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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
The Biggest Issues, Races on Today's Ballots
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.

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  • 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. (Read more Election Day stories.)

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