Whereas a lot of the excitement has rightly centred on the battle royale to start the following chief of the Free World, there have been different notable tales from election evening within the US that will have largely gone unnoticed.
Given its probably far-reaching penalties, you’ll be forgiven for considering that the race to resolve the following occupant of the White Home was the one factor on the poll.
In reality, there have been a plethora of amendments and proposals put to voters in states throughout the nation, in addition to elections for each homes of the US Congress.
1. New Jersey votes to legalise marijuana
One of many greatest generational and cultural shifts seen on the evening got here in New Jersey the place voters resoundingly voted to legalise leisure marijuana. Medicinal use of marijuana is already authorized within the state.
It turns into the twelfth US state to legalise the drug, with an amazing majority in favour of the measure. Voters in South Dakota, Montana and Arizona additionally gave their assent to comparable plans.
Lawmakers in New Jersey will now work on passing new laws to mirror the statewide vote.
Elsewhere within the nation, Oregon grew to become the primary US state to decriminalise the possession of small quantities of exhausting medication, together with heroin, cocaine and LSD. The measure was backed by legal justice reform teams who need to see a motion away from incarceration for medication offences in the direction of an enlargement of entry to dependancy remedies.
2. Florida approves $10 per hour minimal wage
Whereas Florida is usually thought-about a knife-edge swing state in presidential elections, going pink this yr once more for Donald Trump, the state has develop into one of many first to again an increase within the minimal wage. A coverage that has lengthy been advocated by Democrats, voters in Florida backed plans for a $10 (€8.58) per hour minimal wage, efficient from September 2021, which might rise by $1 per yr till it reaches $15 (€12.87) by 2026.
Nevertheless, the proposal, which was backed by 10.48 million voters within the state, barely surpassed the 60 per cent threshold to approve such amendments.
The plan has been contentious with critics arguing it might be a burden for employers, significantly throughout a pandemic. Supporters, however, consider it should assist carry extra individuals within the state out of poverty.
Democratic presidential candidates, notably Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden, have advocated for a $15 minimal wage throughout the nation, with the Democrat-controlled Home of Representatives passing a invoice to that impact in 2019. It was blocked by the Republican Senate.
3. Sarah McBride to develop into the nation’s first transgender state senator
Simply one in all a handful of candidates on this yr’s election to make historical past, Delaware Democrat Sarah McBride has develop into the US’ first overtly transgender state senator. Beating Republican Steve Washington to retain a vacant Democrat seat in Delaware’s state legislature, she follows within the footsteps of Danica Roem, one other Democratic politician who rose to prominence because the US’s first overtly transgender elected official when she was elected to Virginia’s Home of Delegates three years in the past.
Celebrating her success, she tweeted: “We did it. […] Thanks, thanks, thanks. I hope tonight exhibits an LGBTQ child that our democracy is sufficiently big for them, too”.
The election noticed a sleuth of successes for LGBTQ+ candidates. In Oklahoma, Mauree Turner additionally broke new floor for the group, turning into the state’s first non-binary state senator.
4. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican who helps QAnon conspiracy theories wins a US Home seat
In maybe some of the weird episodes of election evening, the primary supporter of far-right conspiracy principle QAnon was elected to the US Home of Representatives. Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene gained Georgia’s 14th district for the Republicans after her opponent dropped out of the race in September.
Greene’s help for QAnon, a principle with out proof which posits that Donald Trump is secretly combatting a Satanic paedophile ring run by Democrats and celebrities, has raised eyebrows in the course of the 2020 election marketing campaign, as have statements in which she espoused racist, antisemitic and Islamophobic views.
5. Mississippi voters approve new state flag to exchange Accomplice one
In an indication that the state is starting a brand new chapter in its historical past, voters in Mississippi formally backed the adoption of a brand new state flag.
The brand new design, which replaces the state’s earlier Accomplice flag, incorporates a magnolia blossom in addition to 21 stars symbolising the states that joined the Union earlier than Mississippi. It additionally contains the phrases “In God, We Belief”.
The previous state flag had featured the Accomplice battle cross – an emblem from the American Civil Conflict which is considered by many to have racist connotations – for 126 years. State lawmakers had beforehand failed to achieve consensus on changing the flag, deciding to let voters resolve the difficulty.
Mississippi’s governor, Tate Reeves, signed an govt order to take away the flag from state buildings within the wake of George Floyd’s dying in police custody in Minneapolis in Might.
Different southern states have additionally traditionally used the Accomplice cross on their flag, together with Georgia which formally eliminated it in 2001. An analogous referendum on the flag failed in Mississippi the identical yr.