The 12 Days of Ballotpedia are here!

Welcome to the Monday, December 13, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. The 12 Days of Ballotpedia are upon us!
  2. Maryland enacts new congressional map
  3. All local ballot measures Ballotpedia covered on Nov. 2 have been decided

Welcome to the 12 Days of Ballotpedia!

Happy holidays! We’re excited to welcome you to the 12 Days of Ballotpedia! 

Each day we will celebrate a different part of Ballotpedia’s mission to showcase how our work to educate people about politics and policy- without the spin- helps strengthen our democracy. We love what we do…but we need your help to make it all possible. That’s why we’re counting on you to help us raise $100,000 between now and the end of the year so we can keep providing the news, research, and insights people depend on us to deliver in 2022.

We hope this display of our work will inspire you to support us before the year’s end so that we can continue to produce this information for all who seek it. Be sure to check out our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages to see the daily features through Dec. 25!

P.S. Did you know a temporary tax rule expiring at the end of the year allows for increased deductions for charitable contributions to nonprofits? Click here to make your tax-deductible contribution.  

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Maryland General Assembly overrides governor’s veto of new congressional district map 

On Dec. 9, Maryland enacted its new congressional district map after both chambers of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of the plan. The House of Delegates voted 96-41 to override the veto, while the Senate voted 32-14 to do the same.

Maryland is one of 24 states where one party has a veto-proof majority in both chambers, and one of four states—including Kansas, Kentucky, and Massachusetts—where one party has a veto-proof majority in the legislature and the other party holds the governor’s office. Although all state constitutions empower the legislature to override gubernatorial vetoes, the vote threshold varies by state. Maryland is one of seven states that requires a three-fifths vote in both chambers. 

The Maryland General Assembly approved the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission’s map and rejected the proposal from Hogan’s Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission. The House of Delegates passed the redistricting plan on Dec. 7, 97-42, with all ‘yes’ votes coming from Democrats and 41 Republicans and 1 Democrat voting ‘no.’ The state Senate approved the congressional map, 32-15, on Dec. 8 in a party-line vote. Hogan vetoed the plan on Dec. 9. 

According to David Collins of WBAL-TV, “The map allows Democrats to hold seven of the state’s eight congressional seats and the First District on the Eastern Shore, held by Republican Rep. Andy Harris, becomes more competitive.” 

After vetoing the General Assembly’s map, Hogan said: “The congressional map drawn in back rooms by party bosses in Annapolis makes a mockery of our democracy, and it is an embarrassment to all that our state stands for. On behalf of all the people of Maryland who value fairness and integrity in our elections and in our political system, I am vetoing these disgracefully gerrymandered, illegal maps, which are a shameful violation of state and federal law.” 

Senate Majority Leader Nancy King (D) said, “Maryland’s geography is unique, and our population is varied. Taking all that into consideration, I am confident that this map is a fair one, and one that reflects the lived experience of Marylanders.”

As of Dec. 9, 19 states have adopted new congressional maps. One state’s legislature has approved congressional district maps that have not yet taken effect. Six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), and 24 states have not yet adopted new congressional maps. As of Dec. 9 in 2011, 27 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

So far, states have completed congressional redistricting for 165 of the 435 seats (37.9%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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With recount result in Colorado Springs complete, all Nov. 2 ballot measures called

On Dec. 6, the El Paso County, Colorado, Elections Department announced the conclusion of a recount on a Colorado Springs School District bond measure, Issue 4B. Issue 4B failed by 11 votes with 27,476 votes against and 27,465 votes in favor. It would have authorized the district to issue $350 million in bonds for school facility construction and capital improvements.

Issue 4B was the last measure to be called out of the 156 local ballot measures Ballotpedia covered in 18 different states on Nov. 2. Voters approved 109 measures and defeated 47.

Highlights from the local ballot measure results on Nov. 2 include:

  • Voters in Austin, Texas, defeated an initiative to establish minimum police staffing requirements resulting in the city having to hire additional police officers. The initiative would have required additional police officer training and created certain police hiring guidelines and incentives.
  • Voters in Minneapolis defeated an initiative to replace the city police department with a department of public safety.
  • Voters in Cleveland approved an initiative to make changes related to police oversight, discipline, and policies.
  • Voters in Albany, New York, approved a measure giving the existing Community Police Review Board more authority over investigation and oversight over complaints against police.
  • Voters in Detroit, Michigan, approved a measure to create a city reparations committee tasked with making recommendations for housing and economic development programs for Black Detroit residents.
  • Voters in Tucson, Arizona, approved a $15 per hour minimum wage initiative.
  • Voters in Broomfield, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Westbrook, Maine, approved measures to enact ranked-choice voting.

On Dec. 17, Ballotpedia will publish its year-end analysis of all 2021 local ballot measures in the top 100 largest cities and state capitals. This includes local measures that were on the ballot for more than 20 pre-November election dates. Notable topics among local measures this year included:

  • police oversight, budgets, structure, practices, and collective bargaining;
  • race and ethnicity;
  • minimum wage;
  • election policies, including ranked-choice voting and campaign finance;
  • public camping bans; and
  • bonds and taxes.

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