Welcome to the Friday, March 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states
- 2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6
- Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years
All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states
Note: In some states, vaccine eligibility varies by county. The data in the map above shows the loosest restrictions in each state and may not reflect statewide accessibility.
When we kicked off our weekly Brew update on coronavirus vaccine eligibility last week, all residents 16 and older were eligible for a vaccine in two states: Alaska and Mississippi. Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, and West Virginia have joined that list for a total of seven states. Here’s where things stood as of Thursday, March 25.
At least one county in each state allowed the following age groups to receive a vaccine:
- 13 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 16+
- Two states allowed vaccinations for anyone 18+
- Five states allowed vaccinations for anyone 40+ or 45+
- 10 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 50+ or 55+
- Twenty states and Washington, D.C. allowed vaccinations for anyone 60+ or 65+
The seven states allowing everyone 16+ to get a vaccine have Republican governors.
- On March 25, all Georgia residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Previously, the state limited vaccinations to people 55 and older, essential workers, and people with underlying health conditions. Georgia is the seventh state to allow vaccinations for anyone over the age of 16 statewide.
- On March 24, all Utah residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Residents aged 50 and older have been eligible since March 4.
- State-operated vaccination sites in Arizona also started administering vaccines to residents 16 and older on March 24. Previously, people 55 and older could make appointments at state sites.
- On March 22, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) authorized healthcare providers to allow people 16 and older to register for a vaccine when appointments are available. Previously, people 16 and older were scheduled to become eligible on March 29. Residents 40 and older became eligible for vaccination on March 19.
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced people 16 and older were eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 22. Previously, state-defined essential workers, people with certain comorbidities, and everyone 50 and older were eligible for vaccinations.
Governors and state health officials in the following states announced residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on the following dates:
- Louisiana: March 29
- Oklahoma: March 29
- Texas: March 29
- Indiana: March 31
- Florida: April 5
- Idaho: April 5
- Tennessee: April 5
- Illinois: April 12
- Maine: April 19
- Vermont: April 19
- Maryland: April 27
- Oregon: May 1
- Washington: May 1
Vaccine eligibility is changing rapidly across the country. Our daily newsletter Documenting America’s Path to Recovery delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.
2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6
Wisconsin holds an election for state superintendent of public instruction on April 6. Wisconsin is the only state to hold odd-year elections for the office. Here’s a little background about that race.
Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly are running in the April 6 race. Underly and Kerr advanced from the Feb. 16 primary with 27.3% and 26.5% of the vote, respectively. Kerr is a former school district superintendent, and Underly is a current school district superintendent.
In her own words, Kerr said she is a “pragmatic Democrat with conservative values.” She has endorsements from several local school board members and state Sen. Alberta Darling (R). Underly’s endorsers include two former Wisconsin state superintendents, four Democratic members of Congress, and 25 Democratic members of the state legislature. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), who served as superintendent from 2009 to 2019, has not endorsed in the race.
Kerr supports publicly funded school vouchers and reopening schools statewide. Underly opposes publicly funded school vouchers and supports allowing local school districts to decide when they reopen.
Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, whom Evers appointed as his replacement, did not run for a full term.
The primary had the second-highest turnout for state superintendent primaries in the past 20 years—326,074 people voted in the 2021 primary, compared to 368,096 people in 2017. In the February 2020 state supreme court election, 705,138 people voted. Click here for turnout data for state supreme court elections from 2000-2019.
The position of superintendent is elected in 12 states and appointed in the remaining 38. It is a nonpartisan position in 42 states. Eight of the 12 states where the office is elected hold partisan elections.
Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years
On April 6, local school districts in Oklahoma will hold general elections. Elections were scheduled for 35 seats across 26 school districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope this year, but 17 of those seats will not be on the ballot due to lack of opposition. The 48.6% unopposed rate is the lowest since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure in 2014.
From 2014-2020, 67.6% of Oklahoma school board races were canceled. The 48.6% in 2021 is 19 percentage points lower.
Across eight years of tracking, the highest unopposed rate for Oklahoma school board elections occurred in 2015, when 85.7% of races had an unopposed candidate. The chart below shows unopposed rates from 2014 to 2021.
For races that had more than two candidates file, primary elections were held Feb. 9. Candidates were able to win the primary outright if they received more than 50% of the vote.
Fourteen districts will hold a general election on April 6. These 14 districts served a total of 190,878 students during the 2016-17 school year:
• Crooked Oak
• Deer Creek
• Oklahoma City
• Western Heights
Eight other states besides Oklahoma are holding local and special state legislative elections on April 6: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. See our elections calendar for a list of elections within our coverage scope and links to more information.