Urban Review: Midterms, Midterms and More Midterms


In case you can't get enough, we've got several looks at what the midterm results mean for transit and housing, a shifting suburban voter profile and more.

Man holding Voting Is People Power sign

In case you can't get enough, we've got several looks at what the midterm results mean for transit and housing, a shifting suburban voter profile and more.

Title Page

The Democrats' Deep-South Strategy Was a Winner After All. The Atlantic.


Are Texas Suburbs Slipping Away from Republicans? Texas Tribune.

It could all be a blip — a year of Democratic enthusiasm spurred by a shiny candidate or vitriol toward President Donald Trump. But with margins narrowing over time in some of the GOP’s longtime strongholds, Tuesday night's results suggest that the Republican firewall in the suburbs could be cracking.

Executive Summary

From more than 1.4 million newly enfranchised voters in Florida to the creation of public campaign financing funds and systems, voters approved a range of noteworthy ballot measures across the country. Here are a few:

Denver's "Democracy for the People" measure saw wide support at the polls, with 69 percent of voters approving it, according to Denverite. The law would incentivize candidates to go without political action committee money by allowing them to receive some public funding instead. "The campaign finance reform measure also bans corporations, businesses and labor unions from donating directly to political campaigns for city offices, and lowers the cap on donations for mayor, city council and other government posts," according to Denverite. Denver wasn't the only city to approve such a measure but locals there hope it signals a step for the city.

“I’m really excited,” city council candidate Tony Pigford told Denverite. “I think there’s a strong undercurrent of progressive energy in Denver. I think the city can become a true beacon of truly progressive values.”

In Nashville, voters approved the creation of a citizen-led oversight panel for the police force, despite a well-funded opposition from the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police. The new 11-person panel will have "investigative and compulsory powers to review arrests and police actions," according to the Tennessean. Though questions about the panel's funding remain and the ballot measure itself faces ongoing legal challenges from the police union, the city is not alone in creating such a body. "More than 100 cities have some type of police review commission, according to advocates, including Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Austin, Texas, and Denver. They say community oversight boards go back to the 1940s and were a rallying cry of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s," according to the Tennessean.

Representing some $925 million, a collection of bond measures were approved by Austin voters, including $250 million for affordable housing, which won 73 percent of the vote, according to KUT. Per the ballot language for Proposition A, the passage of it allows for, "planning, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping affordable housing facilities for low income and moderate income persons and families, and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so, funding loans and grants for affordable housing, and funding affordable housing programs, as may be permitted by law; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes."

In, Los Angeles County, a measure creating a new tax on parcels to help fund stormwater infrastructure appeared to win the necessary two-thirds vote for passage in early results, enough so that public officials released a celebratory statement, according to Curbed. “Stormwater capture improves our water supply, protects our beaches and oceans from contamination, keeps our neighborhoods and local parks green, and promotes public health and quality of life in all of our diverse communities,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement. With some votes still be counted, the measure would need to maintain support above 66.7 percent of voters but county officials are clearly pretty confident.

Several jurisdictions approved increased support for transit and transportation projects, including Broward County in Florida, home to Fort Lauderdale. Voters greenlit a sales tax increase for the next 30 years that would raise $357 million in its first year, according to the Miami Herald. The funds could go for everything from road improvements to light rail.

For a run-down of the housing-, land use-, transportation- and infrastructure-related issues that were on the ballot Tuesday across the country and how they fared, head to Planetizen.


"This could get really ugly for American democracy," writes German Lopez for Vox on the increasing moves to restrict voting rights and access across the country. "The research suggests that the voter suppression efforts so far don’t have a huge impact on electoral outcomes," writes Lopez, "But the impact disproportionately hurts Democratic and especially minority voters. Given that elections can be so close (including Georgia’s gubernatorial race), more restrictions really could play a decisive factor."




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