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Recount decides Boston City Council seat by one vote

After a three-day recount, the Boston Election Commission announced on December 9 that the fourth at-large seat on the Boston City Council was won by Julia Mejia by a margin of one vote. The recount found that Mejia received 22,492 votes, and Alejandra St. Guillen received 22,491 votes.
In the November 5 general election, unofficial results showed Mejia had received 10 more votes than St. Guillen. At-large incumbents Michael Flaherty, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu were all re-elected in the general election. At-large incumbent Althea Garrison was defeated in the general election.
After the recount results were announced, Mejia said that, “It feels incredibly overwhelming to win by one vote. It really goes to reinforce the message we’ve been promoting all along, that every vote matters.” St. Guillen tweeted out on December 10 that she would not be contesting the results. She said, “Last night, I believed that I owed it to my supporters and the voters to fully review the results from the recount before moving forward. After weighing all the options with my team and my family, I have come to the decision to not move forward with a court challenge.”
Mejia, a community activist, will take office in January. She will be the first Latina to serve on the city council.
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North Carolina statewide filing deadline is December 20

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in North Carolina is on December 20, 2019. In North Carolina, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
• U.S. Senate
• U.S. House
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Attorney General
• Secretary of State
• Treasurer
• Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Auditor
• Commissioner of Agriculture
• Commissioner of Labor
• Commissioner of Insurance
• State Senate (all 50 seats)
• State House (all 120 seats)
• State Supreme Court judgeships for Seats 1, 3, and 6
• Five judgeships on the North Carolina Court of Appeals
The primary is scheduled for March 3, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020. In primaries where no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the state’s primary runoff will be held on either April 21 (if no federal office requires a runoff) or May 12 (if a federal office does require a runoff).
North Carolina’s statewide filing deadline is the seventh to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on January 10, 2020, in Mississippi.
North Carolina has a divided government. A Democrat, Roy Cooper, holds the governor’s office while Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
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Four candidates running in WI-07 special election primaries

Four candidates filed for the May 12 special election to represent Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Party primaries will take place on February 18.
Jason Church and Tom Tiffany are running in the Republican primary. Church, a veteran and former aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Tiffany, a Wisconsin state senator, has received endorsements from former Wisconsin Govs. Scott Walker (R) and Tommy Thompson (R), as well as Americans for Prosperity Action.
Lawrence Dale and Tricia Zunker are running in the Democratic primary.
Dale, an insurance salesperson, previously ran as a Green Party candidate for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in 2014 and as a Democratic candidate for District 34 of the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2016. His priorities include growing the local farming industry and passing Medicare for All.
Zunker, an associate justice of the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court and member of the Wausau School Board, said that she would be a voice in Washington for local farmers and work to improve public education. Her campaign has been promoted by the Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Democratic Party.
The special election will fill the vacancy left by Sean Duffy’s (R) September 2019 resignation. Duffy was first elected in 2010 and won his last election in 2018 by a margin of about 22 percentage points.
Governor Tony Evers (D) originally scheduled the primary for December 30, 2019, and the general election for January 27, 2020, but he moved the dates back after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the original dates did not adhere to federal requirements.
Six special elections have been called during the 116th Congress. Four of those were for seats in the U.S. House, and two are for seats in the U.S. Senate.
Click here to learn more.
Additional reading:
https://ballotpedia.org/Wisconsin%27s_7th_Congressional_District_special_election_(February_18,_2020_Republican_primary)
https://ballotpedia.org/Wisconsin%27s_7th_Congressional_District_special_election_(February_18,_2020_Democratic_primary)


U.S. Rep Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) won’t seek re-election in 2020

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) announced on December 10, 2019, that he would not seek re-election to the U.S. House in 2020. Yoho said he had pledged to serve no more than four terms.
Yoho was first elected to the U.S. House representing Florida’s 3rd District in 2012. He was the 23rd Republican member of the U.S. House to announce he would not seek re-election in 2020. Nine Democratic representatives had announced they would not seek re-election. In the 2018 election cycle, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
Currently, Democrats hold a 233-197 majority in the U.S. House with one independent member of the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election.
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Tony Buzbee has cash lead over Sylvester Turner heading into the Houston mayoral runoff election

Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee contributed an additional $2.3 million to his campaign, while incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner raised $1.74 million, according to final fundraising reports before Saturday’s runoff election.
At the end of the reporting period from Oct. 27 to Dec. 6, Buzbee had $597,624 cash on hand to Turner’s $524,420 on hand. Buzbee started the period with $1,300,780 cash on hand; Turner started with $787,331.
Buzbee and Turner will participate in a nonpartisan Dec. 14 runoff election for mayor of Houston, Texas, after advancing from the 12-candidate general election field on Nov. 5. Turner advanced from the general with 46.9% of the vote; Buzbee advanced with 28.4% of the vote.
In 2015, Turner won a runoff election against Bill King by 678 votes or about a 0.4% margin.
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. He or she also presides over the city council with voting privileges.
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 2,195,914.
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SCOTUS releases first opinion of the 2019-2020 term

On December 10, the U.S. Supreme Court released its first opinion of the 2019-2020 term. In Rotkiske v. Klemm, the court affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, holding that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s (FDCPA) “statute of limitations begins to run when the alleged FDCPA violation occurs, not when the violation is discovered.” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the 8-1 opinion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote an opinion dissenting in part and dissenting from the judgment. The case was argued on October 16, 2019.
Kevin Rotkiske accumulated credit card debt between 2003 and 2005. His bank referred to Klemm & Associates (Klemm) for collection. In 2009, someone accepted service for a debt collection lawsuit on Rotkiske’s behalf without his knowledge. Klemm obtained a default judgment of approximately $1,500.
Rotkiske discovered the default judgment in 2014. He sued Klemm for violating the FDCPA. Klemm moved to dismiss the claim as untimely. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Klemm’s motion. Rotkiske appealed and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. The 3rd Circuit held Section 1692k(d) of the FDCPA’s “one-year limitations period begins to run when a would-be defendant violates the FDCPA, not when a potential plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the violation.”
In affirming the district court’s ruling, the 3rd Circuit rejected Rotkiske’s argument that the FDCPA incorporates a “discovery rule” that “delays the beginning of a limitations period until the plaintiff knew of or should have known of his injury,” as the 4th Circuit and the 9th Circuit have held. Rotkiske then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, which concluded with this ruling.
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Bloomberg donates $10 million to House Democrats

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

December 12, 2019: Michael Bloomberg is donating $10 million to House Majority PAC. Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman upheld the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision to cancel its 2020 presidential primary.


 Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (MassINC Polling Group • New Hampshire • December 3-8, 2019)
Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Emerson College • Iowa • December 7-10, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Most debates have seen anywhere from five to nine polls released in the last two weeks, but for the upcoming debate, it seems as if there will be less than five. So what’s behind the dearth in polling? One obvious culprit is Thanksgiving. Pollsters try to avoid polling around the holidays because of concerns about response rates — people are often traveling or visiting family and friends. In that sense then, it’s not surprising that there weren’t any polls released right after the holiday weekend when few pollsters would’ve been in the field anyway. However, pollsters could have conducted surveys last week and then released them this past weekend — yet none did. But of course, the DNC doesn’t control when independent media organizations or universities choose to conduct their polls, so some of this is just bad luck for candidates like Booker, Castro and Gabbard. It’s also unclear, especially in the case of Booker and Castro, whether more polls would have helped them. Remember, neither has a single qualifying poll to their name.

However, the DNC does get to decide which polls count toward qualification. So that means some major national pollsters who have released surveys since Thanksgiving aren’t counted, including Morning Consult, The Economist/YouGov, and Reuters/Ipsos. But the DNC argues candidates have had a fair shot of making the December stage. ‘Candidates have had 26 opportunities to hit 4 percent, including multiple opportunities in all four early states,’ Adrienne Watson, deputy communications director for the DNC told FiveThirtyEight.”

– Geoffrey Skelley, FiveThirtyEight

Democrats

Republicans


Flashback: December 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton applauded the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, while Bernie Sanders said it did not go far enough.

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Tom Steyer leads in pageviews for a second consecutive week

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
Tom Steyer’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 3,282 views for the week of December 1-7. Steyer’s pageview figure represents 9.1% of the pageviews for the week. Andrew Yang had 8.8% of the pageviews for the week, followed by Pete Buttigieg with 8.5%. This is Steyer’s second consecutive week leading in pageviews.
Every Democratic candidate other than Steyer, Buttigieg, and Tulsi Gabbard had more pageviews last week than the week before. The three candidates with the greatest week-over-week increases were Julián Castro (52.8%), Bernie Sanders (40.5%), and Joe Biden (37.5%).
Andrew Yang remains the leader in overall pageviews this year with 150,806. He is followed by Pete Buttigieg with 144,572 and Joe Biden with 134,882.
For more information on pageviews and detailed lifetime stats, click here.


