Tuesday’s midterm elections brought few newsworthy results other than the election of Maura Healey to Massachusetts attorney general, making her the first openly gay attorney general in the United States. Pundits long predicted that Republicans would end up with control of both the Senate and the House for the first time since 2006 despite several tight races.
Republicans control Senate and House
Republicans won at least seven seats in the Senate while Democrats lost at least seven, with the tally standing at 52 Republicans, 43 Democrats and two Independents as of Nov. 5. Three seats are still up for grabs in tightly contested races in Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana.
The race for the House resulted in 243 Republicans and 178 Democrats, with Republicans gaining at least 14 seats overall and Democrats losing at least 14. A further 14 seats are still open in close races in Arizona, California, Maryland, Nebraska, and elsewhere.
Key ballot measures
Ballot measures across the country addressed topics including marijuana, abortion, state minimum wage and voting procedures.
Following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington State, Alaska and Oregon will be the next states to legalize recreational marijuana. The cities of Washington, D.C., and South Portland, Maine, also approved measures to legalize marijuana locally.
Florida voters were in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, with 57.6 percent voting yes and 42.4 percent voting no, but the ballot did not pass because it required 60 percent approval.
Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1, a measure that will allow the state’s legislators to have more power to restrict and regulate abortions. The measure passed with 52.6 percent voting yes to 47.4 percent voting no.
While the federal minimum wage remains unchanged at $7.25 per hour, four red states approved measures to increase their state’s minimum wage. The states that will be raising minimum wages over the next few years are Alaska (from $7.75 to $9.75 by 2016), Arkansas (from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017), Nebraska (from $7.25 to $9.00 by 2016) and South Dakota (from $7.25 to $8.50 next year).
Connecticut voters rejected a ballot that would have allowed legislation to address voting reforms on topics including early voting and absentee ballots.
An overwhelming majority of Missouri voters were against a measure that would allow early voting in a general election either in person or by mail. The ballot was defeated with 70.3 percent voting no to 29.7 percent voting yes.
Residents of Montana will still be able to take advantage of the state’s same-day voter registration policy in future elections, after a ballot that sought to close registration the Friday before Election Day was defeated.
New York voted yes on a ballot measure that gives power to a redistricting committee to determine district lines subject to the governor’s approval. Currently, the legislature is responsible for determining the lines every 10 years.
Finally, Oregon’s voters said no to a measure for an open primary system.