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Coronavirus Daily Update: May 29th, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for May 29, 2020.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • As of May 29, stay-at-home orders have ended in 30 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 13 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 12 have Democratic governors.

Details:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended New York’s stay-at-home order until June 27. It will only apply to regions that have not met the state’s criteria to enter Phase One of reopening. New York City is the only region that has not advanced to the first phase, but Cuomo announced the city was on track to begin reopening starting June 8.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The 1918 midterm elections occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic, one of the most severe in history. Each day, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On October 28, 1918, The Denver Post published an article titled, “New Flu Cases Here Few But Death Rate Still Is Running High.”  The article discussed how the ban on gatherings could affect the upcoming midterm elections.

With records for the last twenty-four hours incomplete, nine deaths attributable to Spanish influenza had been reported Monday morning, indicating that the mortality as a result of the plague continues to run high. The part reports showed only ten new cases. While few doctors send in records over Sunday, the great drop in new cases recorded, presents a hopeful aspect to the critical situation…No date for lifting the closing ban is anticipated by health officers. Whether the ‘opening’ will come before the election of Tuesday, Nov. 5, has raised an unusual and interesting question.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 95 lawsuits, spanning 33 states, relating to governmental actions undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 34 of those lawsuits.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 87 lawsuits, spanning 32 states, dealing with the administration of elections in light of the pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 35 of those lawsuits.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections. 
  • Sixteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
  • Twenty-seven states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia has tracked 22 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least 13 lawsuits were filed in ten different states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. Rulings or settlements have been issued for eight.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures but are delaying signature submission so their measures appear on the ballot in 2022 instead of 2020.

School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty-eight states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.
  • All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.

Details:

  • Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools would reopen in the fall and that the state would release guidelines to schools on June 1.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Of the 20 executive orders issued by governors or state agencies placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors, at least five have been rescinded.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
  • Twelve states have released inmates on the local level.
  • Eleven states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  • Two states have prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
  • Four states have temporarily released certain populations of inmates.

Details:

  • Colorado – The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and the Colorado Department of Corrections seeking an emergency order that would release inmates who are vulnerable to coronavirus.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty-one states have implemented policies related to evictions or foreclosures on either the state or local level.

State legislative responses

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 1,645 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Of these, 136 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 8 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Sixteen state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Ten of those have since reconvened.
  • Twenty-nine legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.




Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 29, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next three days

What is reopening in the next three days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 30

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) announced the state will move into the third phase of reopening starting May 30. Phase Three will allow non-essential travel and gatherings of up to 50 people. Bars will be able to reopen. Movie theaters, which had been scheduled to reopen in Phase 4, will also be permitted to reopen that day.

May 31

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Maine’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on May 31. Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued the original stay-at-home order on March 31. She extended it to last through May 31 on April 28.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that fans can attend outdoor professional sporting events at 25% of a venue’s capacity. Leagues will need to receive approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services before holding events with spectators. The order does not apply to indoor sporting events. Effective May 29, waterparks can reopen at 25% capacity.

