Woman takes top House job

It looks like the Democrats have won back control of the House of Representatives, making Nancy Pelosi the first female Speaker of the House.

According to a report in the Guardian, the high-profile San Franciscan can be credited with a big chunk of the Democratic party’s success in these mid-term elections:

Firercely partisan, a phenomenal fundraiser and a tireless networker, she has pulled the notoriously fractious Democratic party together with a “You’re either with me or against me” approach not unlike that of George Bush.

She has backed that tribal attitude with the power of patronage, rewarding those who stay on message with perks and jobs. The result has been the most unified Democratic party in the House since the Republicans took control in 1994 and an effective opposition.

Meanwhile, US commentators have been predicting that this election will mark another “year of the women”, with even more women elected to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It looks like they could be right. Women’s eNews has a more thorough analysis of the results so far.

South Dakota abortion ban quashed

When South Dakota’s legislature passed a brutal abortion ban with no exception for rape victims or incest cases, campaigners forced a referendum. That took place at the same time as the mid-terms, and the people have spoken out against the ban, while the politician behind the bill may lose his seat.

The ban was defeated 55% to 45% according to a report in USA Today.

But the news is not all good. Voters in seven States look to have opted to support bans on gay marriage, including Wisconsin, South Carolina and Virginia.

Meanwhile, BoingBoing is compiling information on voting irregularities.