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November 7 elections: Races to watch in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi...

Gubernatorial and state legislative elections are taking place in just twelve states but that doesn’t mean the results are unimportant.

Voters fill out their ballot as voters in Ohio decide whether to enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution, in Columbus, Ohio, U.S. November 7, 2023. REUTERS/Megan Jelinger

Presidential and midterm elections dominate the November political headlines but that doesn’t mean voting stops in the off-years. Indeed, 2023 has a number of consequential votes taking place. Abortion rights are on the ballot in Ohio, governors are fighting in Kentucky and Mississippi, as well as the state legislature in Virginia.

Below are a selection of some of the big upcoming votes but not all. Follow the rest of our election coverage for the full picture.

2023 Election live updates: Follow the latest information here

Ohio amendment on abortion

On the ballot will be constitutional protection for the right to abortion. Back in August, voters in Ohio rejected a ballot measure that would have required a 60% majority to amend the state’s constitution in what was seen by many as an attempt to block further abortion protections.

If the vote, named Issue 1, passes, then the state’s six-week abortion ban would not be able to take effect.

Kentucky governor

Incumbent governor Andy Beshear is seeking a second term, a difficult proposition for the Democrat in a very Republican state. He has vetoed abortion bans while in office, a position that seems key for determining voter support in plenty of states this year as well as in the presidential elections next year.

He is up against Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general. He will be hoping to overturn the Democrat control; Beshear won the last election by just half a percentage point.

Mississippi governor

In the opposite to Kentucky, Mississippi is governed by Republican Tate Reeves in a traditionally Democrat voting state. Elvis Presley’s cousin, Brandon Presley, is the Democrat challenger.

The state’s legislature is also being voted upon.

Virginia state legislature

In the November 2019 elections, the Democratic Party gained control of both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate, which had previously been under Republican control. This marked the first time in over two decades that Democrats had a majority in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly.

The following elections in 2021 saw the party lose control of the House of Delegates, something they will be looking to right tonight.