June 1

  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order, short-term rental ban, and out-of-state travel quarantines will be lifted on June 1. The state will begin Phase One of its reopening plan. Businesses reopening in this phase, including restaurants and retailers, will be limited to 30 percent capacity. Residents are required to wear face coverings in public. See the “Featured plan” section below for more details.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Bars, night clubs, professional sports, and amateur sports will be allowed to reopen in the state beginning June 1. Gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed.
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Hawaii and Maui counties will begin opening personal care services (like salons and barbershops) and dine-in services at restaurants starting June 1. Hawaii County will start opening places of worship on June 1 while Maui County is allowing in-person religious services starting May 29. Oahu County is beginning to reopen some types of businesses starting May 29, including barbershops, salons, and tattoo parlors.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Cass, Lake, and Marion counties will be allowed to enter into the third phase of the state’s reopening plan on June 1. On May 27, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced the city would begin a modified third-phase reopening effective June 1. Social gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted, indoor dining can resume at 50% capacity, malls can expand to 75% capacity, gyms and fitness centers can open at 50% capacity, and personal service businesses (e.g., hair and nail salons) can resume by appointment only.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): Outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and outdoor playgrounds will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity on June 1. Summer school activities, including baseball and softball, will also be allowed to resume.
  • Kentucky (divided government): The following businesses will be allowed to reopen on June 1: auctions (33% capacity), auto/dirt track racing, aquatic centers, bowling alleys, fishing tournaments, fitness centers, state park lodges, movie theaters (33% capacity), and the Salato Wildlife Education Center.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Restaurants and bars will be allowed to offer limited outdoor seating on June 1 (outdoor spaces can accommodate no more than 50 people at a time). Salons and barbershops will also be permitted to reopen on June 1 at 25% capacity.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves’ (R) Safer At Home order will be replaced by a Safe Return order on June 1. The order will allow all travel to resume. It will also permit indoor gatherings of up to 20 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people. If social distancing is possible, indoor gatherings of up to 50 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 will be allowed. Ballparks, theaters, libraries, and museums will also begin opening June 1.
  • Montana (divided government): The state will start the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two allows restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, gyms, and pools to operate at 75% capacity if they maintain the physical distancing and sanitation protocols established in Phase One. Other venues like concert halls and bowling alleys can operate with reduced capacity under distancing guidelines. In Phase Two, residents are asked to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people unless social distancing can be maintained. Visitors to the state will not have to complete a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced the state will enter Phase 3 of its reopening plan on June 1. Under Phase 3, businesses can resume unrestricted staffing at worksites, and businesses that had been required to operate by appointment can start accepting walk-in clients. Summer camps can reopen if they follow safety guidelines. Visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities will continue to be prohibited until further notice.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Washington County will enter the first phase of reopening on June 1. In Phase 1, gathering sizes are limited to 25, and restaurants and bars can open for dine-in. Retailers, malls, personal service businesses (like hairdressers and salons), and fitness centers can also reopen, contingent on their compliance with state guidelines.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that 16 more counties will enter the green phase of reopening and the remaining 10 red-phase counties are expected to move to yellow starting June 5. During the yellow phase, theaters and gyms remain closed, but some types of businesses, such as retail, can begin to reopen with restrictions. Bars and restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery until June 5, when outdoor dining will be allowed in yellow counties. The green phase will allow most businesses and functions to reopen under state restrictions, including salons, barbershops, spas, casinos, theaters, malls, and gyms. Gathering limits will also be lifted in the green phase, but the state will continue to restrict large gatherings of over 250 people and visits to nursing homes and prisons.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the state will move into the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two will allow personal service businesses (such as barbershops and salons), gyms, indoor dine-in services, indoor malls, and some outdoor entertainment activities to reopen. It will also lift the state’s travel restrictions and allow groups of up to 15 people to gather. Raimondo said Twin River Casino will be able to open later in Phase Two.
  • Vermont (divided government): Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that the limit on social gatherings will go up from 10 to 25 on June 1. On that day, several close contact businesses, including fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo parlors, will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity. Libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, as well.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools would reopen in the fall and that the state would release guidelines to schools on June 1. Schools in the state have been closed to in-person instruction since March 15.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 29, making it the 30th state to end a stay-at-home order. Illinois also started the third phase of its reopening plan, which allows non-essential retailers and manufacturers to begin reopening. Restaurants can also reopen for outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.
  • Maryland (divided government): The following businesses and activities are allowed to reopen or resume on May 29: outdoor dining at restaurants and social clubs; outdoor youth sports and outdoor activities at youth day camps; drive-in movie theaters; and other outdoor activities.
  • Michigan (divided government): Nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures are allowed to resume on May 29.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that childcare centers would be able to reopen on June 15. Murphy also said outdoor, non-contact youth sports can resume starting June 22, and day camps can open on July 6.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended New York’s stay-at-home order until June 27. It will only apply to regions that have not met the state’s criteria to enter Phase One of reopening. New York City is the only region that has not advanced to the first phase, but Cuomo announced the city was on track to begin reopening starting June 8. The Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country, and Central New York regions were all cleared to enter Phase Two of reopening on May 29.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Dewine (R) announced that assisted living facilities and intermediate care for developmental disabilities can allow outdoor visitations on June 8.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On May 29, Northern Virginia, as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. Face coverings are also required in public indoor settings statewide for people 10 years and older.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced on May 29 that low-contact, outdoor youth sports practices can resume on June 8. Adult sports facilities, such as indoor tennis courts and outdoor basketball courts, can also reopen that day.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 29, stay-at-home orders have ended in 30 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 13 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 12 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Tracking industries: Hotels

