The Biggest Issues, Races on Today's Ballots
Lawmakers will be watching closely for clues to voter mood heading into 2012
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2011 7:57 AM CST
In this Oct. 18, 2010, photo, campaign workers and volunteers walks past an early voting polling place in Little Rock, Ark.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

(Newser) – It’s Election Day, and the AP rounds up the most important (or just plain interesting) contests and issues around the country:

  • Governorships: They’re up for grabs in Mississippi and Kentucky, but in both states the incumbent party (Republican in the former; Democrat in the latter) is expected to remain in power. Next year, 10 more governors will be elected.
  • Unions: Ohio voters will decide whether to repeal a law that vastly limits public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Polls suggest it will be close, but voters are leaning toward a repeal.
  • Health care: Also in Ohio, voters will decide whether to prohibit a portion of the national health care overhaul requiring people to purchase health insurance. A vote against the law would be mostly symbolic, but could be used in a legal challenge.

  • Immigration: Arizona Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, who authored the state’s controversial immigration law, faces a recall.
  • Comics-turned-politicos: In Kentucky, former comic Robert Farmer is running for agricultural commissioner; in Ohio, comedian Drew Hastings is going for a mayorship.
  • Voter laws: Maine will decide whether to re-institute Election Day voter registration, which was halted by a new law requiring voters to register two days in advance.
  • Alcohol: Costco has largely bankrolled the costliest initiative in Washington state history, which will determine whether to shut down the state-run liquor system and let large stores sell alcohol.
Voters aren’t expected to do much party line crossing this time around, and today’s election results could be a good predictor of what will happen next year. Click for more on Mississippi’s “personhood” referendum on today’s ballot.