$13.5 billion in savings from 150 deregulatory actions in 2019; Trump administration falls short of 2019 2-to-1 deregulatory goal

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) last week issued a 2019 update on the Trump administration’s 2-to-1 regulatory policy, which requires agencies to eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation issued. Though the requirement only applies to what are called significant regulations—those with an economic impact of $100 million or more—the update includes information about the administration’s overall deregulatory efforts.
President Trump instituted the 2-to-1 regulatory policy in January 2017 via Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. At the end of the 2017 fiscal year, OIRA reported that agencies issued 67 applicable deregulatory actions and three regulatory actions for a ratio of 22-to-1. Following the 2018 fiscal year, OIRA reported that agencies issued 57 applicable deregulatory actions and 14 regulatory actions for a ratio of 4-to-1.
How did agencies perform in the 2019 fiscal year? OIRA’s update features the following outcomes:
• Agencies accrued $13.5 billion in savings from 150 deregulatory actions.
• Sixty-one deregulatory actions were deemed significant.
• Agencies issued 35 significant regulatory actions.
• Comparing significant deregulatory to significant regulatory actions yields a ratio of 1.7- to-1, just shy of the administration’s 2- to-1 goal.
Looking ahead to the 2020 fiscal year, OIRA anticipates that agencies will accrue $51 billion in regulatory cost savings. OIRA reported that agencies have eliminated $50.9 billion in regulatory costs since 2017.
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Ballot Bulletin: A look back on election policy in 2019

Electoral policy legislation in 2019: the year in review

With the year drawing to a close, let’s take a look back at electoral policy legislation in the states in 2019.

Redistricting legislation: This year, we’ve tracked 243 bills relating to redistricting policy. This represents a 179 percent increase over the 87 relevant bills introduced in 2018. Of the 243 bills introduced in state legislatures this year, 22 (or 9 percent) have become law. 

Examples of enacted legislation

  • Virginia HB2760: Requires municipal clerks to furnish Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps, along with ordinances describing district boundaries, to local election boards, the secretary of the commonwealth, the department of elections, and the division of legislative services whenever redistricting local districts. 
  • Washington SB5502: Moves the deadline by which the redistricting commission must submit its plan to the legislature from Jan. 1 of the year ending in two to Nov. 15 of the year ending in one following completion of the census. 

The map below shows which states having taken up redistricting policy legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills. 

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2019 

Current as of Dec. 9, 2019

Redistricting December 2019 mapElectoral systems legislation: This year, we’ve tracked 142 bills pertaining to electoral systems policy, addressing such issues as ranked-choice voting and approval voting. This represents a 35 percent increase over the 105 relevant bills introduced in 2018. Of the 142 bills introduced in state legislatures this year, 21 (or 15 percent) have become law. 

Examples of enacted legislation

  • Colorado SB042: Enters Colorado into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. 
  • Maine LD1663: Technical revisions to the state’s election laws relating to ranked-choice voting.

The map below shows which states having taken up electoral systems legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills. 

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2019 

Current as of Dec. 9, 2019

Electoral systems December 2019 map

Primary systems legislation: This year, we’ve tracked 13 bills pertaining to primary systems policy, addressing such issues as top-two primaries and open primaries. This represents a 41 percent decrease from the 22 relevant bills introduced in 2018. Of the 13 bills introduced in state legislatures this year, none have become law. 

Examples of proposed legislation

  • North Carolina H994: Proposes implementation of a top-four primary and ranked-choice voting in the subsequent general election for all state and federal offices (except the presidency). 
  • New York A07934: A proposed constitutional amendment creating top-two primaries for state and federal offices.

The map below shows which states having taken up electoral systems legislation this year. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills. 

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2019 

Current as of Dec. 9, 2019

Primary systems December 2019 mapNorth Carolina court allows remedial U.S. House maps to stand for 2020, opens candidate filing period

On Dec. 2, 2019, a three-judge panel of North Carolina’s state superior court ruled unanimously that U.S. House elections in 2020 will take place under a remedial map (depicted below) that state lawmakers adopted in November. The court had earlier ruled that the original map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander under state law. The court also ordered that the candidate filing period open immediately, having previously delayed the filing period pending consideration of the remedial map and the objections to it. 

