The new advertising campaign for the Federal Voting Assistance Program makes clear its mission for military and civilian voters living overseas: “Americans make small votes every day and we want to make sure that you get your most important vote home.” The program, a part of the U.S. Department of Defense, is using that campaign—in addition to an active social media presence and other efforts—to spread the word about the resources it is providing for citizens living overseas, according to Scott Wiedmann, the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s director of communications.

Only 36.4 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2014 midterm election – the lowest turnout since 1942. Voter turnout during presidential election years is higher than turnout during midterm elections. In 2012, 58.2 percent of eligible voters voted – nearly 20 percentage points higher than the turnout just two years later in a midterm year.   

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Due to a mix of legislative actions and ballot initiatives this year, the minimum wage for workers has recently increased in two Midwestern states and will rise in two others starting in 2015. Proposed wage hikes appeared on ballots in Nebraska and South Dakota in November and won by comfortable margins.
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With the notable exceptions of Illinois and Minnesota, this November’s elections did little to change the partisan balance of power in Midwestern states.

On Nov. 4 Oregon voters rejected a contentious state law that would have granted driver’s cards to Oregonians who can’t prove legal residency. The legislature passed the bill in 2013, but opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to send the measure to the polls as a ballot initiative. With two-thirds of the vote in dissension, the law was stopped dead in its tracks. 

In order to secure an alternative driver'...

Legalization of statewide sales of alcohol in Arkansas failed to pass On November 4. Voters decided by ballot initiative whether or not to keep the current system of dry and mixed counties. Passage of the measure came up short, with 57 percent of voters saying ‘No’ to the change.  

Supporters of the amendment cited...

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Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate and maintained their control of the U.S. House of Representatives during the midterm elections Nov. 4.

Republicans also had success at the state level, winning governorships and seats in state legislatures across the nation. President Obama, acknowledging the election results, has expressed his intention to work in a spirit of cooperation with the Republican Congress for the next two years.

In the 2014 midterm election, voter turnout rates ranged from a low of 28 percent in Indiana and 28.5 percent in Texas to a high of 59.3 percent in Maine and 56.9 percent in Wisconsin. Nationally, the turnout rate was 36.3 percent.

Arizona’s Prop 122 – allowing the state to refuse funding for federal regulations – passed on Tuesday by the slimmest of margins, garnering 51.4 percent of the vote. The broadly defined amendment now gives the state authority to essentially nullify federal regulations and mandates by declining to dedicate state resources for enforcement.

Voters in two states—Colorado and Oregon—rejected initiatives that would have required labeling for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on November 4, 2014.

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