While most Americans are mesmerized by what is going on with the 2016 presidential race, a host of controversial issues are being voted on across the nation Tuesday — and the votes have wide-ranging implications for the country.
1. Restricting Airbnb in San Francisco
The measure’s advocates argue that residents renting out their apartments through Airbnb is significantly hindering affordable housing in the notoriously expensive city and pushing lower-income individuals out.
Yet opponents counter that the local startup’s (which without a doubt will suffer a tremendous blow if passed) rentals help residents afford living in San Francisco.
2. Gun control in Virginia and Oregon
The race to see which party takes control of the Virginia Senate is heating up. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has poured $2.2. million into the Democratic candidates, with a win by either candidate changing the state from red to blue and allowing Gov. Terry McAuliffe to push through gun control measures.
On the other hand, rural Coos County in Oregon will decide on Tuesday whether to prohibit local law enforcement from enacting Oregon's new background check law and future gun control laws passed by the state.
3. Campaign finance in Maine and Seattle
Both Maine and Seattle are voting on Tuesday to powerfully change how money is handled in politics and instead putting it back in the hands of the people.
In Seattle, Initiative 122 would provide citizens with four $25 vouchers to give to the candidate of their choice. The “Honest Elections” initiative would also limit campaign donations to $500.
Maine already uses public money in elections, but the newest measure is hoping to push politicians to better use public money rather than relying on special interests.
Question 1 strengthens the Clean Elections Act by increasing public funding to candidates by $2 million to make them more competitive against privately funded candidates and raise penalties for violating campaign finance rules.
4. Protecting LGBT people from discrimination in Houston
America’s fourth largest city is voting whether or not to ban discrimination against gays and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Yet opponents have deemed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance as the “bathroom ordinance” under the narrow-minded suspicion that this initiative will allow male sexual predators to enter women’s bathrooms. These fearmongering claims only heighten anti-gay bigotry.