Welcome to the Wednesday, September 21, Brew.
By: David Luchs
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Ballot measures on ballot measures—previewing five measures that could change the initiative process this year
- Three candidates running for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia
- Arkansas voters to elect a new governor and decide four ballot measures
Ballot measures on ballot measures—previewing five measures that could change the initiative process this year
The final list of ballot measures for 2022 is nearly set, with one measure pending (see below for more). Here’s a rundown of the five measures that would change statewide initiative procedures:
- Arkansas Issue 2: Would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require a 60% vote to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. The measure would not affect veto referendums.
- Current law: Arkansas law currently requires that all ballot measures, including veto referendums, receive a simple majority (50%+1) in order to pass.
- Arizona Proposition 128: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if either the Arizona Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court has declared any portion invalid.
- Current law: As a result of the passage of Proposition 105 in 1998, also known as the Voter Protection Act, the Legislature may only amend voter-approved ballot initiatives to further the measure’s intended purpose. Such amendments require a three-fourths vote in both chambers of the Legislature.
- Arizona Proposition 129: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that citizen-initiated ballot measures have a single subject.
- Current law: Arizona does not currently have a single-subject rule. Of the 26 states that provide for at least one type of statewide citizen-initiated measure, 16 have single-subject rules.
- Arizona Proposition 132: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to require a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes.
- Current law: Arizona does not currently have a separate vote threshold for ballot measures that approve taxes. Ballot measures in Arizona require a simple majority (50.01%) of votes in favor in order to win approval.
- Colorado Proposition GG: Would require the ballot titles and fiscal impact summaries for initiatives related to income taxes to include information on how the change would affect income taxes on different categories of income.
- Current law: There is currently no requirement that ballot titles and fiscal impact summaries for initiatives related to income tax include information on how the changes would affect income taxes in different categories of income. There is a requirement that ballot titles for measures that would increase taxes be printed in all capital letters and follow a standard format.
Last June, voters rejected a measure in South Dakota called Amendment C 67%-32%. It would have changed the vote requirement from a simple majority to a 60% majority for ballot measures that increase taxes or required the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.
Between 2010 and June 2022, there were 20 measures regarding the initiative process on the ballot. Voters approved 11 (55%) and rejected nine (45%).
The status of one potential 2022 measure, Oklahoma State Question 820, remains uncertain.
Proponents submitted 164,000 signatures in support of the measure, which would legalize marijuana. On Aug. 22, Secretary of State Brian Bingman (R) said 117,000 of those signatures were valid, enough to place the measure on the ballot. During the 10-day challenge period following the announcement, opponents submitted four challenges to the measure.
The state supreme court dismissed two challenges to the validity of the signatures. The court did not dismiss the other two challenges, both of which claim the measure’s language is misleading. The court’s ruling will determine whether the measure makes it onto the November ballot.
State Question 820 is the last pending measure this year that could make it onto a statewide November 2022 ballot.
Three candidates running for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia
Among the states where control of the U.S. Senate will be decided in this year’s elections is Georgia. Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D), Herschel Walker (R), and Chase Oliver (L) are running for a six-year term in the U.S. Senate. We’ll be previewing battleground races across the country between now and election day; today, we turn to the U.S. Senate election in Georgia.
Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D), first elected in 2021, is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a pastor. Warnock says he has a record of working alongside both Democrats and Republicans, using his work alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on an infrastructure proposal as an example.
Herschel Walker (R) is a former Hall of Fame professional football player who served on the Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition under President Donald Trump (R). Walker says he is running to protect Georgia from President Joe Biden’s (D) policy agenda.
Chase Oliver (L) is a member of the Libertarian Party and has a background in the import shipping industry. He says he is running to represent individuals rather than interests.
Warnock is leading in fundraising, with $85 million raised as of the most recent fundraising reports to Walker’s $20 million and Oliver’s $8,000. Warnock and Walker are nearly tied in polling. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in the general election, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on Dec. 6.
