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US voters rule on redistricting, gay rights, other issues in off-year elections

[JURIST] Americans went to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in off-year elections. Voters in New Jersey and Virginia are electing new governors [Reuters report], while 39 ballot measures are up for approval in seven states [Stateline.org report]: California, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.

Voters in California and Ohio will determine how electoral districts should be redrawn. Californians will decide [SF Chronicle report] whether to remove redistricting power from legislators [JURIST report] and allocate it to a panel of three retired judges, and will also consider Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiatives to cap state spending. In Ohio, voters will decide on whether to create a State Board of Elections [Cleveland Plain Dealer coverage of ballot initiatives] to oversee operations currently handled by the Secretary of State. Ohioans are also considering whether to allow voters to cast their absentee ballots without stating a reason, and whether to rescind an increased campaign spending limit passed earlier in the year.

In Texas, voters are expected to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage [The Monitor election coverage], while voters in Maine are expected to ratify [Portland Press Herald coverage] a state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing. Washington voters have six ballot initiatives [Seattle Post-Intelligencer coverage] before them, including elimination of a 9.5-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax increase. USA Today has more.

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