An unusually busy off-year culminates with some critical choices for voters nationwide today. Here are races and issues to watch beyond California:
MAJOR MAYORAL RACES Seattle Albuquerque Minneapolis St. Paul Houston Cincinnati Detroit Cleveland Buffalo New York Hartford Boston Pittsburgh Charlotte Atlanta Miami * GOVERNOR'S RACES include New Jersey and Virginia
THE BALLOT MEASURES
* INDIANA: Riverboat gambling will be an option for 11 communities near Lake Michigan and the Ohio River.
* MISSOURI: Three cities and three counties will vote on riverboat gambling on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
* MAINE: Voters may limit terms for state lawmakers and four executive offices.
* NEW YORK: New York City voters may limit terms for mayor, city council and other posts; county offices in upstate Monroe County.
Prisons and crime
* TEXAS: $1 billion bond issue for prisons.
* WASHINGTON: Voters may order life sentences without parole for most three-time felons.
* TEXAS: Question whether voters should be polled before new state income taxes can be created.
* WASHINGTON: Proposal to limit tax growth, cancel part of state budget.
* MAINE: Decide on shipping low-level radioactive waste to Texas.
CITY AND LOCAL PROPOSITIONS
* AROUND THE NATION: Voters in Cincinnati and Lewiston, Me., decide whether to repeal gay rights ordinances; Portsmouth, N.H., has a non-binding referendum on gay rights.
* STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.: Staten Islanders decide whether to keep pushing for independence from New York City and make their suburb a city.
* HOUSTON: Voters in the only U.S. city without such regulations decide whether to approve a controversial zoning ordinance passed last summer by the Houston City Council.