Election Day 2011 (Getty)

Tuesday's slate of off-year elections around the country may have been about local issues, but they also gave us a peek at the national mood as we draw closer to 2012. From controversial ballot measures to which way swing states are swerving, here are the (game-changing?) results from some of the key races and matters. 

Collective Bargaining

On the Ballot: Ohio voters got to have their say via Issue 2, a referendum on a 2011 law (passed by Republican Gov. John Kasich) that would roll back collective-bargaining rights for the state's public employees. Democrats and union groups fought tirelessly against the bill this year, outraged by the idea of balancing the state budget on the backs of teachers, cops and firefighters.

Outcome: The Buckeye State struck down the governor's anti-union law. The definitive vote, cemented by a high voter turnout, has been chalked up as a Democratic victory in the major swing state.

Voting Rights

On the Ballot: The people of Mississippi and Maine were charged with determining state voting changes. In Mississippi, voters took on a measure that would require government-sponsored photo ID before being allowed to vote. On the ballot in Maine was a new law that would end same-day voting, requiring voters to instead register two business days before an election.


Outcome: Mississippi approved its measure, voting in favor of a requirement for state-issued photo ID in order to vote. Maine, on the other hand, repealed their new law banning same-day voting with 59 percent of the vote.

Pre-Embryonic Personhood

On the Ballot: In Mississippi, voters cast their ballot on Initiative 26, a citizen-led measure to define human personhood as starting at the moment of conception. The initiative not only bans all abortion in the state, including in cases of rape and incest, but also restricts certain methods of birth control and in-vitro fertilization.


Outcome: Rejected! Despite early predictions that Mississippi would go for it, voters shut down the measure, keeping Roe v. Wade secure for another day.

The "Color" of Swing States

On the Ballot: The legislatures in two other swing states — Iowa and Virginia — held "blue" Democratic majorities that were hanging on for dear life. In terms of Virginia, where in 2008 Obama was the first Democrat to win the state since Lyndon B. Johnson, the state Senate's Democratic majority faced a struggle to defend itself. Iowa also stood a good chance of flipping the Senate from Democratic to Republican control.


Outcome: The balance of power in Virginia is uncertain on Wednesday morning, with the too-close-to-call results leaning toward an even split. But Iowa Democrats were able to keep down GOP challengers, maintaining their hold in the state legislatures — another good sign for the Democratic party in the lead-up to 2012. 

Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.

This post has been changed to update the Virginia election results.