Minimum Wage, Health Care, and Local Democracy Big Winners Across Country on Election Day

On Election Day, voters showed they want action on key working families issues as they backed ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage, expand access to health care, and guarantee fair elections. In Congress, they elected a new House majority that is expected to put a brake on the Trump Administration’s war on workers and instead make a $15 minimum wage, restoring overtime pay, and guaranteeing equal pay early orders of business. And in states from New England to the upper Midwest to the Mountain West where new governors and legislative majorities were elected, new leadership is looking to replace years of punitive, anti-worker policies, with action to protect workers and improve jobs. Key results included the following:

  • Voters in Arkansas and Missouri overwhelmingly approved minimum wage increases to $11 and $12, respectively. In Anaheim, voters agreed that employers receiving city subsidies should begin paying their employees $15 in 2019, gradually rising to $18 in 2022. In Flagstaff, Arizona, opponents to the minimum wage failed to roll back the city’s minimum wage to state levels.
  • Together, the Arkansas and Missouri initiatives will deliver raises to 977,000 workers, providing relief to workers and families in every county in these states who are struggling to survive on the minimum wage amid rising costs.
  • The new majority in the House of Representatives is expected to provide a badly needed brake against the Trump Administration’s attacks on workers, and to move proactively on an agenda that includes a $15 minimum wage, restoring overtime pay, and guaranteeing equal pay for equal work.
  • In the states, new governors and/or state legislative majorities were elected in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Maine, and New York on agendas that include raising the minimum wage, restoring overtime pay, and protecting workers. They are expected to push to restore worker protections that have languished for years under anti-worker governors or legislative gridlock. On overtime pay in particular, governors in states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, and Maine can expand eligibility on their own without need for action by the legislature.
  • Protecting workers’ health care by defending the Affordable Care Act was a pivotal issue in many congressional and governor’s races – and on the ballot in Utah, Nebraska, and Idaho, where voters approved measures to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, extending coverage to hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Voters in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah approved plans to combat gerrymandering and create new voting rights. In Florida, 1.4 million returning citizens with a felony record will have their right to vote restored. They constitute about one-quarter of the roughly six million people in the United States who are disenfranchised.
  • In Louisiana, voters overwhelmingly approved making a unanimous jury a requirement for convictions, scrapping its Jim Crow–era law that allowed for split juries.


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