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Your Weird Election News Roundup

November 7, 2014

Now that all the red, white, and blue balloons have dropped, let’s look at the quirkiest things that happened during this week’s midterm elections.

  • Weird Election ResultsJoining Colorado and Washington, which legalized the recreational use and commercial sale of marijuana in 2012, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. decriminalized the use of marijuana this week. A medicinal marijuana initiative failed to garner enough votes in Florida, as did two marijuana-related measures in a northern California city. Voters there rejected an initiative to allow residents to grow small amounts of marijuana in their yards, and another would allow for medical marijuana. The city that rejected those two “weed” laws: Weed, California.
  • Saira Blair won her first election to the West Virginia state legislature. Blair beat her opponent in a landslide, more than doubling his votes with a 63 to 30 percent victory. While the Republican Blair doubled the numbers of Democratic opponent, 44-year-old attorney Layne Diehl, she is less than half his age. Blair is only 18, the youngest lawmaker in the nation. (Only 5 percent are even under the age of 30.) She ran her campaign out of her dorm room at West Virginia University, where she will take her spring semester off to serve her constituents.
  • Most polling places are in public or accessible buildings: schools, churches, and community centers. But not everywhere. Oregon doesn’t have them at all, opting for a vote-by-mail or ballot drop off system instead. And then there’s Chicago, which has such a dense population that the city has to be a lot more creative to make sure there are enough voting booths for everyone. Among the odd locations used this week: a laundromat, a beauty salon, a car showroom, an ice skating rink, a movie theater lobby, an auto detailing center, and the kitchen of a restaurant.
  • Iowa senatorial candidate Jodi Ernst had probably the most memorable campaign ad of the year. She compared castrating hogs on a farm to cutting “pork” in Washington. (She won her race, too.)

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