U.S. election: 12 wins for underrepresented and marginalized Americans

·3 min read

As we enter Day 3 awaiting the results from the U.S. presidential election, here are some decisive results that turned out to be wins for underrepresented and marginalized Americans:

Nebraska and Utah voters remove slavery as punishment for a crime from constitution

In Nebraska, 68 per cent of voters approved the amendment and in Utah the removal had 80 per cent support. The language prior had outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime.

Voting rights return for formerly incarcerated citizens in California

Proposition 17 passed with 59 per cent of the vote and will return voting rights to felons on parole, re-enfranchising about 50,000 people, according to the Los Angeles Times.

First transgender state senator elected

In Delaware, Sarah McBride made history with her election, as she will be the first transgender state senator in U.S. history, and the highest-ranking transgender official in the country.

First trans woman of colour elected to state legislature

Kansas’s Stephanie Byers a member of Chickasaw Nation, became the first Indigenous trans person elected to a state legislature.

Mississippi retires state flag with Confederate emblem

The state’s official flag currently features a Confederate battle cross, and it will now be redesigned to feature a magnolia and read “In God we trust.”

Alabama to remove all racist language from constitution

Amendment 4, introduced by Democratic representative Merika Coleman in 2019, passed with 66.7 per cent of the vote in Alabama. This will remove language that bans interracial marriage, mandates racially segregated schools and allows poll taxes.

The Squad holds steady in congress

The four progressive congresswomen dubbed The Squad — Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — all held on to their seats with landslide victories over their Republican counterparts.

Muslim politicians make history in five states

Oklahoma, Delaware, Colorado, Wisconsin and Florida elected their state’s first Muslim representatives: Mauree Turner (Oklahoma) who is also openly queer, Madinah Wilson-Anton (Delaware), Iman Jodeh (Colorado), Samba Baldeh (Wisconsin) and Christopher Benjamin (Florida).

$15 minimum wage increase coming in Florida

Voters in Florida have approved a wage increase that will see minimum wage rise to $15 per hour, up from the current $8.56, by 2026.

Florida will be the eighth state to implement a $15 wage. Federally, the minimum wage sits at $7.25.

Drugs on the ballot

In Oregon, voters opted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs, such as cocaine. Rather than facing a trial and possible jail time, those arrested with small amounts of hard drugs would see a $100 fine and attend an addiction recovery program.

Voters in Oregon also legalized the therapeutic use of Psilocybin mushrooms, which have a hallucinogenic effect, while D.C. voted to have activity with the mushrooms become “among the lowest law enforcement priorities,” according to Ballotpedia.

Meanwhile, voters in New Jersey, Montana and Arizona have legalized cannabis use for those over the age of 21.

Colorado voters protect abortion rights, while Lousiana rejects

Colorado’s Proposition 115, which sought to ban abortions after 22 weeks gestation for any reason except immediate risk of death to a pregnant mother, was rejected by 59.1 per cent of voters.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent of Louisiana residents voted to add language to its constitution stating that abortion is not protected as a right, and that the state is not required to fund it.

Colorado’s first openly bisexual state leglislator elected

David Ortiz will be the state’s first openly bisexual state legislator. Currently, bisexual people are underrepresented in politics with only 14 openly bisexual state legislators out of nearly 150 LGBTQ, them.us reports.

With files from Jenna Moon

Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering inequity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: afrancis@thestar.ca

Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star