Welcome to the Wednesday, October 26, Brew.
By: David Luchs
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Introduced bills to change I&R ⬆️, enacted bills ⬇️
- Democratic party committees surpass Republican party committees in cumulative fundraising for first time since June 2021
- Alaska voters to decide three statewide races using new ranked-choice system
Introduced bills to change I&R ⬆️, enacted bills ⬇️
State lawmakers introduced more bills this year to change their respective state’s initiative process. But fewer of those bills became law than was true in 2021.
The number of legislatively referred ballot measures related to initiatives also increased in 2022 compared to 2020.
We have tracked 231 pieces of legislation regarding ballot measures this year. Seventeen of these bills were passed and signed into law. Most (187) failed or did not come to a vote before legislative sessions adjourned. Last year we tracked fewer bills—226—but 36 were enacted.
One of the bills approved this year could affect signature drives. Florida HB 921, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law on April 6, prohibited out-of-state donors from giving more than $3,000 to support or oppose an initiative during the signature-gathering phase. In June, a federal judge blocked the bill. The judge, Allen Windsor, was appointed by President Donald Trump (R). In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a city ordinance in Berkeley, Calif., that placed a $250 limit on individual contributions to ballot measure campaigns was unconstitutional.
In 2021, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Montana, and Utah passed bills regarding signature drives, such as increasing distribution requirements or prohibiting paid circulators.
While the number of enacted laws decreased from 2021 to 2022, legislators referred six items regarding the initiative process to the ballot this year, up from four in 2020 and two in 2018.
Two of the measures were put on the ballot during 2022 legislative sessions, and the other three were put on the ballot during 2021 legislative sessions.
- Arkansas Issue 2: Would require a 60% vote to approve ballot initiatives
- Arizona Proposition 128: Would allow the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions that either the U.S. Supreme Court or the Arizona Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional
- Arizona Proposition 129: Would require citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
- Arizona Proposition 132: Would require a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes
- Colorado Proposition GG: Would require a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title for initiated measures
In June, voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C, which would have required a three-fifths vote of approval for ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.
In 2020, legislatures placed four measures on the ballot to change initiative processes. There was also one initiative in Florida to require that constitutional amendments be passed at two elections. Measures were defeated in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota. In Montana, voters approved two amendments to establish the existing signature distribution requirements for citizen-initiated measures as constitutional law.
Democratic party committees surpass Republican party committees in cumulative fundraising for first time since June 2021
We’re in the home stretch of the election cycle, with less than two weeks to go. Let’s take a final look at party committee fundraising. Six party committees have raised a combined $1.5 billion thus far in the 2022 election cycle. In September, the committees raised $133 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.
- Senate: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised 52% more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) last month ($28.8 million to $16.9 million).
- House: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised 48% more than the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) last month ($27.6 million to $16.9 million).
- National: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised 9% more than the Republican National Committee (RNC).
- Overall: The three Democratic committees have raised 1.5% more than the three Republican committees since the start of the 2022 cycle in January 2021 ($776.5 million to $765.2 million).
Alaska voters to decide three statewide races using new ranked-choice system
Today is the 42nd day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Alaska, The Last Frontier.
Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee
Week Seven: Colorado, New Jersey, Washington, Alabama, Utah
Week Eight: Mississippi, Maryland, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Maine
Week Nine: Massachusetts, Wisconsin
On the ballot in Alaska
One of Alaska’s two seats in the U.S. Senate, as well as its seat in the U.S. House, is up for election this year.
Alaska is also holding an election for governor and lieutenant governor.
Nineteen of 20 seats in the Alaska Senate and all 40 seats in the Alaska House of Representatives are up for election.
State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Winfree, first appointed in 2008 by former Gov. Sarah Palin (R), is up for retention election this year. Winfree is one of five justices on the court.
Incumbents Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Rep. Mary Peltola (D) are running for re-election. Twenty of the 59 state legislative districts holding elections this year have open seats because an incumbent is not running.
General elections for congressional, state executive, and state legislative office in Alaska use ranked-choice voting. Under this system, voters rank their preferred candidates rather than voting for a single candidate. Voters’ first-choice picks are counted and reported on election night. If a candidate wins more than 50% of first-choice votes, that candidate wins outright. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes redistributed to their voters’ next preference. This process repeats until one candidate gets more than 50% of votes.
