Political junkie alert! Explore our candidate surveys

Welcome to the Friday, October 23, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Introducing a new way to explore our candidate survey responses
  2. Candidate Connection spotlight
  3. Explore Vermont elections
  4. Explore Wisconsin elections

Introducing a new way to explore our candidate survey responses

Political junkies, prepare to take a trip down the rabbit hole of political survey replies. 

We’ve developed a new page the truly devoted can use to go way off the map—enabling you to explore candidates, issues, personalities, and more in a new, different, exciting way.

The tool is called Candidate Questions, and with it you can view a sampling of 50 randomized answers to each of the 16 questions in our Candidate Connection survey. This way, you can browse what candidates are saying about topics that interest you and click on each candidate’s full response to read more.

For example, do you want to see what our respondents said was their favorite book? Using this, you can read answers to just that question. Want a cross-section of those issues candidates identify as their policy priorities? You can do that, too.

You can quickly and easily flip through the more than 4,500 candidate survey replies we’ve received this cycle, question-by-question, like you were looking through a book or magazine. We think it’s the most comprehensive catalog of its kind—and just the thing for people that love politics. 

Ready to dive in? Click the link below and get started!

Learn more

Candidate Connection spotlight 

If I didn’t grab your attention above about candidate surveys, perhaps this section will pique your curiosity. Each Friday, we’ve been including selected responses we’ve received this cycle to questions from our Candidate Connection survey, which we invite all candidates with a profile on Ballotpedia to complete. 

Here’s a look at the last three survey questions we’ve highlighted:

This week’s question is: What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office? We received 1,903 responses so far, and here are some selected ones:

“According to the constitution, the most important job of the legislature is to pass the yearly budget. Nothing else happens without that. But aside from that, the job of the legislature needs to be to set the ground rules and create structures to hold people accountable so that the private sector can thrive and drive our state forward.”

-Robert Myers Jr., Republican candidate for District B of the Alaska State Senate

“I believe the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office is for the person to listen to each and every constituent across the district regardless of political affiliation. After hearing the information, research the problem and solution and begin to hear others opinions on the concern. If this is deemed an issue by a majority of the constituents, the official should fight for what the people are asking for. The official’s responsibility is to fight for the people and be their voice at the statehouse.”

-Jermaine Johnson, Democratic candidate for District 80 of the South Carolina House of Representatives

“The Nevada Supreme Court hears and decides appeals involving every area of law that touches the lives of Nevadans – criminal, civil, family, employment, administrative, constitutional, environmental and water law. The appellate issues are processed through the evidentiary and procedural rules that control jury and bench trials and motion practice in district court. A justice’s core responsibility is to know and apply the law competently and fairly.”

-Kris Pickering is a nonpartisan judge running for retention on the Nevada Supreme Court

If you know of a candidate who hasn’t yet responded to our survey, send them this link and ask them to complete it. We’ll include their responses on their profile so we can all learn more about them. 

Learn more 

Explore Vermont elections

We’re finishing up our fourth week of election previews with a look at Vermont and Wisconsin. (Why am I suddenly craving dairy products?) There are just 10 states remaining in our 50 States in 25 Days series, which will conclude next week. If you missed a day, here are the states we’ve highlighted so far, along with a map summarizing where we are in the series:

Week One: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and Oregon

Week Two: Montana, New Mexico, Iowa, South Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, and South Carolina

Week Three: North Dakota, West Virginia, Georgia, New York, Kentucky, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, New Jersey, and Oklahoma

Week Four: Maine, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Washington, Hawaii, and Tennessee

On the ballot in Vermont

At the federal level, Vermont voters will elect three presidential electors and one U.S. Representative. At the state level, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, attorney general, and treasurer are up for election, along with 30 state Senate seats and 150 state House districts. 

