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The most important races you haven't heard about in midterm elections

Contests for governor and Congress nationwide may dominate the news, but ballot measures are big as well.
Wes Moore
Posted at 3:00 AM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 16:39:29-04

WASHINGTON — Election Day is approaching, and while races for governor and senator are dominating most headlines nationwide, there are smaller contests happening around the country too.

From a vote on legalizing mushrooms in Colorado to abortion access in Michigan, the outcome of these lesser-known races should be on your radar too — even if the contests aren't happening in your state.

HISTORIC EDUCATION VOTE

Let's start in New Mexico where the constitutional right to an early education is on the ballot.

You might not live there, but if voters approve it, as is expected, it would be the first state in the country to enshrine that right into a constitution – forcing lawmakers to fund preschool and child care to a greater degree.

If this passes in New Mexico, there is a chance a similar debate could happen in your state.

MARIJUANA AND MUSHROOMS

It seems like every election sees another state debating recreational cannabis and this year is no different.

It's an important debate because the odds are Congress will be more gridlocked after this election, which means state laws will matter more on this issue.

This year, Maryland, Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will vote on legalizing recreational cannabis.

There is a chance, after this election, marijuana could be legal in 24 states — almost a majority.

Colorado, which legalized cannabis 10 years ago this month, could go one step further and legalize forms of mushrooms, which supporters say help some with health issues like anxiety.

The outcome could impact what states vote on the controversial measure next.

VOTING LAWS AND ABORTION

There is also a debate over voting laws, which is happening in many states.

The impact is obvious: future elections, including the 2024 presidential race.

Arizona and Nebraska will vote on whether to change voter identification requirements.

Ohio is voting on banning noncitizens from participating in local elections.

In Michigan, voters will decide if there should be guaranteed days to early vote enshrined into law.

In regards to abortion, five states will vote on the controversial topic in the coming days including Michigan, Kentucky, California and Montana.

What voters decide will help tell the White House and Congress what policies Americans want going forward.