All 50 states began to reopen in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you stay in a hotel?

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.

Previous featured plans

Alabama Georgia Massachusetts New Mexico Texas
Arizona Illinois Michigan Ohio Virginia
California Indiana Montana Oklahoma Washington
Colorado Maine Nevada Pennsylvania
Florida Maryland New Hampshire Tennessee

On May 15, Gov. John Carney (D) released details of Phase 1 of the state’s economic reopening, with general and industry-specific requirements for businesses allowed to reopen June 1. The state’s stay-at-home order expires on May 31.

Carney said the state will follow the White House’s guidance for determining when to begin reopening phases, including hospital capacity measures and a 14-day decline in cases. The governor’s office said it will focus on the following as restrictions are lifted:

As of May 29, the governor’s office had released details for Phase 1.

Local governments in Delaware may impose greater restrictions on businesses and individual activity than state restrictions.

Context

  • Carney modified his state of emergency declaration to order nonessential businesses‘ physical locations to close and individuals to stay home except for essential activities starting on March 24. The stay-at-home modification requires individuals to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines in shared spaces and during outdoor activity. The orders were set to expire on May 15. Carney extended them until May 31. On May 22, Carney issued a modification effective June 1 allowing Phase 1 businesses to reopen with certain guidelines.
  • On April 25, Carney modified the state of emergency declaration to require individuals and employees to wear face coverings in certain settings. The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • As of May 28, Delaware had 9,171 positive COVID-19 cases and 345 deaths. Delaware’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 973,764. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 941.8 cases and 35.4 deaths.
  • Delaware is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

General guidelines for businesses and individuals

Guidance for individuals

  • Cloth face coverings must be worn in accordance with the State of Emergency Order.
  • Individuals must regularly wash their hands according to Division of Public Health guidance, and must stay home when sick.
  • At all times, individuals who are not part of a household should maximize physical distance from others and remain six (6) feet apart.
  • All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, must be avoided (e.g. receptions, trade shows).
  • The number of individuals in a particular location will be strictly controlled in order to make sure that safe social distancing is maintained. Some of these limits are addressed for individual industries in the industry guidance, but where it is not otherwise stated, the upper limit is 30% of fire code occupancy (excluding staff).
  • Non-essential travel should be avoided.
  • ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

Vulnerable individuals are those over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions. For a list of conditions, see page 14 of the plan.

General business guidance

  • Employers should close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
  • Employees and customers have a responsibility to self-quarantine if they have a reason to expect that they may be ill or may have come into contact with COVID-19. Employees who are symptomatic must not physically return to work until cleared by DPH or their medical provider.
  • Employers are encouraged to continue to have staff work from home whenever possible. Employees who have been working from home throughout this crisis should continue working from home unless there is a substantive change to business operations in Phase 1 (e.g. a business was closed, but now it’s open).
  • All surfaces touched by customers, including doors, restrooms, and point of sale infrastructure must be disinfected using an EPA-approved disinfectant every 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  • All employees required to go to work should perform a daily health check as prescribed by the Delaware Division of Public Health.
  • All employees should wash hands regularly with soap and water throughout the work day, and in particular after any time they come into contact with a customer. Hand sanitizer should be used to supplement hand washing throughout the day. Employees must also social distance from each other while working. This can be accomplished through spacing or moving workstations, staggering shifts or other means.
  • Businesses must make hand sanitizer or handwashing stations readily available for all employees and customers.
  • Downtime should be given between shifts and after closing for thorough cleanings of an establishment at a minimum after each day.
  • Employers should post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, hand hygiene, and properly wear a cloth face covering.

