same Sex Marriage: Eight states – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin – are voting on ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage. Colorado has two questions on its ballot — to legalize civil unions and ban same-sex marriages.
Stem Cell Research: In Missouri – where Democrat Claire McCaskill is in a neck-and-neck race with Senator Jim Talent – voters will decide whether to change to the state constitution to allow stem cell research.
Abortion: Voters in South Dakota will consider whether to uphold or reject a new state law that would ban all abortions, except those needed to save a pregnant woman’s life.
Raising the Minimum Wage: A boost for state minimum wage levels goes before voters in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Montana, Missouri and Ohio, which all currently have minimum wages that match the federal level of $5.15 per hour.
Eminent Domain: This issue is on the ballot in 13 states, spurred by last year’s Supreme Court ruling, Kelo v. New London, Conn., that allowed governments to take private property for another private use if it improves the neighborhood.