After former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned for health reasons in 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Kelly Loeffler (R) to the seat until a special election could be held to replace Isakson. Since no candidate won a majority of the vote in the special election on Nov. 3, 2020, Loeffler and Warnock advanced to a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. Warnock defeated Loeffler in the runoff election 51%-49%, becoming the first Democrat to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate since 2005.
The Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections each rate the race a toss-up.
Arkansas voters to elect a new governor and decide four ballot measures
Today is the 17th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Arkansas, the Natural State.
On the ballot in Arkansas
One member of the U.S. Senate and four members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election in Arkansas. All five incumbents are running for re-election.
Seven state executive offices are up for election: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and public lands commissioner. Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) is term-limited.
All 35 seats in the Arkansas Senate are up for election, as well as all 100 seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Incumbents did not run for re-election in 32 state legislative districts this year.
A general runoff election for Position 2 on the Arkansas Supreme Court will also take place on Nov. 8.
Arkansas did not gain or lose U.S. House districts after the 2020 census.
Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Arkansas:
To use our tool to view Arkansas’ state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Arkansas redistricting page.
- Both of Arkansas’ U.S. Senators—John Boozman and Tom Cotton—are Republicans, as are all four of its members of the U.S. House.
- Republicans have a 27-7 majority in the state Senate and a 78-22 majority in the state House. Arkansas has been a Republican trifecta—with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature—since 2015.
- Arkansas is one of 23 Republican triplexes, meaning that the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state all belong to the Republican Party.
Seats contested by only one major party
In 2022, 88 state legislative seats in Arkansas, or 65% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win.
Democrats are running in 47% of all state legislative races. Seventy-one state legislative districts (53% of the total) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning the Republican is likely to win.
Republicans are running in 87% of all state legislative races. Seventeen districts (13% of the total) do not have a Republican candidate, meaning the Democrat is likely to win.
- Governor of Arkansas: Incumbent Asa Hutchinson (R) is term-limited. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R), daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Chris Jones (D), Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L), and four write-in candidates are running. The race is rated solid/safe Republican.
- Arkansas Supreme Court Position 2: Incumbent Robin Wynne is running against Chris Carnahan in the nonpartisan general runoff election for Arkansas Supreme Court Position 2. Wynne received 49.5% of the general election vote to Carnahan’s 28.8%. Wynne’s partisan leaning was not able to be determined during Ballotpedia’s 2020 study of state court partisanship. The Republican Party of Arkansas endorsed Carnahan in June 2022.
- Mayor of Little Rock: Four candidates, including incumbent Frank Scott Jr., filed to run in the nonpartisan election for mayor of Arkansas’ state capital. Media outlets have reported that Scott is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The election will go to a runoff if no candidate receives either a majority of the vote or at least 40% of the vote with the candidate in second place behind by at least 20% of the vote.
Arkansas voters will decide four statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8:
- Arkansas Issue 1 would allow the Legislature to call itself into extraordinary sessions upon (a) a joint proclamation from the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore or (b) upon a proclamation signed by two-thirds of the members in each chamber. Currently, Arkansas is one of 14 states where only the governor can call a special session.
- Arkansas Issue 2 would require a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (both legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. Currently, ballot measures in Arkansas require a simple majority (50%+1) vote for approval.
- Arkansas Issue 3 would amend the state constitution to provide that “government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”
- Arkansas Issue 4 would legalize the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old, enact a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and require the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses.
In Arkansas, 44 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 2000 and 2020. Thirty-two ballot measures were approved, and 12 ballot measures were defeated.
- Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. local time.
- Arkansas requires voters to present photo identification while voting. For more information on voter ID requirements in Arkansas, click here.
- Early voting runs from Oct. 24 through Nov. 7.
- The voter registration deadline is Oct. 10. Registration may be done in person or by mail, with forms postmarked by the Oct. 10 deadline. Online registration and same-day registration are not allowed.
- Certain Arkansas voters are eligible to vote absentee. A mailed ballot request must be received by Nov. 1. An absentee ballot may be requested in person through Nov. 4. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be received by Nov. 8. Absentee ballots returned in person must be returned by Nov. 4. To check the status of your ballot, click here.
Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!