A new flag, legal marijuana— the other stuff that happened election night - Front Page Live

A new flag, legal marijuana, and $15 minimum wage — the other stuff that happened election night

A hand placing a ballot in a box


The big ticket on Election Day was obviously the presidential race, but Americans were voting for more than the chance to see their guy in the Oval Office. Many states had important measures on the ballot as well, running the gamut from the legalization of marijuana to raising the minimum wage.

Cannabis gets its day

A pile of cannabis


People in four states were given a chance to have their voices heard on the legalization of cannabis use. Arizona and New Jersy both approved the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. South Dakota voters approved both recreational and medical use.

Montana voted to allow recreational use and set the legal age for cannabis consumption at 21. And Mississippi approved marijuana for medical purposes.

Oregon voters also had a drug-related measure on their ballot: decriminalizing possession of cocaine and heroin in small amounts. They became the first state to approve this type of measure.

A different shade of green

Hand holding out to catch money


Down in Florida, voters were given a choice to raise the minimum wage, and they achieved the 60% needed to get it to pass. This new measure will increase the current minimum wage of $8.56 to $15 over the course of the next six years.

Proposition 22 was on the ballot in California. Gig companies like Uber and Doordash were fighting to keep their app-based workers categorized as independent contractors. Prop 22, the “costliest” ballot measure in the state’s history, passed.

In Colorado, voters elected to establish a paid family leave program — the most expansive in the country.

Reproductive freedom wins and loses

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Flickr / Lorie Shaull

Another Colorado ballot measure — rejected for the fourth time since 2008 — was a ban on abortions at/after 22 weeks. This measure would have included fines for doctors and criminal penalties for mothers.

While Colorado voters protected reproductive freedoms, those down in Lousiana chipped away at them. Voters in the state passed an amendment to their state constitution to “clarify that nothing in it protects the right to abortion” care.

Racism is checked

A photograph of a Black Lives Matter sign

Flickr / Tony Webster

In Utah and Nebraska, voters approved measures to amend their constitutions and remove referencing slavery. While both states have officially banned slavery in the past, their constitutions still technically allowed it as “punishment for a crime.”

Mississippi voters approved a new state flag with a magnolia designed by Rocky Vaughan as a replacement for the Confederate battle flag previously in use.

And some other stuff…

Unknown to many, the official name of Rhode Island was actually “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”, and voters in the state approved the measure to cut Providence Plantations part as it carries a “horrific connotation.” This measure failed when it was first voted on in 2010.

Three states were asking voters to change up the language in their constitutions, specifying that “only” citizens are allowed to vote. Alabama, Colorado, and Florida approved the measure.

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