JONATHAN COHN NOVEMBER 3, 2010
As always, there were an assortment of ballot initiatives and other random acts of direct democracy that voters dealt with today. The two most famous, California's Prop 19 (legalization of marijuana) and Prop 23 (suspending the state's carbon emissions law), are losing, as polls predicted. On Prop 19, the theory that pot aficionados would hide their vice from pollsters appears to have been less compelling than the theory that pot aficionados would zone out on election day. More likely, the recent California law that reduced penalties for possession of small quantities of weed to a $100 fine undermined the rationale for the initiative.
Colorado's "personhood" amendment, designed to enshrine the Right-to-Life movement's views of the homicidal nature of all abortions and some forms of birth control, lost very badly, after most Republican politicians danced around the question. And in Rhode Island, an initiative to change the name of the state to "Rhode Island" (it's currently "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations") was trounced. Guess you'll have to get someone from RIPP to explain that one to you.
On a more serious note, a conservative effort to deny three Iowa Supreme Court justices retention in office to punish them for the Court's unanimous decision legalizing same-sex marriage narrowly succeeded. You will soon see the organizers of that effort as major potentates in the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucuses.