Voters Decide to Knock Down Astrodome and Other Odd Votes

PHOTO: Different strains of marijuana are displayed during the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market on Feb. 13, 2013.
Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

Voters on Election Night 2013 decided a lot of issues across the country ranging from legal pot, to a possible 51st state, to whether to demolish the Astrodome (RIP Astrodome).

Here's the full update on how they voted:

1. Five of 11 Colorado Counties Continue 51st State Quest

For five of Colorado's 64 counties, the road to secession continues. In Tuesday's election, 11 counties from Colorado voted to secede from the state, and begin the process to become their own, independent state.

Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Phillips, Washington and Yuma county all passed the 51st state initiative, with strong margins in favor of the measure.

According to the Denver Post, the last time a state consented to the loss of territory was when Maine split from Massachusetts in 1820.

Even though five rural counties cleared the first hurdle in the secession process, it will be a difficult journey to become the 51st state. The five counties now need to get the approval of the state legislature and Congress.

2. Teens Take To The Polls In One Maryland Town

Takoma Park teenagers made history Tuesday, becoming the youngest voters in the country.

According to WTOP, "about a quarter of all the teens newly eligible to vote in Takoma Park had registered two weeks ahead of the election, and in posts on Facebook and Twitter Tuesday, the city said at least 18 teens age 16 and 17 had registered on Election Day itself."

A first time voter, 17-year-old Nick Byron, was enthusiastic about exercising his right to vote.

Byron told WTOP, "It was amazing. It's hard to appreciate the historical value of what just happened."'

3. New Yorkers Ready For The Slots

The state easily passed Proposal One, a bill to bring seven new Vegas-style casinos to the Big Apple. The bill, heavily promoted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was backed by $4 million campaign from major business and labor leaders.

"The passage of Proposal One is a big win for local governments, school districts, and taxpayers across New York State," Cuomo said in a statement. "…Today's vote will further pave the way for the creation of new jobs, construction, and increased tourism in communities across the state."

Now holding the winning hand, the amendment will begin plans to roll-out four full-scale casinos in upstate New York, including the Catskills, Capital Region, and Southern Tier (casinos will continue to be banned in the city and surrounding suburbs for at least seven years).

4. Hodges Positioned To Win Crowded Minneapolis Mayoral Race

The field of 35 has been narrowed down, and city council member Betsy Hodges took a commanding lead of the crowded Minneapolis mayoral race.

Minneapolis voters not only faced an unusually long mayoral ballot this year, but also partook in the confusing process of "ranked choice voting," where voters selected their first, second, and third choice in the race.

According to the MinnPost, after all first round choices, from 119 precincts, were tabulated, Hodges held 36 percent of first-round votes, and former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew trailed in second with nearly 25 percent.

Overall, when second and third choices are added, it appears that Hodges name will have appeared on more than 67 percent of all mayoral ballots cast.

Her lead is considered so strong, that it prompted Andrew, her closest challenger, to offer her is congratulations.

Second-choice ballots — and possibly third-choice votes — are still needed to determine the winner in the Minneapolis mayoral race, and city election officials will start that reallocation process Wednesday afternoon.

5. Maine, Meet Mary Jane

Portland, the state's largest city, decided in a landslide vote to legalize recreational marijuana. The Portland Press Herald reported totals showing the proposal passed with 67 percent of the vote.

The bill legalizes adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed. It will still be illegal to sell or purchase marijuana, as well as toke up in public spaces including school grounds.

David Boyer, the state's director for D.C.-based organization Marijuana Policy Project, told the Herald that "it's time for the state of Maine to follow Portland" and that the group is planning a statewide legalization effort.They will first attempt to get the green light through Maine's legislature, and if unsuccessful will push for a statewide referendum in the 2016 election.

6. Hyde Park Goes Bottoms Up

Hyde Park can raise their glasses (pint glasses, that is).

The small, mostly Mormon town in Utah, voted in a landslide election (64 percent) to allow the city's sole convenience store, Maverik, to sell beer with up to 3.2 percent alcohol content (the maximum limit in liquor stores not run by the state in Utah).

The victory has been a long time coming for Maverik, which stated beer sales could increase whole store profits by 24 percent.

The bill divided the community, which had been one of the last dry cities of the state, on moral grounds. But Danielle Mattiussi, the store's executive regional director of operations, said the newly allowed alcohol will be stored in back of the store, away from children.

7. Goodbye Astrodome

So much for sentimentality.

Houston voters rejected a proposal to save the famous Astrodome in a $200 million restoration plan transforming the shuttered stadium into a multipurpose center.

In its heyday the Astrodome was home to MLB's Astros (who now play at Minute Maid Park) and the NFL Oilers.

The city landmark will likely be bulldozed to make room for parking and tailgating space for Reliant Stadium, right next door and future home of the Super Bowl in 2017.

No word yet on what the next "eighth wonder of the world" will be.

8. Washington Poised To Reject GMO Labeling Law

Washington State voters took to the polls yesterday to vote on initiative 522, an initiative that would require all foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled, and according to early measures, the initiative is failing 45 percent to 55 percent with more than 980,000 ballots counted Tuesday night.

This campaign was one of the costliest battles Washington has ever seen, drawing in millions of dollars from out of state.

Dana Bieber, a spokeswoman for the No on 522 campaign told the Associated Press, "We're delighted with the vote tonight." She continued, voters "gave a clear message. The more they looked at the initiative the less they liked it."

Even with the early results showing a loss for food labeling supporters, they refuse to give up the fight until every vote is counted.

"This is far from over and we have several days of vote counting ahead," Delana Jones, campaign manager for the Yes on 522 campaign, told the Associated Press. Jones also noted that thousands of ballots in liberal-leaning King County had not yet been counted. "I'm cautiously optimistic."

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