A look at upcoming runoff elections (not just Georgia)

Welcome to the Monday, November 21, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Runoff elections happening in at least four states and a territory
  2. Twelve cities approve measures changing local election dates
  3. A preview of next year’s state legislative sessions 

Runoff elections happening in at least four states and a territory

Election Day is over, but not every election held on Nov. 8 had a conclusive outcome. For offices within our coverage scope, we’re tracking runoff elections between the top two vote-getters to determine a winner in four states—Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—and the Northern Mariana Islands. 

This is not necessarily a final list, as there could be more runoffs as additional elections are called. We’re monitoring potential runoff elections in Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Here are the confirmed runoff elections:

  • Arizona: We’re covering runoff in Districts 6 and 8 on March 14, 2023, for city council seats in Phoenix, since no candidate won a majority of the votes in either of those races. 
  • Georgia: The U.S. Senate between incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) and challenger Herschel Walker (R) is scheduled for Dec. 6. Warnock received 49.42% of the vote, and Walker received 48.51% in the Nov. 8 election. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver received the remaining 2.07%. We covered this runoff election in more detail in the Nov. 10 edition of the Brew. 
  • Louisiana: Technically, Louisiana does not hold runoff elections. The Nov. 8 election was considered a primary, where all candidates competed in the same race. If no candidate received a majority of the primary vote, the top two finishers advanced to a Dec. 10 general election. 
  • In the state government, the Public Service Commission District 3 race and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal 2nd District race both advanced to the general election. 
  • At the local level, we’re also covering races that advanced to the general election in the 19th Judicial District Court and the Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, and St. Tammany school boards.
  • Texas: We’re covering runoff elections on Dec. 13 for the mayor’s office and city council seats in both Austin and Laredo, as well as separate runoffs on Dec. 17 for city council seats in El Paso.
  • Northern Mariana Islands: The gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial race will conclude with a runoff election on Nov. 25 between incumbent Ralph Torres (R) and challenger Arnold I. Palacios (independent). Palacios, the incumbent lieutenant governor, was elected to that position as a Republican in 2018. Torres received 38.83% of the vote, while Palacios received 33.15% in the Nov. 8 election. Democratic candidate Christina Sablan received the remaining 28.02%. 

Follow along with election results at the link below.
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Twelve cities approve measures changing local election dates

Last week, we looked at the 132 statewide ballot measures voters decided on Nov. 8 (we also recorded a webinar, which you can watch here, summarizing ballot measure results and key takeaways). Today, we’re going to look at local measures—specifically, measures on local election administration.  

On Nov. 8, twelve municipalities in four states—California, Colorado, Washington, and Florida—approved measures to move municipal election dates from odd- to even-numbered years and to coincide with statewide elections. San Jose approved a similar measure in June.

One notable measure comes from San Francisco, where voters approved Proposition H. It moves elections for mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney, and treasurer from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years (in November of presidential election years). It also changes signature requirements for ballot initiatives from 5% of votes cast for mayor in the previous general election to 2% of registered voters.

In 2019, 177,192 votes were cast in the mayoral election, meaning the signature requirement set on the basis of votes cast was 8,860. Under Proposition H, the requirement is set at 2% of registered voters. Currently, that figure would come to 9,951, according to the latest data. 

Elections held in even-numbered years tend to see higher voter turnout. Basing the signature requirement on registered voters, rather than votes cast in the preceding mayoral election, was seen as a way to prevent a large increase in signature requirements as a result of changing the mayoral election date. 

Other localities in California approved measures moving election dates to even-numbered years, including Arcadia, Compton, Long Beach, Modesto, Pomona, Redwood City, and San Francisco. Similar measures were also approved in Boulder, Colorado; King County, Washington; and St. Petersburg, Florida. 

This year, we covered local ballot measures within the 100 largest cities in the U.S., within state capitals, and throughout California. We also covered a selection of policing-related ballot measures and election-related ballot measures outside of the largest cities.

Click below to learn more about this year’s local ballot measures. 

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A preview of next year’s state legislative sessions 

The beginning of the year following a midterm election always brings with it a flurry of activity in state politics as newly-elected officeholders are sworn in and legislatures get down to brass tacks.  

With that in mind, let’s take a look at when state legislatures will begin their 2023 legislative sessions (with the caveat that these dates could change before and during the sessions). Sessions lengths vary from state-to-state. 

Here’s a roundup of facts about upcoming state legislative sessions.                

  • All 50 states will hold regular sessions in 2023. 
  • Two states, California and Maine, will convene their 2023 sessions in December 2022. California goes first, starting Dec. 5, 2022.
  • 43 state legislatures will convene in January.
  • Two state legislatures—Nevada and Oklahoma—will convene in February. 
  • Alabama and Florida legislatures will convene in March, and Louisiana’s will convene in April.
  • Virginia is currently scheduled to have the shortest session, starting on Jan. 11, 2023, and ending on Feb. 11, 2023. 
  • Ohio is currently scheduled to have the longest session, starting on Jan. 2, 2023, and ending on Dec. 31, 2023. 

At this point in the year, most states are out of session. But four state legislatures are in regular session—Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Lawmakers in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are considered full-time legislators, while New Jersey is considered hybrid, where legislators spend more than two-thirds of a full-time job fulfilling their duties.

Pennsylvania’s legislative session is scheduled to end Nov. 30. Ohio’s session is scheduled to end on Dec. 21. In Michigan and New Jersey, sessions are scheduled to end on Dec. 31. 

Since January, lawmakers in all but four states have held regular sessions. That’s because 46 state legislatures hold regular sessions annually. In Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas, however, lawmakers hold regular sessions in odd-numbered years only. 

Additionally, state legislatures sometimes meet for special or extraordinary sessions. This year, 17 states have held special sessions—Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. California is scheduled to hold a special session beginning Dec. 5.

You can follow along with 2023 legislative sessions at the link below. 

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