It's not 2012, but a lot of votes are being cast in the South today on races and issues that will be closely-watched nation-wide. Here are Facing South's top 5 election results to watch this evening:
1) MISSISSIPPI BALLOT INITIATIVES: Voters in Mississippi today will decide the fate of a ballot initiative that would define a fertilized egg as a person. It's a view at odds with the medical community, and which would likely make the use of contraception like birth control pills and IUD's tantamount to homocide. The national group pushing the measure, Personhood USA, sees Mississippi as a testing ground for future efforts. A recent poll finds the measure has an even chance of passing. Less talked about but equally important for the state's political future: Proposition 27, a voter photo ID requirement.
2) VIRGINIA STATE SENATE: As The Washington Post notes, Republicans had the Louisiana and Mississippi state senate chambers in their targets, but party-switching by ex-Democrats handed them to the GOP without a fight. That's put all eyes on Virginia, a battleground state where Republicans could complete their sweep of state senate control.
3) KENTUCKY GOVERNOR: Sitting Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is predicted to win, but Democrats are hoping it's a blowout -- all the more to trumpet the ability of Dems to win in tough conservative parts of the country. That's not the only race getting headlines: Democrat Jack Conway's attorney general bid (where he's favored), where Howard Dean and Sarah Palin have weighed in.
4) WAKE, N.C. SCHOOL BOARD: Why does the school board run-off between Republican Heather Lasurdo and Democrat Kevin Hill make the list? Because it's in part a referendum on Art Pope, the multimillionaire donor that received national attention in a New Yorker profile last month (and is also the focus of the Institute project ArtPopeExposed.com). Pope was credited with being the architect of the GOP's takeover of the school board in 2009, which led to the dismantling of the school system's diversity policy. This race will decide who has the majority going forward, and with it, shape the future of school policy.
There are plenty of other races happening today, including mayoral races in Charlotte, Durham and Greensboro, N.C. and Houston, T.X., and state races across the board in Kentucky and Mississippi.
What races are you watching?