Partisan balance

  • In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump, 57% to 30%. The Democratic presidential candidate won Vermont in every election between 1992 and 2016. George H.W. Bush was the last Republican nominee to win the state in 1988. 
  • Vermont has one Pivot County, which are counties that voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012, and Trump in 2016. 
  • Vermont’s senior U.S. Senator, Patrick Leahy, is a Democrat. Its junior Senator, Bernie Sanders, is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
  • Vermont’s Representative in the U.S. House, Peter Welch, is a Democrat.
  • Vermont’s governor is a Republican, and its attorney general and secretary of state are Democrats. This makes Vermont one of 14 states with divided triplex control. It has held this status since 2017.
  • Democrats have a majority in the state Senate, with 22 members to Republicans’ six and the Vermont Progressive Party’s two. Democrats have a majority in the state House, with 93 members to Republicans’ 43, the Progressive Party’s seven, and five independents. Because the governor is Republican, Vermont is one of 14 states with divided trifecta control. It has held this status since Phil Scott (R) became governor in 2017.

Battleground races

There is one battleground election in Vermont in 2020:

  • Governor of Vermont: Incumbent Phil Scott (R), Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D/Vermont Progressive Party), and six independent and third-party candidates are running. Vermont is one of three states (along with North Carolina and Louisiana) with a governor and lieutenant governor from different parties. It is one of four states that both voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has a Republican governor. 

Ballot measures

  • There are no statewide measures in Vermont on Nov. 3.


  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) issued a directive requiring that mail-in ballots be sent automatically to every active registered voter in the Nov. 3 election.
  • Witnesses or notaries are not required to sign mail-in ballot return documents in Vermont.  
  • Mail-in ballots can be returned in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, mail-in ballots represented 9.7% of all ballots cast in Vermont.
  • Vermont law allows election officials to load mail-in ballots into a tabulator on Nov. 2. The machine cannot be turned on—and the votes cannot be tabulated—until Nov. 3.
  • Vermont does not require all voters to present identification at the polls. 
  • Early voting in Vermont began on Sept. 21 and ends on Nov. 2. 
  • In Vermont, polls open between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Election Day. Polls close at 7 p.m. Vermont is in the Eastern time zone. 

Learn more 

Explore Wisconsin elections

On the ballot in Wisconsin

At the federal level, Wisconsin voters will elect 10 presidential electors and eight U.S. Representatives. At the state level, 16 state Senate seats and 99 state House districts are up for election. Ballotpedia is tracking local elections taking place in Dane County and Milwaukee County as well as local ballot measures in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Partisan balance

  • In 2016, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 47.2% to 46.5% in Wisconsin. Trump was the first Republican to win the state since Ronald Reagan (R) in 1984.
  • Wisconsin had the second most Pivot Counties of any state, with 23 counties that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012.
  • Wisconsin’s senior U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson, is a Republican. Its junior Senator, Tammy Baldwin, is a Democrat.
  • Republicans represent five of Wisconsin’s U.S. House districts and Democrats represent three.
  • Wisconsin’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, meaning it is one of 17 states with a Democratic triplex. It has held this status since 2019 when Gov.Tony Evers (D) and Secretary of State Douglas J. La Follette (D) assumed office.
  • Republicans have an 18-13 majority in the state Senate and a 63-34 majority in the state Assembly. Because the governor is a Democrat, Wisconsin is one of 14 states with divided control. Republicans lost a trifecta in 2019 when Governor Tony Evers (D) assumed office.

Ballot measures

  • There are no statewide measures in Wisconsin on Nov. 3.


  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wisconsin Election Commission voted unanimously to send absentee/mail-in ballot applications automatically to eligible voters.
  • Witnesses or notaries are not required to sign a voter’s absentee/mail-in ballot return documents in Wisconsin.  
  • Absentee/mail-in ballots can be returned in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 5.5% of all ballots cast in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin law allows election officials to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots after polls close on Election Day.
  • Wisconsin requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about Wisconsin’s voter ID requirements, click here
  • Early voting in Wisconsin opens on Oct. 20 and ends on Nov. 1. 
  • In Wisconsin, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Wisconsin is in the Central time zone. 

Learn more