Alaska has had one at-large U.S. House district ever since its admission to the Union in 1959. This did not change following the 2020 census.
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 state house maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Alaska:
To view a static version of the post-redistricting state senate district map in Alaska, visit our Alaska redistricting page.
- Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators—Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan—are Republicans.
- Alaska’s representative in the U.S. House, Mary Peltola, is a Democrat.
- Republicans have a 13-7 majority in the state senate. Although Republicans have a 21-15 numerical majority in the state house with three independents and one nonpartisan member, a minority coalition made up of Democrats, independents, and some Republicans controls the chamber.
- Alaska has a divided government. It has had this status since Bill Walker (I) won the 2014 gubernatorial election and broke the Republican trifecta.
- Both Governor Mark Dunleavy and Attorney General Treg Taylor are Republicans, meaning Alaska has a Republican triplex. The third triplex office, secretary of state, does not exist in Alaska.
Seats contested by only one major party
In 2022, 35 state legislative districts in Alaska, or 59% of the districts holding elections, 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 party is all but guaranteed to win that district.
Democrats are running in 59% of all state legislative races. Twenty-four state legislative districts, or 41% of those holding elections this year, do not have a Democrat running, meaning a Republican is likely to win.
Republicans are running in 85% of all state legislative races. Nine state legislative districts, or 15% of those holding elections this year, do not have a Republican running, meaning a Democrat is likely to win.
Two state legislative districts, or 3% of those holding elections this year, have neither a Democrat nor a Republican running.
- U.S. House: Incumbent Mary Peltola (D), Nicholas Begich (R), Sarah Palin (R), and Chris Bye (L) are running. Peltola, Begich, and Palin were the three candidates on the ballot in the August special election for this seat. Peltola won 40% of the first-choice vote in that election, followed by Palin with 31% and Begich with 29%.
- U.S. Senate: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R), Kelly Tshibaka (R), and Patricia Chesbro (D) are running. A fourth candidate, Buzz Kelley (R), unofficially withdrew and endorsed Tshibaka. Murkowski, first elected in 2002, voted to convict then-President Donald Trump (R) in his second impeachment trial. Tshibaka is running with an endorsement from Trump. In the August primary, Murkowski won 45% of the vote to Tshibaka’s 39% and Chesbro’s 7%.
- Governor: Incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R), Les Gara (D), Charlie Pierce (R), and Bill Walker (I) are running. This will be Alaska’s first gubernatorial election using the top-four/ranked-choice system. In 2018, Walker, then the incumbent, ran for another term but suspended his campaign in October and endorsed Mark Begich (D). In the August primary, Dunleavy led with 40% of the vote, followed by Gara and Walker with 23% each and Pierce with 7%.
Alaska voters will decide one statewide measure on Nov. 8.
Ballot Measure 1, the Constitutional Convention Question, asks voters whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. Alaska law requires that a question asking voters whether to hold a constitutional convention be placed on the ballot at least once every 10 years. The last time Alaska held a constitutional convention was in 1956.
Seventy-four ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1986 and 2020. Forty-three ballot measures were approved and 31 were defeated.
- Polls open at 7 a.m. Alaska Time on Election Day and close at 8 p.m. An individual who is in line at the time the polls close must be allowed to vote.
- Alaska requires that voters present identification, although acceptable forms of ID include some that do not have a photo. The voter ID requirement can be waived if an election official knows the identity of the voter as long as the voter is not a first-time voter who did not provide identification at the time they registered. Click here to see which forms of identification are acceptable.
- Alaska permits early voting. The early voting period opens Oct. 24 and closes Nov. 7.
- Alaska voters can register in person, by mail, or online. The deadline to register is Oct. 9. In Alaska, this means voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked by Oct. 9.
- All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Alaska. The deadline for an election office to receive an application for an absentee ballot is Oct. 29 for an already-registered voter and Oct. 9 for a new voter or a voter requiring an update to their registration. An absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than Nov. 8 to be eligible. You can track the status of your absentee ballot here.
Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!