Phase details

Pre-Phase 1 (May 8-22)

May 8:

  • Retailers were allowed to open for curbside pickup with social distancing

May 15:

May 20:

  • Retailers could open by appointment only (“may accept two appointments per half hour and must adhere to strict social distancing and cleaning guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”)

May 22:

Phase 1 (June 1)

The following may reopen in Phase 1. In addition to the guidelines provided below, see additional industry-specific requirements here.

  • Arts and Culture (i.e. galleries, museums, libraries): “30% capacity; Face covering required; Strict social distancing”
  • Food and drink establishments: “30% capacity; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Reservation-only dining; delivery and takeout available; bars closed; no self-service”
  • Retail establishments: “30% of fire code occupancy; Face covering required; Strict social distancing”
  • Malls: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Food and drink facilities must follow food and drink industry guidelines”
  • Exercise facilities: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Classes under 10 people allowed; Thorough cleaning and disinfecting”
  • Barbershops, hair salons, tanning salons: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Appointment-only; Face covering required; Social distancing when feasible”
  • Realty: “Resume open houses with no more than 10 individuals; Face covering required; Social distancing; Proper disinfecting of property”
  • Casinos: “Create and submit reopening plan to State Lottery and DPH; Thorough cleaning and disinfecting; employee training; 30% of fire code occupancy limit; gaming machines must be kept at least 8 ft. apart”
  • Racetracks: “Create and submit facility specific plan to DPH and Dept. of Ag; No automobile racing in Phase 1; No fans permitted to attend races; Staff must be socially distanced”
  • Parks and recreation: “Remain open or reopen with modifications to ensure social distancing; No gatherings or events; Properly disinfect any equipment”
  • Childcare: “Must be designated as an Emergency Child Care Site; Open for employees of essential and/or reopened businesses”
  • Youth sports: “No-contact sports and physical activities for children may resume; Strict social distancing; Groups limited to 10; Coaches and staff must wear face coverings; No competitions”
  • Places of worship: See additional guidance
  • Sporting facilities (i.e., bowling alleys, martial arts and dance studios, and indoor athletic facilities) may reopen if “they can create a facility specific plan to observe the industry guidance provided herein for exercise facilities.”

Other modified or lifted restrictions on June 1 are:

Find out more in today’s Number of the Day→

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • City department leaders in Austin, Texas, announced certain city services will reopen the week of June 1. Animal Services may begin offering on-site adoption by appointment only on June 1. The Code Department will resume certain in-person services on June 1. Several pools are scheduled to open between June 1 and June 6. The Austin Public Library will begin offering curbside service June 8.
  • San Francisco, California, Mayor London Breed announced details for the city’s continued reopening. Phase 2 is set to begin on June 1 with childcare, botanical gardens, and outdoor museums allowed to open. Two more stages of Phase 2, set to begin on June 15 and July 13, will allow additional reopenings including indoor retail, dining services, and hair salons. Phase 3 is expected to begin mid-August and to include opening bars, gyms, and schools. Phase 4’s date is to be determined. Breed said the city’s stay-at-home order remains in effect indefinitely. Residents are required to wear face coverings when outside the house and within 30 feet of someone.
  • Caymus Vineyards, a winery in Napa Valley, filed a federal complaint against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state Public Health Officer Sonia Angell alleging the state’s reopening plan treats some wineries unfairly. Under California’s reopening plan, wineries may only reopen in the current phase if they serve sit-down, dine-in meals. A local ordinance in Napa County restricts food service at wineries.


