Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: 12 states + D.C. currently have travel restrictions

Happy early Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy the day, even if it looks a little different this year. We’ll be back with the next Brew edition on Monday, Nov. 30.

Welcome to the Tuesday, Nov. 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Traveling over Thanksgiving? Here are the states with restrictions on travel
  2. Expected census delays may postpone state redistricting efforts in 2021
  3. Upcoming elections

Traveling over Thanksgiving? Here are the states with restrictions on travel

Thanksgiving week is historically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. The CDC and many state officials are discouraging travel this year, citing the rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

Ballotpedia has tracked 12 states plus the District of Columbia that currently have active restrictions on travel:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Of the states on that list, Alaska was the first to impose travel restrictions. Pennsylvania, which issued its restrictions on Nov. 20, was the most recent to do so.

All 12 states plus the District of Columbia require out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Some states, including Alaska, Massachusetts, and New York, allow travelers to avoid or reduce the length of the quarantine period if they can produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Restriction enforcement includes fines ranging from $100 to $10,000.

Since the pandemic began, 26 states have issued restrictions on travel, and 14 have been rescinded.

Many states that have not issued enforceable orders limiting travel have instead issued advisories encouraging travelers to quarantine upon arrival. Click the link below for a list of all the states’ travel restrictions and advisories. And to stay up-to-date on travel restrictions and much more coronavirus-related news, click here to subscribe to our Documenting America’s Path to Recovery emails.

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Expected census delays may postpone state redistricting efforts in 2021

On Nov. 19, U.S. Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham announced an expected delay in processing population totals for the 2020 U.S. Census. On the same day, the New York Times reported that calculations could be delayed until at least Jan. 26, 2021, but possibly to mid-February. 

The standard census timeline calls for the bureau to submit apportionment counts to the President by Dec. 31 and redistricting data to the states by April 1, 2021. In the 2010 cycle, the bureau delivered apportion counts to the president on Dec. 21, 2010, and redistricting data to the states between Feb. 3 and March 24, 2011.

At least one state (California) has already extended its redistricting deadlines by order of the state supreme court, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the conclusion of the census. 

Federal law requires congressional and legislative districts to have roughly equal populations. Consequently, states use census data during their redistricting processes to ensure compliance with this requirement. 

Every 10 years, the United States conducts the census, a complete count of the U.S. population. Census results determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Because the U.S. Constitution requires that representation be apportioned to the states on the basis of population, a state can gain seats if its population grows or lose seats if its population decreases, relative to populations in other states.

In the 2010 cycle, redistricting authorities enacted 43 new congressional district maps and 50 new state legislative district maps (seven states had only one district each, eliminating the need for congressional redistricting). The majority—63 maps (31 congressional and 32 state legislative), or 67.74% of the total—were enacted in 2011. In 2012, 28 maps (12 congressional and 16 state legislative) were enacted—30.11% of the total. The remaining maps were enacted in the first six months of 2013.

Although postponements to the 2020 process are possible because of census delays, what happened in 2010 gives us an idea of when most of the redistricting activity will occur.

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Upcoming elections

Much of the country’s attention is focused on the Jan. 5 runoffs for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. But there are several elections occurring before then. Let’s take a look at the upcoming races:

  • Nov. 24: Mississippi is holding a special runoff election for state House District 87 and a general runoff election for DeSoto County School District.
  • Dec. 1: Arkansas will hold a general runoff for the Little Rock School District.
  • Dec. 1: Georgia will hold a runoff for state races, including a special election runoff for Georgia state Senate District 39.
  • Dec. 5: Louisiana’s statewide general election.
  • Texas will hold elections on multiple days in December:
    • Dec. 8: General runoff for Arlington, Mansfield ISD, and Dallas County
    • Dec. 12: General runoff for El Paso County, Laredo, and Houston City Council 
    • Dec. 15: General runoff for Austin and Corpus Christi
    • Dec. 19: Special election runoff for state Senate District 30
  • Dec. 15: Alabama will hold a special election primary runoff will be held for state Senate District 26.
  • Dec. 22: New York will hold a special election for City Council District 12.

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