City and state responses to Halloween during the pandemic

Welcome to the Friday, October 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 37 states, 70 cities release guidance on celebrating Halloween
  2. Candidate Connection spotlight
  3. Explore Delaware elections
  4. Explore Louisiana elections

37 states, 70 cities release guidance on celebrating Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween. Like most things in 2020, trick-or-treating is expected to take place differently. Thirty-seven states have issued specific guidance on celebrating Halloween amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance on how to safely celebrate Halloween during the pandemic. The CDC recommended avoiding high-risk activities, including traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, attending indoor costume parties, visiting indoor haunted houses, and going on hayrides or tractor rides with large groups of people.

For those who decide to go treating, the CDC provided the following guidelines to make trick-or-treating safer, including:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • Wear a mask.

As of October 28, one of the top 100 U.S. cities by population—El Paso, Texas—banned traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating. Seventy of the largest 100 cities have issued specific guidance on celebrating Halloween during the pandemic.

We’ve compiled those specific state and local Halloween safety guidelines, which you can view by clicking the link below. Celebrate safely!

Learn more

Candidate Connection spotlight 

Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey asks people who are running for office questions about what they stand for, what’s important to them, and what they want to do if elected. We designed it to help voters gain insights about their candidates as people and learn how each feels about various topics.

We invite all candidates with a profile on Ballotpedia to complete our survey. On Fridays, we’ve included selected responses we’ve received this cycle to certain questions.

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

Our last look of the cycle is: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about? We received 4,686 responses, and here are some selected ones:

“I am most passionate about ensuring our nation’s heroes receive the care and benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice. I am passionate about improving Americans’ access to quality, affordable healthcare and mental health treatments. Additionally, I believe individual constituent service is one of the most important services an elected official can provide. The federal government is a massive operation, and my office is always available to help my constituents navigate the bureaucracy and cut through red tape.”

Gus Bilirakis, Republican candidate for Florida’s 12th Congressional District

“As a former mayor there are very few areas of public policy issues that don’t interest me. I am most interested in rural economic development, healthcare and public health policy, infrastructure policy, especially high speed Internet, historic preservation and affordable housing policy, environmental stewardship, agriculture policy, Veterans Administration policies, and transportation policies.”

Carolyn Salter, Democratic candidate for Texas’ 5th Congressional District

“I am passionate about having stakeholders of urban, suburban, and rural communities be included in the future of Georgia.  Georgia has a bright future – the question becomes who’s going to be included in that future, and who’s going to be left behind.”

Elbert Bartell, independent candidate running for the U.S. Senate from Georgia

Learn more

Explore Delaware elections

Today is the last day of our 50 States in 25 Days series, and we end with the First State—Delaware—and the Bayou State—Louisiana. We hope these previews gave you insight into the elections in your state, or those of friends and family members across the country.  If you want to catch up on any days you missed, here are the links to all the states we covered: 

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, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin

Week Five: Connecticut, Minnesota, Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island 

On the ballot in Delaware

At the federal level, Delaware voters will elect three presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and one U.S. Representative. The state executive offices up for election are governor, lieutenant governor, and insurance commissioner. Both chambers of the state legislature are on the ballot, as 11 out of 21 seats in the state Senate and all 41 state House districts are up for election.

Partisan balance

  • In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 53% to 42%. Democratic candidates have won Delaware in each of the last seven presidential elections. The last Republican candidate to win Delaware was George H. W. Bush in 1988.
  • Delaware has one Pivot County. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012, then voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Delaware’s U.S. Senators are Democrats.
  • Delaware’s one representative to the U.S. House is a Democrat.
  • Delaware’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are Democrats. This makes Delaware one of 17 states with a Democratic triplex. It has held this status since 2005.
  • Democrats have a 12-9 majority in the state Senate and a 26-15 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Democrat, Delaware is one of 15 states with a Democratic trifecta. It has held this status since 2009 when Democrats took control of the state House.

Ballot measures

There are no statewide ballot measures in Delaware in 2020.

Voting

  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. John Carney (D) signed HB346 into law, providing for the state election commission to deliver an absentee/mail-in ballot application to every qualified voter in the 2020 primary, general, and special elections.
  • Delaware does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their absentee/mail-in ballots 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 3.7% of all votes cast in Delaware.
  • Delaware law allows election workers to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots on Oct. 30.
  • Delaware requires all voters to present non-photo identification at the polls. For more information about voter ID requirements in Delaware, click here
  • In Delaware, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Delaware is in the Eastern time zone. 

Learn More

Explore Louisiana elections

On the ballot in Louisiana

At the federal level, Louisiana voters will elect eight presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and six U.S. Representatives. Two out of five seats are up for election on the state public service commission. Two seats are up on the state supreme court—one for regular election and one for special election—and 13 seats are up on the intermediate appellate courts. Voters will decide on eight statewide ballot measures. Ballotpedia is also tracking local elections in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and two school districts. 

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 58% to 38% in Louisiana. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win the state in a presidential election in 1996.
  • Louisiana is one of 16 states without a Pivot County. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Louisiana’s U.S. Senators—Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy—are Republicans.
  • Republicans represent five of the state’s U.S. House districts, and Democrats represent one.
  • Louisiana’s governor is a Democrat, while its attorney general and secretary of state are Republicans. This makes Louisiana one of 14 states without a state government triplex.
  • Republicans have a 27-12 majority in the state Senate and a 68-35 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Democrat, Louisiana is one of 14 states without a state government trifecta.

Ballot measures

  • Louisiana voters will decide seven statewide measures on Nov. 3. They will also decide one statewide measure on Dec. 5. The Louisiana Legislature referred all eight measures to the ballot.
  • Amendment 1 would say there is no right to abortion or abortion funding in the state constitution.

Voting

  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge ordered Louisiana election officials to make available to voters in the Nov. 3 election the same Covid-19 absentee/mail-in ballot application used in the state’s summer elections. This application offers Covid-19 reasons for requesting a ballot.
  • Louisiana does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their ballots in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 2. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 2.7% of all votes cast in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana law does not specify when election workers can begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots.
  • Louisiana requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about voter ID requirements in Louisiana, click here
  • Early voting opened on Oct. 16 and closed on Oct. 27. 
  • In Louisiana, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Louisiana is in the Central time zone. 

Learn more




About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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