Montana mayoral recall effort advances to the ballot

An effort in Stevensville, Montana, to recall Mayor Brandon Dewey was initiated in March 2020. Petitions were approved for circulation on April 7, giving petitioners until July 6 to submit 251 valid signatures in order to put the recall election on the ballot. Petitions were accepted by Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg on May 22, and 254 signatures were found valid. Dewey has until June 4 to provide a written statement that will be placed on the ballot. Plettenberg has said that the recall election will likely take place on August 4.

The recall effort is organized by resident Leanna Rodabaugh in response to Dewey signing a $79,800 contract with First Call Computer Solutions on behalf of the town. Petitions accuse Dewey of violating his oath of office because contracts of that size would normally require approval from the town council. Rodabaugh said that the way the contract was signed bypassed the competitive bid and contract award process.

Dewey responded to the recall effort and said, “If you strictly took state law and municipal ordinance, I think, yes, a case could be made that there was some impropriety. But that’s only true if you completely ignore the purchasing policy which the council adopted a number of years ago and has reviewed on a regular basis since delegating this authority to department heads and the mayor.”

Dewey sent a letter to Plettenberg after the signatures were verified. He wrote that the recall petition is “invalid and should be rejected on the basis of unsworn falsification and tampering with public records or information. These facts presented in the meeting by City Attorney Scott Owens conclude that there was no merit to the allegations brought forth, now presented in the recall petition, and that no illegal action had been taken by the mayor or administration. Ms. Rodabaugh was aware of these facts when submitting the petition and further omitted the authority given to the Mayor in the purchasing policy from the language in the petition she submitted. Therefore, she has knowingly submitted false allegations and information in the recall petition.”

In a town council meeting after the contract was signed, Stevensville Town Attorney Scott Owens stated that Dewey did nothing illegal because, while an agreement had been signed by the mayor for an amount of money that usually would require council approval, the money had been included in the budget that the council approved and was only being paid out incrementally. Owens said that Dewey’s actions were close to illegality but did not cross the line.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading:


Weekly Presidential News Briefing – May 29, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“Peter Navarro, a Trump trade and manufacturing adviser who’s a Harvard-educated economist, called the high unemployment America is currently facing ‘manufactured unemployment, which is to say that Americans are out of work not because of any underlying economic weaknesses but to save American lives. It is this observation that gives us the best chance and hope for a relatively rapid recovery as the economy reopens.’ …

The scenario would be a major long-term problem for any president. But before that reality sets in, Trump could be poised to benefit from the dramatic numbers produced during the partial rebound phase that is likely to coincide with the four months before November.

That realization has many Democrats spooked. …

[Democratic strategist Kenneth Baer said], ‘On Election Day, we Democrats need voters to ask themselves, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Republicans need voters to ask themselves, “Are you better off than you were four months ago?”‘”

Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman, Politico 

“Just about every poll we’ve seen on this issue demonstrates bipartisan support for expanding vote-by-mail systems and offering Americans safe voting options this year.

If rejecting vote-by-mail is part of a Republican strategy to win in November, it’s a short-sighted one. Old-line opposition to voting reform is only alienating GOP voters at a time when many Republican Senate candidates are lagging behind Democrats in fundraising and polling. The same Hart Research Associates poll showed that 40 percent of Republicans would react unfavorably toward a GOP senator who opposed diversifying options for voting. The data are clear: Voters of both parties don’t want their access to the ballot to be limited. My party should listen to the voters.”

Michael Steele, National Review

“The Democratic Party is pushing mail-in voting as the safest way to cast ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the party is struggling to persuade a bedrock constituency: African Americans. …

During the most recent national elections, the 2018 congressional midterms, only about 11% of black voters cast their ballots by mail, according to Census figures. That’s the lowest percentage of any measured ethnic group, and it’s just under half the rate of white voters.

There are a variety of reasons. For African Americans such as Fason, striding to the polls is a powerful act, both symbolic and substantive. Some black voters fear their mail ballots might get lost or rejected. African Americans are more transient than other racial groups and have high rates of homelessness, government statistics show, major barriers to mail voting.”

