Election Day 2015: What You Need To Know Image Source: ThinkProgress
The presidential election is still one year away, but it’s already dominating the airwaves. Thanks to the relentless coverage of Donald, Bernie, Hilary et al, you could be forgiven for being unaware that yesterday was also an important election day. Two state ballots and a gubernatorial election were particularly interesting in terms of national significance, and a cause for celebration for social conservatives. Here’s what you need to know about last night’s election results:
1. Ohio residents will have to keep getting high in secret
Ohio voters rejected a bill to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana. Although recreational marijuana has seen financial success in states like Colorado and Washington, and medical marijuana is legal in nearly half of states, no state had previously attempted to push legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana at the same time.
The vote in Ohio was seen as a bellwether test case for other Midwestern states, which isn’t entirely fair, since the 65 percent of voters who opposed the measure had more than just social reasons to question the proposal. If passed, the proposed amendment to the state constitution would have given 10 grow sites total control of marijuana production. Voters in favor of legalization fought back with a counter-campaign that argued against granting 10 sole sites constitutional protection against competition. The list of people who owned interest in the 10 grow sites included Nick Lachey from 98 Degrees and basketball star Oscar Robertson.
2. The people of Houston, TX voted in favor of discrimination
Houston, the largest city with an openly gay mayor, voted to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance that had been passed in May. The ordinance originally prohibited bias in housing, employment, city contracting and business services for everything from race to gender identity. Opponents focused on the latter, and “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” became the bizarre slogan for those who wanted the ordinance overturned. This managed to divert the conversation from equal rights by claiming that women and girls would be in danger from sexual predators if the ordinance stood. The ordinance itself contained no specific language regarding whether or not men could use women’s restrooms.
Proponents for upholding the ordinance, such as Mayor Annise Parker, accused opponents of fear mongering. Her opponents, which included pastors of conservative megachurches, said that overturning the ordinance wasn’t about discrimination, but “about the mayor’s gay agenda being forced on the city.”
3. Kentucky’s new governor wants to stop healthcare expansion
Matt Bevin, a Tea Party favorite, was elected to represent the state that has had a Democrat as governor for all but four of the last 44 years. Former Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear expanded Medicaid enough to provide around 420,000 previously uninsured people with coverage in Kentucky (equivalent to around 10 percent of the state’s total population). Earlier in Bevin’s campaign, he stated that he would reverse the Medicaid expansion, but received strong criticism at the suggestion of taking away people’s coverage. This led to Bevin saying instead that his position had changed to just not enrolling new people.
Other positions Bevin holds include opposing an increase to the minimum wage, limiting union organization and emphasizing school vouchers rather than early childhood education. Bevin also earned points with social conservatives in the state when he visited Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when she was in jail.