The cheering is not about the elections...it's about defeating the two most fascist and undemocratic bills put forth by any groups in a long while....1) the banning of of collective bargaining rights and 2) the attempt to replace women's reproductive rights with a state endorsed belief system. Also being cheered is the partial victory over a coordinated GOP attempt to repress the most basic of American rights, the right to vote.
Voters turned a skeptical eye toward Republican-backed measures across the country Tuesday, rejecting an anti-labor law in Ohio, an anti-abortion measure in Mississippi and a crackdown on voting rights in Maine.
Even in Arizona, voters were threatening to turn out of office the chief architect of that state's controversial anti-immigration law.
Taken together, Tuesday's results could breathe new life into President Obama's hopes for his re-election a year from now. But the day was not a wholesale victory for Democrats.
Even as voters in Ohio delivered a blow to Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, and rejected his attempt to weaken collective bargaining for public employees, they also approved a symbolic measure to exempt Ohio residents from the individual mandate required in Mr. Obama's health care law. And in Mississippi, the same voters who rejected an attempt to define conception as the beginning of human life approved a plan, opposed by Democrats, to require prospective voters to produce proper identification.
Those were among myriad contests across the country, including four governors' races, that were keenly watched for clues to voter sentiment a year ahead of the presidential election.
Even though it was an off-year election, with very few major races involved, the turnout was unusually high in Ohio and Mississippi.
"It's surprised us that it's this heavy," said Danny Glaskox, the chairman of the election commission for Jackson County, Miss., where Pascagoula is the county seat. "We suspect these initiatives have really brought people out."
Steve Beshear, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, was re-elected. In Mississippi, Phil Bryant will succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, a fellow Republican, who was prevented by term limits from running for re-election. Races were also contested for the governorships of Louisiana and West Virginia.
Mayors were being chosen in more than a dozen cities, including San Francisco, where the interim mayor, Edwin M. Lee, was poised to become the city's first elected mayor of Chinese descent. Incumbents fared well in the early races. In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat, won re-election, as did Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, in Indianapolis and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, in Baltimore.
Also closely watched was a potential bellwether election in Virginia, where voters could return Republicans to power in the State Senate. Taking the Senate would extend the party's control to the entire state government and help build Republican momentum for next November. It could also throw into doubt whether Mr. Obama could recapture Virginia and some of the other states, like North Carolina, he won in 2008.
Mississippi voted on a far-reaching and stringent anti-abortion initiative known as the "personhood" amendment, which had inspired a ferocious national debate.
Initiative 26 would have amended the state Constitution to define life "to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."
Supporters, including evangelical Christians, said it would have stopped the murder of innocent life and sent a clarion moral call to the world. They said they had hoped that passage in Mississippi would build support for similar laws in other states.
Opponents, led by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, said the proposal would have essentially outlawed all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest; would have barred morning-after pills and certain forms of contraception such as IUD's; and could limit in vitro fertility procedures.
Mr. Barbour is a strong opponent of abortion but has expressed skepticism about the amendment's wording.
"It's unnecessarily ambiguous," the governor told MSNBC on Tuesday. He also criticized the strategy of sending it to voters rather than to the Legislature -- a blunder he attributed to people in Colorado, who wrote the measure -- and said it would not be a good test case. Nonetheless, he said, he had supported the measure because he believes that life begins at conception.
Perhaps the battle that was most closely watched, for its national repercussions, was the one in Ohio, where organized labor had spearheaded the successful effort to repeal a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees, including police officers and firefighters.
The anti-union law was the signal achievement of Mr. Kasich and his Republican-led Legislature this year. Democrats hoped that overturning the law, passed in March, would breathe fresh life into Mr. Obama's hopes for winning this crucial swing state in 2012.
A special election in Iowa could determine the future of same-sex marriage there. Voters outside Cedar Rapids were deciding on a replacement for a state senator who resigned. The result will determine control of the State Senate and, potentially, the fate of numerous conservative bills, like a ban on same-sex marriage, that have been blocked by Democrats, who have a 26-to-24 majority.
Immigration was at the center of a heated recall election in Arizona. State Senator Russell K. Pearce, the Republican who designed the state's law cracking down on illegal immigrants, faced an effort to unseat him in what was believed to be the first recall election of a state legislator in Arizona history.
Theo Emery, Erik Eckholm and Kirk Johnson contributed reporting.