||Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2013 - 00:15:46
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Obama Re-Elected to 2nd Term with Near Sweep of Battleground States
President Obama has been re-elected to a second term with a resounding victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. By the end of the night, Obama won 50 percent of the popular vote, securing 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. Obama swept nearly all of the key battleground states, taking Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, and a likely victory in Florida. While the major networks began calling the election for Obama at 11:20 p.m. EST, Romney did not publicly concede until nearly two hours later. After avoiding the issue of climate change throughout the campaign, Obama returned to it in his Chicago victory speech, telling supporters: "We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet."
Overwhelming Obama Victory Not Just a Mandate for the President, but for Progressives
With President Obama scoring a decisive re-election and progressive-backed ballot measures and candidates faring generally well nationwide, journalist John Nichols argues that the 2012 election provided not just a mandate for the Obama administration and the Democrats, but for progressive policies. A political writer for The Nation magazine, Nichols’ latest article is "For Obama, a Bigger Win Than for Kennedy, Nixon, Carter or Bush."
California Voters Ease “Three Strikes” Law
In California, voters approved a measure to ease penalties for nonviolent offenses under California’s "three-strikes" law. California voters also rejected a measure that would have curbed the political influence of unions. Voters defeated a ballot measure to repeal the death penalty and another that would have required labeling of genetically modified foods.
Michigan Emergency Manager Law Repealed
Labor claimed a victory in Michigan through the repeal of the controversial emergency manager law that has stripped authority from elected leadership in the state’s towns and cities. The most controversial aspect of the law allowed state-appointed emergency managers overseeing cities or school districts to amend or scrap collective bargaining agreements. Stand Up for Democracy, the group fighting to repeal the law, is backed by the large public employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The repeal of Public Act 4 reignites a controversy over whether the former emergency financial manager law, Public Act 72 of 1990, is now in effect.—The Detroit Free Press
Maryland Voters Affirm In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students
In addition to same-sex marriage, Maryland voters affirmed the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition.
Hundreds Denounce Racism After Anti-Obama Protest at Ole Miss
Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Mississippi on Wednesday to denounce racism on campus one day after a heated protest against President Obama’s re-election. After the results were announced Tuesday night, a crowd of several hundred gathered in anger, with some attendees reportedly shouting racial slurs. At least two people were arrested.
California Cancels Tuition Hike After Voters OK Tax Increase
California has officially cancelled a planned college tuition hike following the passage of a tax increase in a statewide ballot. On Election Day, California voters approved Proposition 30, which imposes a $6 billion temporary tax hike in order to avoid massive cuts to spending on education. California’s sales tax while rise by a quarter cent for four years while individuals making over $250,000 will pay higher rates over seven years. The measure passed with an overwhelming turnout from young voters, an outgrowth of the widespread protests against tuition hikes on California campuses last year. Instead of a tuition increase of nine percent, the average tuition cost for full-time students will remain at the same rate as last year.
Colorado, Washington Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Historic Votes
In a historic move, voters in Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first U.S. states to do so and setting up a potential clash with the federal government.
Montana, Colorado Voters Back Curbs on Corporate Campaign Spending
In Montana, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that would limit corporate spending on elections, while Colorado voters also resoundingly approved a measure backing a constitutional amendment that would call for the same.
Widespread Voting Issues Reported at the Polls
Tuesday’s election saw reports of widespread voting issues ranging from voter machine malfunctions to epic lines to poll-watcher challenges and confusion over voter identification laws that have been weakened or blocked. Florida voters waited up to seven hours to cast their ballots. According to Voting Rights Watch 2012, in Ohio, a number of residents in the predominantly black Cincinnati suburb of Forest Park were forced to cast provisional ballots because records incorrectly showed they had already submitted an absentee ballot. Pennsylvania emerged as a hotbed of election chaos after a viral video showed a voting machine switching an Obama vote in favor of Romney. Pennsylvania also saw widespread confusion over voter identification, with reports poll workers were demanding ID even though a court blocked the state’s voter ID law from taking effect before the election. Voting rights advocates say they suspected an unreported purge of voters in major urban areas of Pennsylvania after reports dozens of voters were told they weren’t registered. According to the Election Protection Coalition, which hosted a hotline for voting issues, there were reports from Virginia of long lines and machines switching votes in favor of Romney. One week after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey saw its share of problems, with reports of technical malfunctions and poll workers wrongly demanding identification from voters.
Women Make Historic Gains in U.S. Senate
Tuesday’s election was a historic one for women, who come January, will hold 20 out of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, the largest number ever. Tuesday’s election saw five new women elected to the Senate. In addition to Democrats Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono was elected in Hawaii, becoming the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, Hawaii’s first woman senator, the Senate’s first Buddhist and the first U.S. Senator born in Japan — Fukushima, Japan. The other new women Senators are Republican Nebraska state legislator Deb Fischer and former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat.
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