On Tuesday, high-profile political coverage in the national media was mainly focused on the US presidential election, some Senate and House races, and a few state ballot measures. Yet there were a seemingly endless number of smaller, less-publicized elections for city- and state-level positions, votes on state initiatives that flew under the radar, and city and county decisions that were only covered in local news. I have a collected a fair amount of these at Flyover Feminism, a site for which I am an editor.
Here are a few that deserve more attention:
On the reproductive rights front, Robin Marty has already reported on Florida voters rejecting an amendment that “would have dramatically limited access to safe abortion care by restricting state funding for abortion, though it does not exist, limiting private insurance coverage of abortion care, and stripping privacy rights from teen girls seeking to terminate a pregnancy.” She has also written about Montana voters approving a new law requiring “girls under age 16 who seek an abortion…to notify a parent or seek judicial bypass prior to terminating a pregnancy.”
California passed proposition 35 which should be the object of much outrage, especially from people concerned with bodily autonomy, sex workers, and survivors of human trafficking. Melissa Gira Grant wrote on this issue at RH Reality Check, before the vote took place, that prop 35 was “a misguided ballot initiative that targeted the wrong people for the wrong reasons.” She argued that “advocates for survivors of trafficking, civil rights attorneys, and sex workers fear that rather than protect Californians, it will expose their communities to increased police surveillance, arrest, and the possibility of being labeled a “sex offender” for the rest of their lives.” A judge has already put the proposition on hold. Grant has written a follow-up in reaction to the proposition passing.
Most people already know that Maine, Maryland, and Washington all voted to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and Minnesota voters defeated a state constitutional amendment that would have limited marriage to only between a man and woman. Wisconsin electing Tammy Baldwin to the US Senate has also garnered a fair amount of attention since she will be the first openly gay US senator. Some lesser known but also noteworthy elections:
- In Arizona’s 9th Congressional district, Kyrsten Sinema is leading (they are still counting votes). If she wins, she will be the first openly bisexual member of the US House. She’s a graduate of Brigham Young University and, having left the Mormon church, would be the only non-theist in Congress.
- The 41st Congressional district in California elected Mark Takano. An educator from Riverside, California, Takano, an Asian American, will be the first openly gay person of color in the US Congress. He was publicly outed by a political opponent in a 1994 race and his sexuality was used against him. He has said about this election, “Times certainly have changed. And in my current race not a single voter has asked me about being gay.”
- Pennsylvania’s 182nd district elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives former footballer Brian Sims. He is the first openly gay person elected to that body.
The city of Troy, Michigan, recalled its mayor, Janice Daniels. A tea partier, Daniels has made a number of homophobic remarks including a disparaging Facebook post and she used homophobic slurs while talking to local gay high school students.
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