John Whitesides, Reuters

Week in Review

Biden wins Hawaii’s presidential primary

Joe Biden won the Hawaii Democratic primary on Friday, May 22, with 63.2% of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 36.8%. Biden won 16 pledged delegates to Sanders’ eight. The primary was held entirely by mail in response to the coronavirus pandemic and incorporated ranked-choice voting. Hawaii’s Republican Party announced on December 11, 2019, that it would not hold a presidential preference vote.

Libertarian Party nominates presidential ticket

The Libertarian Party selected Jo Jorgensen as its presidential nominee on Saturday, May 23, during the Libertarian National Convention. Spike Cohen was selected as the party’s vice-presidential nominee the next day.

Biden apologizes, Trump campaign attacks over comments on The Breakfast Club

Biden apologized for saying, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” in an interview on The Breakfast Club. He said, “I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted. But nothing could be further [from] the truth.” Trump’s campaign is spending $1 million on digital ads attacking Biden over his statement.   

Trump, RNC question location of national convention

Following a series of tweets from Trump regarding the possibility of moving the Republican National Convention away from Charlotte, North Carolina, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “We all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the immense preparations that are involved and we look forward to working with Gov. Cooper, getting a swift response, and if need be moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there.”  

According to Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, other states have offered to host the convention. McDaniel said, “The president is right to say to the governor, you need to assure us before we lock in all these hotel rooms and we bring all of this revenue to your state that you’re going to let us have this convention. … There’s a lot of states that are calling the president right now saying, hey, why don’t you bring that revenue to our state?”

On Thursday, RNC leaders sent North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) an outline of their planned safety precautions for the convention. The letter said, “If there are any additional guidelines to what is outlined above that we will be expected to meet, you need to let us know by Wednesday, June 3.” 

Coming up: Seven states and D.C. to hold presidential primaries Tuesday

Seven states and the District of Columbia are holding presidential primaries on Tuesday, June 2: Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. Four of the states rescheduled their primaries to June 2 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. One state—New Jersey—moved its primary from June 2 to July 7. Across the Democratic primaries, 479 pledged delegates are available to be allocated on June 2, which is 12% of all pledged delegates available. Only Super Tuesday, held on March 3, had more delegates at stake on one day. 

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Cole Blocker is a Republican staffer with experience in fundraising and campaign finance. Blocker graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in management science and operations research.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, aide to vice chairman for finance Woody Johnson
  • 2016 Jeb Bush presidential campaign, aide to national finance chairman Woody Johnson

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: White House Visitors Office, deputy director
  • 2015-2017: Grigsby Applegate, LLC, project consultant

What we read this week

Flashback: May 26-29, 2016

  • May 29, 2016: Trump gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial to participants in the Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. He said, “When you think of the great General Patton and all our generals, they are spinning in their graves when they watch we can’t beat ISIS. … We are going to knock the hell out of them.”
  • May 28, 2016: Bernie Sanders said in an interview on Meet the Press that if Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, she would need to pick a progressive running mate who could “excite working families, excite young people, bring them into the political process, create a large voter turnout.”
  • May 27, 2016: After telling Jimmy Kimmel that he would debate Sanders if ABC made a donation to charity, Trump issued the following statement: “[N]ow that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. … Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders – and it would be an easy payday – I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
  • May 26, 2016: In an ABC News interview following a State Department report on her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Clinton said, “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. … But it was still a mistake. And as I’ve said many times, if I could go back, I would do it differently. I know people have concerns about this, I understand that, but I think voters are going to be looking at the full picture of what I have to offer … and the full threat that Donald Trump offers our country.”


All of Virginia now operating under Phase One of reopening plan

On May 29, Northern Virginia, as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan, leaving no part of the state under a stay-at-home order.

The stay-at-home order ended for parts of the state on May 15, but Gov. Ralph Northam (D) delayed Northern Virginia’s entry into Phase One to give the region more time to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases. Northam also delayed the implementation of Phase One for Richmond and Accomack County after leaders requested more time to prepare for reopening.

