ICYMI: Top stories of the week

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Following the 2022 elections, more Americans now live in a Democratic trifecta than a Republican trifecta

Once all newly elected officials take office, 41.7% of Americans will live in a state with a Democratic trifecta, 39.6% in a state with a Republican trifecta, and 18.8% in a state with divided government.

This will be the lowest percentage of Americans living in a Republican trifecta and the highest percentage of Americans living in a Democratic trifecta in the past six years. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governor’s office and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature at the same time.

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Ben Sasse resigns from U.S. Senate

Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) officially resigned from the U.S. Senate on Jan. 8 to become the University of Florida’s 13th president. Sasse was president of Midland University in Fremont, Neb., before being elected to the Senate in 2014. Sasse was last re-elected in 2020 with 63% of the vote.

Unlike the U.S. House, where every vacancy must be filled through a special election, the U.S. Constitution does not specify how to fill Senate vacancies. Nebraska is one of 37 states where the governor makes a temporary appointment.

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Total partisan composition of state legislatures changed by less than half a percentage point in 2022

The partisan composition of all 7,386 state legislative seats in the country remained effectively unchanged following the 2022 elections.

Democrats had a net loss of six seats nationwide. Republicans had a net gain of 28 seats, and independent or minor party officeholders had a net loss of 20 seats. Overall, the partisan composition of state legislative seats changed by less than half a percentage point in any direction, the smallest overall change in more than a decade.

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Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 27 announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships as of Jan. 5, 2022. In addition to these 27 upcoming vacancies, there are 84 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Article III courts include the 13 U.S. courts of appeal and 94 U.S. district courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of International Trade.

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2022 had second-highest midterm voter turnout in two decades

According to data compiled by the United States Election Project, 2022 had the second-highest midterm voter turnout in two decades.

Turnout in 2022 was 46.8%. Since 2002, midterm turnout has ranged from a low of 36.7% in 2014 to a high of 50.3% in 2018. Oregon, one of eight states that uses automatic, all-mail voting, had the highest turnout rate at 61.5%. Tennessee had the lowest rate at 31.3%.

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Two statewide ballot measures certified so far this year

As of Jan. 10, two statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in two states for 2023. Based on odd-year data since 2011, the average number of measures certified at the start of the year is four.

The two statewide measures certified so far are:

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