Welcome to the Wednesday, March 16, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Louisiana enacts state legislative map, governor vetoes congressional map
- Alabama’s Secretary of State Republican primary
- Where we’re at with statewide filing deadlines
Louisiana enacts state legislative maps
We’re back with another redistricting update! Nationwide, redistricting has been completed for 369 of the 435 U.S. House seats (84.8%), 1,741 of 1,972 state Senate seats (88.3%) and 4,130 of 5,411 state House seats (76.3%). When we last checked in on redistricting on March 9, redistricting had been completed for 84.4% of U.S. House districts, 83.9% of state Senate seats, and 71.8% of state House seats.
The latest state to enact state legislative maps is Louisiana, which did so on March 14. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the Legislature’s proposed Congressional district map on March 9. Here’s what happened.
Edwards said part of the reason why he vetoed the congressional remap was because it “does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data. This map is simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.”
The Legislature approved the new map on Feb. 18. The congressional redistricting bill passed the state Senate, 27-10, strictly along party lines. The state House of Representatives approved it 64-31, with 61 Republicans, two independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and 27 Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent voting against.
According to The Advocate’s Blake Paterson, “Republicans passed…maps…that would maintain the status quo of a single majority-Black district and would all but guarantee Louisiana sends five Republicans and one Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives in the congressional midterms this fall.”
Edwards is the sixth governor —all in states with divided governments—to veto at least one redistricting map. Legislators overrode these vetoes in three states—Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland—and courts assumed control of the process in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Louisiana is one of six states—including Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina—that have not completed congressional redistricting.
The state enacted new state legislative district boundaries on March 14 when Edwards allowed Senate Bill 1—detailing the new state Senate boundaries—and House Bill 14—detailing the new state House boundaries—to take effect without his signature. Louisiana holds regular state executive and legislative elections in odd-numbered years, so these maps take effect for the 2023 elections.
Edwards said, “While neither the congressional or legislative maps passed by Louisiana’s Legislature do anything to increase the number of districts where minority voters can elect candidates of their choosing, I do not believe the Legislature has the ability to draw new state House and Senate maps during this upcoming legislative session without the process halting the important work of the state of Louisiana. At a time when we face unprecedented challenges, but have unprecedented opportunities to make historic investments in our future, the Legislature should be focused on the issues in the upcoming session and not concerned about what their own districts will look like in the 2023 elections.”
On Feb. 18, the legislative redistricting plan passed the state Senate, 25-11, with with all Republicans voting for it and 10 Democrats and one Republican voting against. The state House of Representatives approved the plan 82-2, with 68 Republicans, 12 Democrats, and two independents voting in favor and 20 Democrats and one independent voting against.
Louisiana is the second state in this redistricting cycle where maps have become law without the governor signing or vetoing them. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) took no action that state’s congressional map due to concerns with the legislature’s division of Pulaski County—the state’s most populous county—between three U.S. House districts. Arkansas’ congressional districts became law on Jan. 14, 90 days after the legislature passed them.
Election spotlight—Alabama’s Secretary of State Republican primary
This year, voters in 27 states will elect a secretary of state. The secretary of state is one of the top state executive offices, with responsibility for the management and oversight of elections and voter rolls, among other duties. Let’s take a look at one secretary of state primary election in Alabama.
Wes Allen, Christian Horn, Ed Packard, and Jim Zeigler are running in the Republican primary on May 24. Incumbent John Merrill (R), who was first elected in 2014, is term-limited.
Allen was a Pike County Probate Court judge and says he administered more than a dozen elections without error. Horn, a business owner, calls himself a conservative outsider. Packard worked in the Secretary of State office’s elections division for more than 24 years and says he knows the duties of the office. Zeigler, the state auditor, said he’d been a “watchman against government waste, mismanagement and corruption” and would be a watchman for election integrity in the Secretary of State office.
The candidates have each highlighted areas of election policy they would focus on. Allen has emphasized his opposition to what he calls mass mail, no-excuse absentee, early, and curbside voting and support for a photo ID requirement. Horn calls himself “a champion for Voter ID, integrity and security” and said he would work to promote the state’s election system to other states. Packard says the state needs post-election audits. Zeigler highlights his support for a photo ID requirement and opposition to same-day voter registration, allowing non-citizens to vote, efforts to extend the voting period, ballot drop boxes, and allowing people to return ballots on behalf of other voters.
Republicans have held the office since 2007.
The secretary of state is Alabama’s chief election official and certifies vote totals, ballots, and fundraising records. The secretary of state is also responsible for business registration and keeping the state government’s official documents and public records.
Across the country, Democrats control 20 secretary of state offices and Republicans control 27 of them. Neither Alaska, nor Hawaii, nor Utah have a secretary of state office. In 35 states, the voters directly elect the secretary of state. In the other 12, governor or the state legislature appoints the secretary.
Where we’re at with statewide filing deadlines
We’re halfway through March, which means we’re halfway through the busiest month of the year for statewide filing deadlines. Let’s take stock of where we are and what’s to come in the next few weeks.
There are 21 statewide filing deadlines in March, representing 40% of all filing deadlines this year. Since March 1, filing deadlines for candidates running for statewide offices passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio (U.S. House candidates only), North Carolina, Utah, Oregon, California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Colorado, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
With 14 March filing deadlines out of the way, that leaves seven remaining in the month and 23 remaining in the rest of the year. Here are the seven remaining filing deadlines in March:
A few weeks ago, Texas held the first statewide primaries of the 2022 election season. You can see those results here. The next statewide primaries are in May, when Ohio and Indiana will hold their primaries.
We’ll be following all these primaries as they unfold in our free Heart of the Primaries newsletters, delivered weekly on Thursdays. This pair of newsletters—one focusing on Democratic primaries and the other on Republican primaries—brings you the latest on policy differences between candidates, moves by political operatives, polling, and more. Click here for more and to sign up!