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Vox Sentences: Tomorrow’s big ballot initiatives, briefly explained

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All the ballot initiatives you need to know about ahead of Election Day; armed men kidnap 79 schoolchildren in Cameroon.

The other big decisions on the ballot tomorrow

David McNew/Getty Images
  • As Democrats hope for a blue wave in the House election and Republicans feel confident they’ll retain control of the Senate following tomorrow’s results, several key initiatives are also up for a vote. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Voters in 37 states will decide on 157 ballot measures. Massachusetts will hold the nation’s first statewide vote on anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, prohibiting gender-based discrimination in public places. [CNN / Emanuella Grinberg]
  • Four states will cast ballots on expanding Medicaid. If Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah all vote in support of their respective measures, it will be the highest number of states to adopt the initiative since it first became available when Obamacare launched — and would expand coverage to more than half a million low-income Americans. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • Several states could make it easier to vote, including Florida, whose historic Amendment 4 would allow up to 1.4 million ex-felons to regain their voting rights. However, Arkansas and North Carolina will vote on whether to require photo ID to vote. Their decisions will come a few weeks after a court upheld voting restrictions in North Dakota, limiting the chances of many Native Americans to hit the polls. [The Intercept / Alice Speri]
  • Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma will vote on versions of Marsy’s Law, first enacted in California in 2008. The California Constitution grants crime victims 17 rights in the judicial process, including tightening parole requirements and protecting victims from defendants. [Fox News / Douglas Kennedy and Rebecca Kesten]
  • Alabama and West Virginia will decide on ceasing to recognize and protect a woman’s right to have an abortion. Yet unless the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, the restrictions remain symbolic, since Roe means the right to an abortion is guaranteed under federal law. [Washington Post / Kate Rabinowitz]
  • Although 2018 was a year defined by mass shootings across the US, from the high school in Parkland to the Pittsburgh synagogue, only one state is voting on gun control. In Washington, voters will decide whether to tighten gun laws with an initiative that includes raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21. [Kiro 7 News]

Dozens of students kidnapped in Cameroon

  • Armed men kidnapped 79 students, their principal, and a school bus driver on Monday from a boarding school in the northwestern region of Cameroon, prompting a federal investigation. [CNN / Stephanie Halasz and Bukola Adebayo]
  • According to military and government sources, the abduction happened before dawn. The abductors are called the Amba Boys, a reference to the state of Ambazonia, a new country that Cameroon separatists want to create. [BBC]
  • The school is located in the English-speaking region of the African nation. Secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools in the past as part of their protest against the Cameroonian president’s French-speaking government and its perceived marginalization of the Anglophone community. [CBS News via AP]
  • The separatist movement grew in power in 2017 after a government crackdown on peace demonstrations. Violence intensified this year, including during an army crackdown in which civilians were killed. Many people have since fled to French-speaking regions of Cameroon. [Reuters]


  • Ride-hailing companies, including Uber and Lyft, are offering free and discounted rides to polling locations tomorrow to encourage high voter turnout. [USA Today / Kelly Tyko]
  • After years of teases and high demand from fans, the British pop group Spice Girls are giving the people what they really, really want: They’re reuniting — sans Victoria Beckham — to headline a massive summer stadium tour in the UK. [ET / Rachel McRady]
  • Following a joke on Saturday Night Live mocking Texas congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, who lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, Crenshaw asked both SNL and comedian Pete Davidson, who made the joke, to donate $1 million to veterans groups. [Twitter Moments]
  • A team of astronomers has found what could be one of the universe’s oldest stars, made almost entirely of materials formed by the Big Bang. [Times Now News]


“Ike slipped out of the halter completely ... because he’s sneaky, and he knows he can.” [A llama that escaped from its pack in Yellowstone National Park in August was rescued by a Montana woman last weekend / AP]

Watch this: Why every election has its own migrant caravan

Trump’s fearmongering about a migrant caravan is a perfect example of how politicians exploit last-minute news stories to try to distract voters before a big election. [YouTube / Carlos Maza and Hunter Boone]

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