Key Red States Just Voted to Expand Medicaid, Raise Minimum Wage, Expand Voting Rights

Both parties had a mixed night Tuesday with Republicans gaining seats in the Senate while Democrats won control of the House of Representatives and a number of gubernatorial and state races. Perhaps the most interesting trend on Tuesday, however, was red state support for policies that have traditionally been backed by the left.

Here is a look at some of the states that voted for Republicans but voted to back Democratic policies.

3 red states expand Medicaid: Deeply conservative Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah all passed ballot initiatives that would expand Medicaid in those states under the Obamacare law that affords Medicaid to all residents that make under 133 percent of the poverty line. Vox reports that the moves will extend health care coverage to around 325,000 people.

Florida gives voting rights to 1M+: Florida voters backed Republicans in their Senate and gubernatorial races but also overwhelmingly voted to pass Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to those with past felony convictions, except people convicted of murder or felony sex offenses. The move is estimated to restore voting rights to 1 million to 1.5 million Floridians, a huge number given how close every statewide election is in the state.

Missouri raises minimum wage: Missouri voters overwhelmingly supported Republican Josh Hawley for Senate over incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, but they also voted to approve a ballot measure that raises the state's minimum wage by 53 percent over five years. The measure, which raises the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2023, would lead to more than 600,000 workers in the state getting a raise, Vox reports.

3 red states legalize marijuana: Voters in Utah, Missouri, and Michigan voted to legalize marijuana. Utah and Missouri voters approved ballot measures allowing marijuana for medical purposes, meaning 32 states have now legalized medicinal cannabis. Michigan became the 10th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana.

Louisiana eliminates Jim Crow jury law: Louisiana voters approved Amendment 2, which eliminates a 19th Century law allowing people to be convicted by non-unanimous jury verdicts. The state enacted a law in 1898 to “split juries for felony trials, so the few black jurors could be easily overruled by a white majority,” Vox reported.

“This was part of the 1898 constitutional convention, which is famous for disenfranchising black voters,” Lawrence Powell, a historian at Tulane University in New Orleans, told the outlet. “It was also around the time of the Plessy [v. Ferguson] case that just got sanction from the US Supreme Court for racial segregation. It’s all part of that mix.”


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