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CNN Today

Election 2000: 42 States Have Ballot Initiatives, Some Controversial

Aired November 7, 2000 - 1:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Besides the big names, there are some big issues on ballots today. Voters in almost every state are deciding on hundreds of ballot initiatives. Many of them may have a direct impact on how we live.

Kyra Phillips is here now to tell us about them -- Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots of heated conversations going on, that's for sure.

Immoral, resourceful, culturally sensitive, national disgrace -- all of these adjectives are being used to describe some of the 205 measures on the ballot in 42 states. Oregon, Arizona, Alabama, Colorado and Georgia lead the nation in the number of initiatives up for votes.

Now here are some of the most controversial ones: In Colorado and Oregon, voters will decide whether states should require background checks on buyers at gun shows. Since the Columbine shooting, closing the so-called "gun-show loophole" has become a political priority to break the gridlock on gun control in several states.

Now moving on to Alabama. It's not an initiative but, rather, voters are considering repealing a Constitutional ban on interracial marriage. Alabama is the only state with such a ban. However, in a recent poll, a majority of Alabamans say they support deleting the segregationist language.

Finally, legalizing marijuana. In Alaska, if the initiative passes, persons 18 and older will be able to use marijuana for personal use. It would be regulated just like alcohol. Supporters say this would free police resources to fight more serious crimes and it would be a positive economic resource for the state. Opponents are furious. They say legalizing marijuana for personal use would turn Alaska into the drug haven of North America and endanger public safety. Now, in Colorado and Nevada, medical marijuana is what voters are talking about. If the initiatives in these states pass, they will join seven other states that have already legalized marijuana for medical use.

ALLEN: And do you know what they're saying, Kyra, about what they expect to happen in Alaska -- legalizing marijuana for personal use?

PHILLIPS: Oh, boy, there's a lot of controversy going on in that state. A lot of people are turning out statewide, also, to vote because so many of these topics have triggered a lot of conversation and a lot of curiosity, too. People are getting out and the voter turnout has been really strong.

ALLEN: All right; Kyra Phillips, thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

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