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The 'other' US election contests

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Tue, Nov 06, 2012 04:40 hrs

Washington, Nov 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) In addition to choosing a president, US voters Tuesday will express their will on a slew of other electoral contests as well as state and local ballot issues ranging from hunting and fishing regulation to legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage.

Here is a glance at some of the questions being put to voters other than whether the next president should be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney:

"Third Party" Presidential Candidates:

. In addition to Obama (Democrat) and Romney (Republican), presidential candidates from three other political parties - the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Constitution Party - are on the ballot in most states. Other US presidential candidates include comedienne Roseanne Barr, who is on the ballot in five states as the nominee for the Peace & Freedom Party, as well as James Harris, on the ballot in six states representing the US Socialist Workers Party.

US Congressional Contests

. Senate: One-third, or 33, of the 100 seats in the US Senate, the powerful upper chamber of the US Congress, are in play Tuesday. Obama's Democratic Party currently holds a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Republicans would need a net gain of three seats to take control of the Senate. A number of races are considered close, but most forecasters predict the Democrats will retain their Senate majority with little or no change in the numbers.

. House of Representatives: All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs. Several seats are currently vacant, but if all of these seats were assigned to the parties that won them two years ago, the Republican Party would currently hold a 242-193 majority in the House. Democrats would thus need a need gain of 25 seats to shift the balance of power there. Most pundits forecast some change in the party make-up of the House but predict the Republican Party will handily retain its majority.

Ballot Issues:

. Same-sex Marriage: Voters in three states - Maine, Maryland and Washington - are being asked whether same-sex marriage should be legal. In addition, voters in Minnesota will decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be banned by the state's constitution. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states and Washington, DC. But this legalization has been approved only by local legislatures or courts - never directly by voters.

. Marijuana: The question of whether to legalize the possession and use of limited quantities of marijuana is on the ballot in three states - Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

. Death: In Massachusetts, voters will decide in a "Death With Dignity" initiative whether to legalize administering lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who request it and who doctors say have less than six months to live. Voters in California meanwhile will decide whether to outlaw capital punishment.

. Hunting, Fishing and Trapping: Voters in four states (Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wyoming) will vote on various measures enshrining in state constitutions the right to hunt, fish and trap animals. In Kentucky, the mandate stipulates that hunting and fishing should never be outlawed without a direct vote of the people.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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