Showing posts with label north america. Show all posts
Showing posts with label north america. Show all posts

Monday, November 2, 2020

3 Election Day Referendums that Could Change US Geography (Updated with Results)

Update: As of the earliest hours of November 4, the majority of votes for all three geography-related referendums have been counted. Scroll down to the bottom of each section for details of the partial results! Update 2: Final results are in for Rhode Island (see below). Update 3: Mississippi results are nearly complete, with only a small shift in the final numbers, while vote counting appears to have finished in Puerto Rico (see below). Update 4: As of Nov. 16, the results of the Rhode Island and Mississippi referendums haven't yet gone into effect, since it's taking longer than usual to certify the election results (see below for details).

Map of the United States, showing the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC)
The US has 50 states...for now. (Map from Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA)
 

US Voters to Decide in Geography-related Referendums

This Tuesday - November 3, 2020 - is election day in the United States. And while presidential rivals Donald Trump and Joe Biden have dominated the news, Americans will also be voting (or have already voted) in thousands of other elections for national, state, and local politicians, plus referendums on state and local issues.

The US has no process for nationwide referendums, but statewide referendums - often known as "ballot measures", "propositions", or just "questions" - are common. They also exist at many lower levels of government, and in territories that aren't part of any state, like the national capital district and overseas dependencies. This Tuesday, there will be 120 statewide referendums, all held within 32 of the country's 50 states, plus 3 referendums at the top level of government for other territories.

While most of these votes are on issues like taxation, election rules, and drug laws, three are of special interest to geography fans:

Sunday, July 12, 2020

NAFTA Replaced With USMCA/CUSMA

CUSMA/USMCA replaces NAFTA as the new free trade area made up of Mexico, the US, and Canada. Map by Wikimedia user Heraldry (source; CC BY-SA)

NAFTA is No More

On July 1, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - a much-talked-about free trade area including Mexico, the United States, and Canada - was formally retired. The arrangement, in place since 1994, has been replaced by a similar deal, technically called the "Agreement Between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada". The change was agreed upon last year, but didn't take effect until this month.

USMCA or CUSMA?

The short name of the deal depends on who you ask. In the US, it's called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but in Canada it's the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). In French (Canada's other official language) the acronym is ACEUM - also placing "Canada" first - and in Mexico it's known by the Spanish acronym T-MEC (placing "Mexico" first).

Sunday, July 5, 2020

US State of Mississippi Now Has No Flag

Update: On November 3, 2020, Mississippi voted to approve a replacement flag, which is expected to be officially adopted soon.


The second flag of the US state of Mississippi, stripped of official status on June 30, 2020
Former official flag of Mississippi state (2001-2020)

Mississippi Flag is No More

Last Tuesday the elected governor of Mississippi, one of the 50 states of the United States of America, signed a new law stripping official status from the state's controversial flag.

Mississippi's was the only remaining state flag to include the Confederate battle emblem, a symbol of the separatist Confederate States of America who fought to preserve slavery in the country's 1860s civil war.

Though citizens are not banned from flying the flag - a right protected by the US Constitution - it has been taken down from both the state government building and the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Several city governments and universities in Mississippi had already stopped flying the state flag.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The USA is Still a WHO Member

Update: The US government has now begun the one-year process of formally withdrawing from the WHO. It will remain a member until July 6, 2021, or longer if the process is canceled or not completed.

The World Health Organization includes almost every country in the world, coordinated by six different regional offices (public domain map; source).

Is the US leaving the WHO?

Last weekend US president Donald Trump made a statement that seemed to imply the country was withdrawing from membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Citing accusations that the body is overly influenced by China, the US president said "We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization".

Bu what exactly does that mean?