Previewing the Nov. 5 elections in Virginia & Colorado

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, October 28, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Virginia voters to select all 140 state legislators Nov. 5
  2. Voters to decide two statewide ballot measures in Colorado
  3. Seven states have filing deadlines for 2020 candidates before the end of 2019

Virginia voters to select all 140 state legislators Nov. 5

We’re continuing to preview some of the key elections that voters will decide on November 5. The entire Virginia state legislature—40 state Senate and 100 House of Delegates seats—is up for election. Republicans currently hold two-seat majorities in each chamber. 

These are the last elections in Virginia before the state government redraws congressional and state legislative districts after the 2020 Census. If Democrats win control of both chambers, they will have a trifecta and full control of Virginia’s government during redistricting. If Republicans retain a majority in at least one chamber, Virginia will remain under divided government. District boundaries drawn by the legislature are subject to veto by Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The 2019 House of Delegates elections will be the first ones conducted using a remedial map after a federal district court ruled in June 2018 that 11 state legislative districts were an illegal racial gerrymander. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that decision—in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill—in June 2019. The state Senate elections will be held using district boundaries enacted in April 2011. Those maps were approved at that time by the state Senate 32-5 and signed into law by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R).

Republicans have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate. Ballotpedia has designated seven races as battleground elections. Of those, one is currently held by a Democrat and six by Republicans. Northam won 25 of the 40 senate districts during his 2017 gubernatorial election.

Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority in the state House. Democrats flipped 15 seats in the 2017 elections—their largest gains in the chamber since 1899. Ballotpedia has identified 27 battleground races—11 seats held by Democrats and 16 by Republicans.  

Twenty-five districts were affected by the redrawing—nine Republican-held seats and 16 Democratic-held seats. Using the 2016 presidential election, the House of Delegates map went from one where 51 districts voted for Hillary Clinton (D) and 49 districts voted for Donald Trump (R) to one where 56 districts voted for Clinton and 44 districts voted for Trump. 

Virginia does not allow no-excuse absentee voting or in-person early voting. Voters are required to present photo identification at the polls on Election Day.

Voters to decide two statewide ballot measures in Colorado

Voters in Colorado will decide two statewide ballot measures—Proposition CC and Proposition DD—on Nov. 5. Both are legislatively referred state statutes. In addition, a variety of local ballot measures will appear on municipal ballots.  

Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education. The state is currently required to refund the revenue under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The legislation which placed the measure on the ballot was approved by the state House along party lines with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans opposed. It passed by a 20-15 vote in the state Senate with all Democrats and one Republican voting to approve it and all votes against coming from Republicans. 

Proposition DD would authorize sports betting in Colorado and authorize the legislature to levy a tax of 10% on those conducting sports betting operations. Revenue generated from the tax on sports betting would be used to create and fund the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund. It was placed on the ballot after passing the state House by a vote of 58-6 and the state Senate by a vote of 27-8.  

From 1995 through 2018, a total of 14 measures appeared on statewide ballots during odd-numbered years in Colorado. During this time, the approval rate for all measures was 41%.

Colorado uses a vote-by-mail system, meaning ballots are sent to voters through the mail and most are returned by mail, at designated drop boxes, or in person at designated locations. Ballots must be received by county clerks by 7:00 pm on Election Day. Coloradans may also cast ballots and register to vote in person at voter service and polling centers. Each county will have at least one such center open from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5—except for Sunday, Nov. 3.

In addition to ballot measures, we’re covering the following local elections taking place in Colorado (note: this isn’t a complete list of elections in the state):

  • general elections for mayor and five of 10 city council seats in Aurora

  • elections for 47 seats on 16 school boards that are among the 200 largest school districts in the nation or that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population

  • A recall election of the president of the Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 school board

Seven states have filing deadlines for 2020 candidates before the end of 2019

The 2020 general election may be more than a year away—on November 3, 2020—but some states have their filing deadlines for congressional candidates in upcoming weeks. The following seven states have candidate filing deadlines before the end of 2019: 

  • Alabama: November 8

  • Arkansas: November 12

  • Illinois: December 2

  • California: December 6

  • Texas: December 9

  • Ohio: December 18

  • North Carolina: December 20

The remaining 43 states all have candidate filing deadlines in 2020. 

During the last presidential election cycle in 2016, five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, and Ohio—had candidate filing deadlines the year before the election. Both California and North Carolina moved their statewide primaries from June to March in 2020. 

As each filing deadline passes, we’ll provide updates on noteworthy candidate filings and possible battleground races. Click the link below for a chart showing all primary dates and candidate filing deadlines for the 2020 elections.