Phase One eases restrictions on several types of businesses. Non-essential retail, for example, can reopen at 50% capacity, and restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating permits can allow 50% seating capacity outdoors. Gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Beginning May 29, face coverings are required in public indoor settings for people 10 years and older.

Stay-at-home orders have ended in 31 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 13 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 12 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 11 have Democratic governors.



Biden will give keynote address at Minn. DFL convention Sunday

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

May 29, 2020: Biden is scheduled to give the keynote address at Minnesota’s DFL convention on Sunday. Republican National Committee leaders asked North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for a response on expectations for the Republican National Convention by June 3.

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer SpotlightBallotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing, Staffer Spotlight - Cole Blocker

Cole Blocker is a Republican staffer with experience in fundraising and campaign finance. Blocker graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in management science and operations research.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, aide to vice chairman for finance Woody Johnson
  • 2016 Jeb Bush presidential campaign, aide to national finance chairman Woody Johnson

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: White House Visitors Office, deputy director
  • 2015-2017: Grigsby Applegate, LLC, project consultant

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Just about every poll we’ve seen on this issue demonstrates bipartisan support for expanding vote-by-mail systems and offering Americans safe voting options this year. If rejecting vote-by-mail is part of a Republican strategy to win in November, it’s a short-sighted one. Old-line opposition to voting reform is only alienating GOP voters at a time when many Republican Senate candidates are lagging behind Democrats in fundraising and polling. The same Hart Research Associates poll showed that 40 percent of Republicans would react unfavorably toward a GOP senator who opposed diversifying options for voting. The data are clear: Voters of both parties don’t want their access to the ballot to be limited. My party should listen to the voters.”

Michael SteeleNational Review

“The Democratic Party is pushing mail-in voting as the safest way to cast ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the party is struggling to persuade a bedrock constituency: African Americans. … During the most recent national elections, the 2018 congressional midterms, only about 11% of black voters cast their ballots by mail, according to Census figures. That’s the lowest percentage of any measured ethnic group, and it’s just under half the rate of white voters. There are a variety of reasons. For African Americans such as Fason, striding to the polls is a powerful act, both symbolic and substantive. Some black voters fear their mail ballots might get lost or rejected. African Americans are more transient than other racial groups and have high rates of homelessness, government statistics show, major barriers to mail voting.”

John WhitesidesReuters


Election Updates

  • U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Whoopi Goldberg hosted a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden that featured performances by musicians Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, Jimmy Buffett, Joe Walsh, and David Crosby.
  • Biden appeared in a Washington Post TikTok video skit encouraging people to wear masks.
  • Biden is scheduled to give a virtual keynote address at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s convention on Sunday.
  • The new organization Republican Voters Against Trump is spending $10 million on an ad campaign attempting to persuade Republican voters to vote for Biden.
  • Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, issued a statement on Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship.” Parscale said, “We have known for a long time that social media companies have it in for conservatives in general and President Trump specifically. … Since social media companies have not appropriately self-regulated to stop the bias on their own, President Trump has stepped in to make sure Silicon Valley is held accountable for trying to manipulate the American people.”
  • The Trump Make America Great Again Committee is running digital ads on Facebook picturing Joe Biden wearing a mask in front of a Chinese flag and Trump not wearing a mask in front of an American flag.
  • Republican National Committee leaders sent North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) an outline of their planned safety precautions for the Republican National Convention. The letter said, “If there are any additional guidelines to what is outlined above that we will be expected to meet, you need to let us know by Wednesday, June 3.”

What We’re Reading


Flashback: May 29, 2016

Trump gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial to participants in the Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. He said, “When you think of the great General Patton and all our generals, they are spinning in their graves when they watch we can’t beat ISIS. … We are going to knock the hell out of them.”

Click here to learn more.



