One week until these elections

By: Douglas Kronaizl

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

  1. One week until these elections
  2. Arkansas has its most contested state legislative primaries since at least 2014
  3. North Dakota group submits signatures for initiative to require a 60% vote requirement and single-subject rule for constitutional amendments

One week until these elections

The 2022 election cycle is rolling along with Indiana and Ohio set to hold their statewide primaries on May 3. They will join Texas, which had its primaries on March 3, as the first three states to hold primaries in 2022. Here’s a look at the races those voters will weigh in on:

In Indiana, voters will decide primaries for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and 125 of the state’s 150 legislative districts. This year, Indiana is also holding elections for secretary of state, treasurer, and auditor, but all three offices decide their nominees through conventions rather than partisan primaries.

At the federal level, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R) is seeking election to a second term. Neither Young nor his Democratic challenger, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr., have primary challengers. In the U.S. House, eight of the state’s nine representatives—two Democrats and six Republicans—are seeking re-election. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R) is retiring, leaving the 9th District open, with three Democrats and nine Republicans running in those primaries.

In Ohio, voters will decide primaries for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state executive offices, including the governorship. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R) is not seeking re-election, with three Democrats and seven Republicans running in primaries to replace him. All 15 U.S. House districts are also holding elections, a decrease from the 16 districts Ohio had before losing a district during the 2020 reapportionment cycle.

Ohio’s state legislative primaries were initially scheduled for May 3 but are being rescheduled due to ongoing legal challenges regarding the proposed redistricting maps. No primary date has yet been set.

On April 14, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the third set of maps approved by the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission and ordered the commission to submit new maps by May 6. On April 20, a federal judicial panel ruled that if the supreme court does not approve maps by May 28, the federal court would order an August 2 primary date using the third set of maps.

Ballotpedia is also covering several municipal primaries as well as special state legislative elections and recalls across four other states.

  • In Georgia, voters in state House District 45 will fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Matt Dollar (R) in a special runoff election. Dollar was first elected to the district, located north of Atlanta, in 2002 and resigned last February.
  • Boston voters will also fill a vacancy in City Council District 1, which Lydia Edwards (D) represented from 2018 until she assumed office in the Massachusetts State Senate last January.
  • Municipalities in Tennessee, including Nashville and Shelby County, will hold primary elections. School boards will also be holding their first partisan primaries after Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a law last year, allowing counties to switch the offices from nonpartisan to partisan positions.

You can stay informed on Election Day by using Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup and bringing your choices to the polls with our My Vote app! Use the link below to view these May 3 contests and other races we are covering this year.

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Arkansas has its most contested state legislative primaries since at least 2014

We are keeping you informed about competitive primary landscapes nationwide at the federal and state levels throughout this election cycle. Today, we are looking at Arkansas, which will have its most contested state legislative primaries since at least 2014.

From 2014 to 2020, the number of state legislative primaries in Arkansas with more than one candidate ranged from 21 to 27. This year, contested primaries rose to 62, representing 28% of all possible state legislative primaries.

The number of contested Republican primaries more than tripled from 2020, increasing from 16 to 52. The number of contested Democratic primaries doubled compared to the last cycle, from five to 10. These numbers represent the most contested primaries for each party since at least 2014.

Ballotpedia has gathered post-filing deadline information in 10 states holding partisan primaries this year that held elections in 2020. Of those 10, seven are Republican trifectas, two are Democratic trifectas, and one has a divided government. So far, the number of Democratic primaries in these states is down 11%, and the number of Republican primaries is up 75%.

Of those candidates involved in contested primaries, 29 are incumbents. That represents 28% of incumbents seeking re-election, the largest percentage since at least 2014. As a result of redistricting, two incumbents—Reps. Mark McElroy (R) and David Tollett (R)—were drawn into the same district, setting up the legislature’s only incumbent versus incumbent primary this year.

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Arkansas was March 1. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 100 House and 35 Senate districts.

Thirty-two of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed to run, the most since at least 2014. Newcomers are guaranteed to win in these 32 districts—24% of the state’s legislature.

Overall, 263 major party candidates filed to run this year: 74 Democrats and 189 Republicans. That’s 1.9 candidates per district, an increase from the 1.6 candidates per district in 2020 and 1.7 in 2018.

Arkansas has been a Republican trifecta since 2014, when Asa Hutchinson (R) won the governorship. Republicans currently hold a 78-22 majority in the House and a 27-7-1 majority in the Senate.

Arkansas’ state legislative primaries are scheduled for May 24, making them the 11th in the nation.

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North Dakota group submits signatures for initiative to require a 60% vote requirement and single-subject rule for constitutional amendments

On April 22, the campaign Protect North Dakota’s Constitution reported it had submitted 33,624 signatures for a ballot initiative that would require a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to adopt a constitutional amendment. Under the initiative, amendments would be limited to a single subject. These provisions would apply to both amendments placed on the ballot through citizen initiative petitions and those referred to the ballot by the state legislature.

At least 31,164 signatures must be deemed valid for the initiative to appear on the ballot. The secretary of state has 30 days to determine whether submitters met that threshold.

Every state except for Delaware requires voter approval in a statewide election to make amendments to the state constitution. As of 2021, 38 states require a simple majority vote (50%+1) for an amendment’s adoption. In 11 states, voters must approve a proposed constitutional amendment by more than a simple majority or some rule that combines different criteria.

A single-subject rule is a state law that requires ballot initiatives to address a single subject, topic, or issue. Twenty-six states provide for at least one type of statewide citizen-initiated measure. Of those 26 states, 16 have single-subject rules.

From 2000 to 2020, 35 constitutional amendments, both legislatively referred and citizen-initiated, were on the statewide ballot in North Dakota. Of those 35 amendments, voters approved 25 (71%), 19 of which passed with more than 60% of the vote.

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