Other stories from Election 2005
You've already read the headline stories about yesterday's elections. Here are a few other odds and ends about Election Day 2005:
ARKANSAS GAMBLING: Voters passed ballot initiatives to expand "electronic games of skill" -- aka, video poker -- in Hot Springs and West Memphis. The vote upset the Christian-conservative Family Council Action Committee, who said they will legally challenge the vote, including a contention that the ballot measure "disenfranchised voters." That's a new focus for them.
TEXAS-SIZE DISCRIMINATION: The 3-1 landslide vote to write Texas' existing ban on same-sex marriages into the constitution was notable for a couple reasons. Like 2003, when the original ban vote boosted turnout and Gov. Rick Perry's election chances, Prop 2 brought more voters to the polls -- but without any intended up-ticket side-benefits. This is clearly more than just a wedge issue designed to elect conservative Republicans. Pro-proposition activists also noted that they've gotten better at drafting these measures to make them "impervious" to legal attacks.
KAINE AND LABOR: Labor writer Jonathan Tasini over at Working Life blog doesn't sound too enthused about Tim Kaine's victory in Virgnia: "[I]n my humble opinion, it's not clear to me that those of us who live inside the labor movement should be rejoicing ... after all, the newly elected Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine is a "centrist" ... Kaine was one-half of an administration -- term-limited Mark Warner being the previous gov -- supporting the privatization of almost 10,000 state worker jobs, refusing to even acknowledge the existence of public sector union rights (there are none in Virginia), and have done zero to support private sector unions in the state."
Tasini's definitely right about the rights of public sector workers in the Commonweath. Virginia has the same Jim Crow-era law that hundreds of North Carolina workers gathered to protest last week in front of international human rights jurors. I don't remember hearing that come up in the campaign.
Chris Kromm is executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of the Institute's online magazine, Facing South.