Thu, 22 Nov 2018
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Reno

How 2018 Midterm Ballot Measures Fared

Voice of America
09 Nov 2018, 13:05 GMT+10

Voters in the U.S. midterm elections Tuesday weighed in on 155 ballot measures across 37 states, some with serious ramifications for the people voting on them.

The proposed laws covered everything from health care to climate change to taxes. Nearly half of the measures were initiatives, meaning citizens bypassed their state legislatures by gathering enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot.

Here's how it played out Tuesday:

Nevada: Feminine hygiene products

Passed: State Question No. 2 allows consumers to buy sanitary pads and tampons without paying the state's 6.85 percent sales tax. Nine other states have specifically exempted feminine hygiene products from sales tax, yet Nevada law requires all amendments to sales tax decisions be put to a voter referendum.

Florida: Felon voting rights

Passed: Amendment 4 restored voting rights to most people convicted of serious crimes in Florida after they have served their sentences. Florida was one of four states that disenfranchised felons permanently. The Sunshine State will now gain 1.5 million voters, possibly the largest single expansion of democratic rights in the U.S. since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971.

California: Dialysis profits

Failed: Proposition 8 would have limited California dialysis company profits to 15 percent over operating costs. Any payments above that level would have been cycled back to pay health insurance rebates, improve clinic quality and hire more workers.

Midwest: Legalized recreational marijuana

Split decision: Measures to legalize recreational marijuana passed in Michigan and failed in North Dakota.

Maine: Universal home care

Failed: Maine rejected a proposal that would have brought universal home care to seniors and those with disabilities, regardless of income level. The measure would have been funded by a 3.8 percent tax on individuals earning more than $128,000 a year.

Louisiana: Non-unanimous juries

Passed: Louisiana ended its practice of allowing juries with dissenting members to convict people charged with felonies, which many critics said was a remnant of the Jim Crow era. Oregon will now become the last state to allow split juries to hand down felony convictions.

Trends

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion

The trend: Measures to extend Medicaid coverage to people under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, passed in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah, but failed in Montana.

Redistricting, voting access, campaign spending

The trend: Republicans and Democrats across the country mostly succeeded in pushing through measures designed to either reform local politics or nudge elections in their party's favor. With 20 measures on ballots across the country, this was the biggest group of topics facing voters Tuesday night.

Voters in Colorado, Missouri and Michigan decided to establish new redistricting systems for their state legislatures. An anti-gerrymandering measure in Utah was still too close to call.

Several measures tightened or eased access to voting for citizens by increasing ID requirements or simplifying registration - moves that many people saw as partisan tactics. All of these passed. A measure seeking to limit terms in Arkansas' state legislature didn't make the ballot because it was blocked by that state's Supreme Court.

Measures to change campaign financing laws passed in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico and North Dakota, but failed in two states: Colorado voters soundly rejected an amendment that would have loosened limits on campaign contributions in which one candidate was spending more than $1 million of his or her own money, and voters in South Dakota rejected an amendment that would have reduced special-interest money and created a system for publicly financed campaigns, among other changes.

Abortion

Split decision: Initiatives designed to nearly end abortion in their areas if the federal government ends monetary support passed in Alabama and West Virginia but failed in Oregon.

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