Voters in the buckle of the Bible Belt cast their ballots yesterday for a state lottery, adding Tennessee to the list of 34 others states that have the lottery.
Tennesseans voted 53 to 47 percent to amend the state constitution to allow the lottery, with some proceeds going to specific education programs.
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The amendment’s passage was a body slam to Tennessee Baptists, who led the opposition to the gambling initiative.
Anti-lottery forces raised more than $1 million to defeat the measure. Pro-lottery forces raised $231,000, according to the Tennessean. Individual churches and the Tennessee Baptist Convention contributed some $350,000 to the anti-gambling campaign.
TBC distributed 3.2 million anti-lottery bulletin inserts to churches and 100,000 anti-lottery magazines to Baptist associations, according to tnbaptist.org.
Gambling was also on the ballot in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Arizona, where voters faced three gambling propositions. Two measures failed. The third, “Proposition 202,” which allows casino-style gambling on American Indian reservations, was winning by a small margin.
The ArizonaRepublic reported that Arizonians also voted to increase the sales tax on cigarettes, but rejected a proposition that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
In Nevada, voters crushingly defeated “Question 9,” a ballot initiative that would have allowed adults to possess as much as 3 ounces of pot, according to the Las VegasReview-Journal.
Supporters of “Question 9” raised $1.8 million, while opponents of legalization raised over $150,000. The Review-Journal said that the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project gave all but $2,175 to the legalization campaign.
Nevadans also supported “Question 2,” which added a ban on gay marriages to the state constitution.
Florida voters passed overwhelmingly “Amendment 6,” which banned smoking in indoor workplaces, including restaurants. Tobacco shops and “stand-alone bars” were exempted from the ban, the Miami Herald reported.
Pro-health advocates spent almost $6 million to pass the constitutional amendment in Florida.
Florida, California, Maine, Utah, Vermont and Delaware now have such laws to protect people from second-hand smoke.
In Missouri, a measure to quadruple the sales tax on cigarettes was losing 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. The tobacco industry and convenience stores fought “Proposition A,” while a health-care coalition supported the measure.
Forty states had 202 statewide ballot measures, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan organization.
Americans voted yesterday on ballot initiatives ranging from labeling genetically modified food to raising the minimum wage, from reducing the size of public school classes to providing universal health care.
Stateline.org reported that Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon offered the most ballot questions.