2015 Elections: Top Five Votes to Watch

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Today is election day in the U.S., and despite the fact that we’re all already preoccupied with the 2016 elections, there are some interesting races to watch this year as well. From mayoral elections to ballot initiatives, the 2015 elections certainly shouldn’t be ignored. Check out the top five most noteworthy races that are drawing eyes to this year’s polling places.

Virginia’s General Assembly

Today, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia will vote for their 140 members of the General Assembly. While the House of Delegates is almost certain to remain under Republican control, the state Senate is up for grabs, with just a few hotly-contested races likely to decide which party dominates. Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, is a Democrat, so having a Democratically-controlled Senate would give him more leverage to accomplish his goals in the state. Given Virginia’s cemented status as a swing state, state-level politics may offer an interesting look at which way it could lean in 2016.

San Francisco’s Airbnb Vote

The city of San Francisco, ironically the home of Airbnb, is voting today on Proposition F, which would put some serious restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies. Airbnb has fought against the proposed restrictions tooth and nail, spending upwards of $8 million. But, Airbnb also pissed off San Franciscans last week with a series of condescending ads that the company later took down and apologized for.

With this very expensive and contentious question being posed to voters, it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

Kentucky’s governorship is up for grabs, with a hotly-contested race between Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway and the Republican nominee, Matt Bevin, a wealthy businessman and tea party darling. Bevin almost successfully primary-ed Senator Mitch McConnell last year. To a lot of observers, the race between Conway and Bevin is symptomatic of some overall trends–on one hand Tea Party extremists pushing out more establishment Republicans, and on the other, Democrats struggling in state wide races. Like the Virginia State Assembly, this Kentucky governor’s race may shed some further light on national trends as we move toward 2016.

Ohio Marijuana Initiative

Ohio voters will have to vote on Issue 3, which if it passes, will legalize recreational and medical marijuana in the state. If it passes, Ohio will be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana without first legalizing medical marijuana. But there are some serious concerns about the implications of legalizing marijuana in Ohio, summed up yesterday by fellow Law Streeter Alexis Evans. One big concern is the fact that legalizing marijuana it in the state will make the group of 10 investors pushing the effort very wealthy, as they will have control over the state’s marijuana market.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

The city of Houston, Texas, will be voting today on an equal rights ordinance which would specify non-discrimination in arenas such as employment and public housing. The law, which is on the ballot as Proposition 1, would include protections for the LGBTQ community, as it specifies sexual orientation, genetic information, and gender identity. Opponents to the ordinance have fixated on one particular aspect–that it will allow people who are trans to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, and made some truly disgusting and fear-mongering commercials urging people to vote against it.

Given that this is one of the first big public tests of LGBTQ rights post-Obergefell, the Houston vote is certainly one to watch.


Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at amahoney@LawStreetMedia.com.



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