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Voters decide on abortion, transgender rights

by Kiley Crossland
Posted 11/06/18, 11:38 pm

Voters across the country decided on issues—not just candidates—on Tuesday in more than 150 statewide ballot initiatives in 37 states, including measures on abortion, religious liberty, gender identity, and voting rights.

Three states considered initiatives related to abortion. In Alabama, voters approved a constitutional amendment giving unborn babies the right to life and stating nothing in its constitution protects a right to abortion or requires the government to fund abortion. A similar measure in West Virginia was too close to call late Tuesday night. Voters in Oregon failed to pass a measure that would have banned the use of public funds for abortion.

Alabama voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state, public, and school grounds.

In the first statewide referendum on transgender rights, Massachusetts voters upheld a 2016 state law extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender individuals. The law requires businesses open places of public accommodation segregated by sex to anyone based on his or her gender identity—anyone who denies access could face up to $50,000 in fines or a year in jail. A group of Massachusetts citizens led the campaign for a repeal initiative, saying the measure threatened the safety of women and children.

Florida voters restored voting rights to about 1.5 million convicted felons, potentially altering the election landscape in a key swing state. Current law requires ex-felons file a request with the governor before they can vote, but the passed constitutional amendment will now automatically give felons who have completed their sentence a right to vote. The amendment exempts those convicted of sex offenses and murder.

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Kiley Crossland

Kiley reports on marriage, family, and sexuality for WORLD Digital. Follow Kiley on Twitter @KileyCrossland.

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