Election Day: Ohio voters approve abortion rights, marijuana; Kentucky governor wins re-election

Voters in Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure to enshrine the right to seek reproductive medical treatment, including an abortion, in the state constitution. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
1 of 4 | Voters in Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure to enshrine the right to seek reproductive medical treatment, including an abortion, in the state constitution. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Voters across the country cast their ballots Tuesday on divisive state issues, including in Ohio where voters approved a measure to enshrine abortion access in the GOP-leaning state's constitution and voted to legalize marijuana.

Ohio's abortion amendment -- Issue 1 -- protects the right to seek reproductive medical treatment, including an abortion. It also bars the state from penalizing anyone who has an abortion or provides the treatment.


Ohio held a special election in August to raise the threshold required to approve constitutional amendments, but it failed. The measure would have raised the threshold for approval to 60%. Instead, Issue 1 needed a simple majority to pass, and was approved with 59% of Ohio's voters saying "yes," as 41% voted against the measure.

Ohio's measure to legalize recreational marijuana also passed Tuesday night with nearly 56% of voters saying "yes" to the measure that will allow Ohioans to legally possess and grow marijuana with some restrictions. Twenty-three states currently allow legalized recreational marijuana use.


Meanwhile, Texas had 14 constitutional amendments on the ballot. One amendment, Proposition 3, would ban the imposition of so-called wealth taxes. As of Tuesday night, the wealth tax ban was winning with nearly 60% of the vote, compared to 40% who were opposed.

No state has such a tax, but Texas is attempting to get ahead of any proposals that would implement a tax based on the value of an individual or family's assets, market value or net worth.

Another amendment, which would raise the mandatory and minimum age of retirement for Texas state justices and judges, was losing Tuesday night. The measure to raise the minimum retirement age from 70 to 75, and the mandatory retirement age from 75 to 79 years old, had nearly 62% of voters saying "no" to the measure, with only 38% supporting it.

The numbers continue to come in, as Boulder, Colo., voters considered a ballot measure that would ask the city to prioritize the removal of tents, temporary structures and propane tanks that are within 500 feet of a school or 50 feet of a sidewalk. These items are often associated with people who are homeless.

Boulder has banned these items from parks and public spaces. Tuesday's measure evokes similar actions considered by advocates for the homeless as criminalizing homelessness. The measure does not imply any sort of legal action will be taken against the unhoused.


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear wins re-election

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, the Democratic incumbent in the largely conservative state, won re-election Tuesday night. Beshear beat challenger Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron in a closely contested race by a margin of 53% to 47%.

Beshear was elected in 2019 by a small margin. Cameron was the first Black nominee for governor by Democrats or Republicans in Kentucky.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, the Republican incumbent, was winning Tuesday night over Democratic challenger Brandon Presley by a margin of 55% to 43%. The Democrat described himself as "pro-life" in an August campaign ad, saying "sometimes the family Bible is the only place you have to turn."

Reeves also said he opposes abortion.

State assembly seats in Virginia, New Jersey up for grabs

Several states have many, if not all of their legislature seats on the ballot. All of the seats in Virginia and New Jersey's general assemblies are up for grabs, with Republicans seeking to flip seats in both states.

Virginia's Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been stumping for his party's candidates for months as it attempts to flip the state Senate. Democrats hold a narrow majority. All 40 Senate seats and 100 House seats are on the ballot.


Youngkin has enacted several controversial policies affecting LGBTQ students in schools, including so-called bathroom bans and policies guiding participation in school activities for transgender youth.

He has also signaled that he will pursue a 15-week ban on abortion if he can get it through the House and Senate.

In New Jersey, Republicans need to flip six Democrat-held seats in the Senate and seven in the state assembly to win a majority. The state has supported Democrats for president in every election since 1992 and has favored Democrats for statewide office in recent years.

Mother of Uvalde shooting victim loses mayoral election

Kimberly Mata-Rubio, the mother of Uvalde shooting victim Alexandria "Lexi" Rubio, lost a special election Tuesday in her bid to become mayor of Uvalde, Texas.

Cody Smith was elected Uvalde's next mayor and will serve a one-year term after former Mayor Don McLaughlin vacated the position to run for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives.

Mata-Rubio, who earned 33% of the votes, said she ran to "be the change I seek" and to honor her daughter who was one of the 21 victims of last year's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Rhode Island elects first Black representative to Congress


Former White House aide Gabe Amo, a Democrat, will become Rhode Island's first Black candidate elected to Congress. Amo defeated Republican Gerry Leonard to win the state's 1st Congressional District seat.

Amo will succeed former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who stepped down this summer to become president and chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Foundation.

After his win Tuesday night, Amo said he hopes to help the federal government begin to function again.

"I'm going to be a voice for making sure we can restore confidence and trust despite the Republican Party that is rife with chaos," Amo said.

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