North Carolina remedial U.S. House map

Click the above image to see a larger version of the remedial map. 

How did this start? On Sept. 27, opponents of North Carolina’s congressional district plan filed suit, alleging that the district map enacted by the state legislature in 2016 constituted a partisan gerrymander in violation of state law. The plaintiffs asked that the court bar the state from using the maps in the 2020 election cycle. On Oct. 28,  the court granted this request, enjoining further application of the 2016 maps. In its order, the court wrote, “The loss to Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution will undoubtedly be irreparable if congressional elections are allowed to proceed under the 2016 congressional districts.” The court did not issue a full decision on the merits, stating that “disruptions to the election process need not occur, nor may an expedited schedule for summary judgment or trial even be needed, should the General Assembly, on its own initiative, act immediately and with all due haste to enact new congressional districts.” The same three-judge panel, comprising Judges Paul C. Ridgeway, Joseph N. Crosswhite, and Alma L. Hinton, struck down the state’s legislative district plan on similar grounds on Sept. 3.

The House approved the remedial map (HB1029) 55-46 on Nov. 14 .The vote split along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor of the bill and all Democrats voting against it. The Senate approved the bill 24-17 on Nov. 15, also along party lines.

What were the reactions to the remedial map? Democrats opposed the remedial plan and announced their intention to challenge it in court. Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General and chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said, “The congressional map passed by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature simply replaces one partisan gerrymander with a new one. This new map fails to respond to the court’s order by continuing to split communities of interest, packing voters in urban areas, and manipulating the district lines to provide Republicans with an unfair partisan advantage.” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) dismissed Holder’s criticism: “Eric Holder and (former President) Barack Obama have raised a lot of money for this outcome, and they’ve pursued a really aggressive legal strategy for their partisan outcomes, and right now they’re calling it partisan gerrymandering, but what they’re seeking is partisan gerrymandering for the left. We basically have a Wild West of redistricting. This will be the fourth map in six cycles, and I think that is so confusing for voters and has a major negative impact on voters.”

What comes next? In 2020, North Carolina’s 13 seats in the U.S. House will be up for election. Heading into 2020, Republicans hold 10 of those seats, and Democrats hold the remaining three. In the wake of the court’s Dec. 2 order confirming the implementation of the remedial map in 2020, Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, said via Twitter, “Not going to officially make NC House ratings changes until we know the new map is final, but here’s what’s tentatively coming: NC-2: Likely R to Safe D; NC-6: Safe R to Safe D; NC-8: Safe R to Likely R; NC-13: Likely R to Safe R. Ratings changes suggest a two-seat D net gain.”

California Supreme Court rules law requiring presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns unconstitutional

On Nov. 21, 2019, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that SB27, which requires presidential candidates to file copies of their income tax returns with the California secretary of state in order to qualify for placement on the primary ballot, violates Article II, Section 5(c) of the state constitution. Article II, Section 5(c) states that “the Legislature shall provide for partisan elections for presidential candidates, and political party and party central committees, including an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States, and those whose names are placed on the ballot by petition, but excluding any candidate who has withdrawn by filing an affidavit of noncandidacy.” Writing for the court, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, joined by Associate Justices Goodwin Liu, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Carol Corrigan, Leondra Kruger, Ming Chin, and Joshua Groban, said, “The Legislature may well be correct that a presidential candidate’s income tax returns could provide California voters with important information. But article II, section 5(c) embeds in the state Constitution the principle that, ultimately, it is the voters who must decide whether the refusal of a ‘recognized candidate throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States’ to make such information available to the public will have consequences at the ballot box.”

Enforcement of SB27, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on July 30, 2019, had already been enjoined by Judge Morrison England of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. In his opinion, dated October 1, 2019, England wrote, “[The] Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their arguments that the Act 1) violates the Presidential Qualifications Clause contained in Article II of the United States Constitution; 2) deprives Plaintiffs of their rights to associate and/or to access the ballot, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution; 3) further violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause as set forth in the Fourteenth Amendment; and 5) is preempted by the provisions of [the Ethics in Government Act of 1978] in any event.”

On Oct. 8, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) appealed England’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In light of the state supreme court’s ruling on the matter, Padilla announced Nov. 21 he would abandon his appeal to the Ninth Circuit.



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