The Voters Speak

An update on state and local initiatives


Grandma gets to keep her house; gays won't be getting married soon in Nevada or Nebraska; and you will soon be able to use marijuana for medicinal purposes in Nevada and Colorado, but not in Alaska.

Americans might not know who their next president is, but yesterday's election decided many other issues. In Baltimore County, voters rejected the county executive's plan to use eminent domain to revitalize three neighborhoods by 70 percent. Alabamans voted to remove a dead letter law against interracial marriages by a margin of 59 to 41 percent. Nevada and Nebraska voters pulled the lever to deny the recognition of same sex civil unions, each passing with margin of roughly 70 to 30.

Medical marijuana was voted up in Nevada and Colorado. Voters approved asset forfeiture reform in Oregon and drug sentencing reform in California. Yet in Alaska, an initiative to decriminalize personal use of marijuana went down, with 39 percent saying yes and 61 percent saying no. School choice initiatives failed miserably in Michigan and California, by 2 to 1 ratios.

It was a mixed bag on tax cuts, with voters in Colorado and Oregon rejecting initiatives to reduce their taxes while voters in Washington State passed an initiative nullifying tax and fee hikes not approved by legislative bodies.

A death with dignity initiative died a narrow death in Maine, with 49 percent of voters saying yes and 51 percent saying no. For more information on the more that 200 initiatives and referendums voted on yesterday, check out the Initiative and Referendum Institute Web site.