Tuesday was a busy day for voters across the country, as millions of Americans voted on local issues ranging from police reform to increasing voter accessibility.
While some races garnered national attention – Glenn Youngkin’s win in the Virginia gubernatorial election, for example – other ballot questions remained more local.
Here are five race results worth spotlighting from Tuesday.
Voting reform referendums in New York State
In New York, voters decided ‘no’ on two voting reform measures that would have allowed for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting, a practice already implemented in dozens of states and during the coronavirus pandemic.
On the question of same-day voter registration, 49% of people voted ‘no’ while 38.93% voted ‘yes’, according to City & State.
While Democrats and voting rights groups were in favor of the proposals, Republicans, on the whole, opposed the attempts at increasing voter expansion, citing familiar claims of voter fraud from the 2020 presidential election, noted NPR.
Alvin Bragg elected Manhattan DA
Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, was elected the district attorney of Manhattan, the first Black person to be in the influential role, reports the New York Times.
Bragg, who campaigned on ensuring fair treatment for all defendants while also maintaining public safety, was one of seven Democrats who ran for the nomination after incumbent Democrat Cyrus R Vance Jr did not run for reelection.
A large feature of Bragg’s campaign was his experience with the criminal justice system, one that he said informed his career and differentiated him from other candidates.
“Having been stopped by the police”, said Bragg in an interview with the Times. “Having a homicide victim on my doorstep. Having had a loved one return from incarceration and live with me”.
‘Prop A’ Police Staffing Plan in Austin, Texas
Voters in Austin, Texas overwhelmingly rejected ‘Prop A’ on Tuesday, a plan to hire hundreds of police officers despite city officials saying that significant budget cuts elsewhere would be needed to do so, reports the Austin American-Statesman.
Of the more than 155,000 votes submitted, 68% voted against ‘Prop A’ with only 31% in favor of the proposition.
The vast rejection of ‘Prop A’ came as a surprise to some who thought the results on the referendum would be tighter.
Throughout the campaign, opposition came from multiple sides for the plan. Labor unions for Austin firefighters and EMS expressed their concerns about the plan, worried that jobs would be cut in those sectors to finance more police officers. Additionally, 10 out of 11 Austin council members were against the proposition.
After the early voting election results, Austin mayor Steve Adler tweeted a statement of celebration about the measure’s failing.
State Senate President Race in New Jersey
In New Jersey, Edward Durr, a Republican truck driver who apparently spent approximately $153 to finance his campaign, will probably defeat incumbent Democrat state senate president Steve Sweeney, who has held the second most powerful political position in New Jersey for almost 12 years, reports NBC.
While an official winner has not been called, with more than 99% of precincts reporting, Durr has received 52% of the vote while Sweeney received only 48%.
In a YouTube interview, Durr said he entered the race after being denied a conceal carry permit despite having an unblemished record.
Durr, who identifies as a “constitutional conservative”, said he was also sensed a growing distrust in Sweeney because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Sweeney’s inability to “challenge” New Jersey governor Phil Murphy’s Covid-19 executive orders, a shift in public opinion that Durr says contributed to his success as a candidate.
In addition to opposing mask mandates and abortions, Durr also pledged to create a business friendly environment in New Jersey by cutting corporate, income, and other state taxes as well as property tax.
Marijuana support in Philadelphia
A referendum in Philadelphia that asked voters if they supported the legalization of marijuana overwhelmingly passed, signaling to Pennsylvania lawmakers where residents fall on the issue.
With 96% of precincts reporting, about 72% of people voted ‘yes’ to urge the Pennsylvania state legislature to legalize marijuana, according to Philly Voice. The ballot question is not legally binding and doesn’t automatically make weed legal in the state, but symbolizes that the majority of voters want marijuana legalized.
While Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf supports the legalization of recreational marijuana as a means of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, drug legalization has faced opposition from Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature.
Weed was decriminalized in Philadelphia in 2014, but recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania remains illegal. Two previous bills introduced in 2019 to legalize marijuana have failed.