Candidate filing period for state executive and legislative races ends in Vermont and Wyoming

The filing deadlines to run for state-level offices in Vermont and Wyoming have passed. Vermont’s deadline was on May 28, and Wyoming’s deadline was on May 29.

In Vermont, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Secretary of State
• Auditor
• Attorney General
• Treasurer
• Vermont State Senate (30 seats)
• Vermont House of Representatives (150 seats)

In Wyoming, prospective candidates filed for the following state legislative offices:
• Wyoming State Senate (15 seats)
• Wyoming House of Representatives (60 seats)

Wyoming is also holding retention elections for two state Supreme Court justices on November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s primary is scheduled for August 11, and Wyoming’s primary is scheduled for August 18. The general elections in both states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont’s statewide filing deadline was the 39th and Wyoming’s deadline was the 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Wyoming has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Vermont has a divided government where no party holds a trifecta.

Additional reading:



Filing period ends for congressional offices in Vermont, Wyoming

The major-party filing deadlines to run for elected office in Vermont and Wyoming passed on May 28 and May 29.

Candidates in Vermont filed for the state’s At-Large Congressional District seat.

Candidates in Wyoming filed for the following offices:
  • U.S. Senate (one seat)
  • Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District (one seat)

U.S. Senate incumbent Mike Enzi (R) announced on May 4, 2019, that he would retire in the fall of 2020.

The primary in Vermont is scheduled for August 11, and the primary in Wyoming is scheduled for August 18. The general election in both states is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Vermont and Wyoming’s major-party congressional filing deadlines were the 39th and 40th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next major-party congressional filing deadlines are on June 1 in Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.

Entering the 2020 election, the Democratic Party holds the At-Large Congressional District seat from Vermont, and the Republican Party holds the U.S. Senate and At-Large Congressional District seats from Wyoming.

The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 233 Democrats, 196 Republicans, and one Libertarian. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Additional reading:


Arizona schools set to reopen in the fall

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools in the state would reopen for in-person instruction in the fall. No firm start date was provided, but Ducey said the state would release guidelines for schools on June 1. Schools in the state have been closed to in-person instruction since March 15.

Forty-eight states were closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.



The League of Women Voters of Michigan sues Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) over implementation of Proposal 3’s absentee ballot provision

The League of Women Voters of Michigan sues Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) over implementation of Proposal 3’s absentee ballot provision

In 2018, voters approved Michigan Proposal 3, a citizen-initiated measure that added no-excuse absentee voting to the Michigan Constitution. Before Proposal 3, statute required an excuse related to age, travel, religion, arraignment or trial, or election duties to obtain an absentee ballot. The League of Women Voters of Michigan (LWV), along with state chapters of the ACLU and NAACP, sponsored the proposal.

On May 22, 2020, the LWV sued Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) in the Michigan Court of Appeals over the implementation of Proposal 3’s absentee ballot provision.

Proposal 3 (Article II, Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution) states that electors have a right to vote an absentee ballot in person or via mail during the 40 days before an election. Existing statute says that mail-in absentee ballots need to be received by elections clerks before polls close (at 8 p.m.) on election day to be counted. According to LWV, Proposal 3 rendered the statute unconstitutional.

The lawsuit stated, “For instance, a voter who mails her completed ballot the day before election day will have her ballot rejected if it arrives at the clerk’s office two days later. The received-by deadline thus facially denies voters their express constitutional right ‘to choose’ to submit their absentee ballots ‘by mail’ at any time within 40 days of election day.”

Proposal 3 stated that the constitutional amendment was self-executing and “shall be liberally construed in favor of voters’ rights in order to effectuate its purposes.” In the lawsuit, LWV asked the court to order Secretary Benson to direct local election clerks to count mail-in absentee ballots that were postmarked by election day.

On May 22, a spokesperson for the secretary of state said that the office had no immediate comment while the lawsuit was being reviewed.

Along with creating a state constitutional right to vote by absentee ballot, Proposal 3 established constitutional rights to straight-ticket voting, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and the auditing of election results.

Additional reading:



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