Colorado voters rejected a 24-hour wait for women seeking abortion, and California was poised to approve drug treatment instead of jail for nonviolent, minor drug offenders.
The abortion measure was defeated by 60% of voters, with 78% of precincts reporting. California voters favored the drug rehab alternative to incarceration, with 54% approving in incomplete returns, according to the Associated Press.
Voters in Colorado and Oregon, still shaken by high school shooting rampages, cracked down on gun show patrons, approving background checks on all buyers.
The Colorado measure was a reaction to the massacre last year at Littleton's Columbine High School, where students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and themselves. A gun show furnished part of their arsenal. The measure passed with 70% of the vote, with 88% of precincts reporting.
A similar gun show measure was passing in Oregon with 61% support, according to still-incomplete returns. In 1998, a disturbed 15-year-old named Kip Kinkel killed his parents and two students in Springfield, Ore., with guns obtained from his father.
Sweeping proposals for private school vouchers in California and Michigan were soundly defeated.
Michigan rejected vouchers for children in failing districts by 69%, CNN reported. The proposal would have offered vouchers worth an estimated $3,300 to any child living in a district where less than two-thirds of students graduate, whether or not the child was in public school.
Californians turned down a proposal to offer every schoolchild, poor or rich, a $4,000 private school voucher. With all precincts reporting, 71% rejected the measure. North Carolina approved the state's record $3.1 billion bond issue to improve higher education. With 73% of precincts reporting, the biggest bond issue in state history passed with 73% support.
Maine voters were rejecting both doctor-assisted suicide and civil rights protection for lesbians and gays. With 76% of precincts reporting, the suicide proposal trailed, with 52% of the vote against, and the gay rights measure had 51% opposition.
Nevada and Nebraska voters approved measures to define marriage for men and women only, aiming to fend off same-sex civil unions approved this year in Vermont. Nebraska's proposal will also invalidate same-sex unions recognized elsewhere.
In incomplete Nevada returns, the man-woman marriage proposal had 69% support. The vote in Nebraska was 70% in favor.
Gambling measures on state ballots received a mixed reception from voters.
South Carolinians approved a state lottery to raise an estimated $150 million a year for education. But Arkansas voters rejected a measure to set up a state lottery and allow casinos and charity bingo.
Religious groups opposed both measures, but the governors in those states were split.
Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a Baptist minister, declared that government becomes "a pimp" when it uses lotteries to help fill its treasury, even if the purpose is to support education.
South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges staked his political future on establishing a state lottery. Hodges cited the $115 million a year South Carolinians spend on Georgia lottery tickets.
Two bids to end particular forms of gambling lost: Massachusetts retained dog racing while South Dakotans kept their state-run video lottery.
Residents of Greenbrier County, W.Va., rejected a proposal to turn a fallout shelter built for Congress in the basement of the tony Greenbrier resort during the Cold War era into the state's first casino.
New Jersey, the state that gave the nation Megan's Law, approved putting the state's sex-offender database online. With 99% of precincts reporting, the measure was drawing an overwhelming 79% support.
In Alabama, voters solidly favored lifting a 99-year-old ban on interracial marriage, which had long been unenforceable. With 99% of precincts reporting, the measure passed by 60%.
Criminal justice figured in several propositions. Massachusetts voters decided whether to limit voting by incarcerated felons. A California measure proposed treatment instead of jail for nonviolent, minor drug offenses.