A look at this year’s voter registration deadlines

Welcome to the Friday, March 3, Brew. 

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

  1. A look at this year’s voter registration deadlines
  2. Redondo Beach, Calif., voters will decide ranked-choice voting, five other local ballot measures on March 7
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many incumbent mayors of the 100 most populous cities have lost re-election since 2016?

A look at this year’s voter registration deadlines

Every state except North Dakota requires residents to register with election officials before voting.

This year, eight states are holding statewide elections for state executive, legislative, or judicial offices: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

On average, residents in these eight states must register to vote at least 17 days before their respective elections.

But deadlines vary depending on how you register to vote. Three primary methods exist:

  • Online: registering through an official website, which usually requires a state-issued I.D.;
  • By mail: submitting a registration form in the mail, which must be either postmarked or received by a certain date; and,
  • In-person: going to an election official like a county clerk and registering in person.

All eight states allow residents to register by mail or in person, and all but Mississippi allow voters to register online.

The graphic below shows, for each method, each state’s deadline relative to their general elections: Nov. 7 for all states except Louisiana, which holds its on Nov. 18. 

These deadlines apply to primary elections, too, but vary by one day in Kentucky and Mississippi.

Looking just at in-person registration deadlines, Louisiana residents must register to vote 31 days before the general election, the earliest deadline. But, unlike in other states, if a resident misses that deadline, the online deadline is closer to the election than the in-person one at 21 days out.

On the shorter end, Washington has same-day voter registration, meaning a resident can go to a polling place on Election Day, register to vote, and cast a ballot. This option exists even though Washington is an all-mail voting state, meaning every registered voter is mailed a ballot each election.

The table below shows each state and its various registration deadlines by method. This table includes registration deadlines for primaries and general elections as well as deadlines for Mississippi’s primary and general election runoffs.

This year’s earliest registration deadline has already passed. Wisconsin residents had until Feb. 17 to register to vote in the statewide primary on Feb. 21.

Wisconsin also has the next upcoming deadline: residents can register by mail or online until March 15 or in person until March 31 to participate in the April 4 general election.

Keep reading 

Two cities to decide ranked-choice voting ballot measures on March 7

Ranked-choice voting is on the March 7 ballot in Redondo Beach, Calif., and Burlington, Vt. 

Both cities currently use some form of a runoff system, where if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two-vote getters advance to a runoff at a later date.

Under a ranked-choice system, voters rank candidates by preference. A candidate wh rogers a majority of first-preference votes wins. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and those votes are redistributed to the second-preference candidate. This is repeated until one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

In Redondo Beach, Charter Amendment 5 would institute ranked-choice voting for city elections except for the school board.

City Council member Laura Emdee, who supports the change, said, “Runoff elections are expensive and have historically been hostile … [and] also tend to have lower voter turnout.” Emdee added that, with ranked-choice voting, “Redondo Beach will experience more amicable campaigns at a lower cost.”

Ballotpedia has not identified any opposing arguments to Charter Amendment 5.

In Burlington, Question 4 would extend the city’s existing ranked-choice voting system to include mayoral, school board, and ward officer elections. Burlington voters approved ranked-choice voting for city council members in 2021, 64% to 36%.

City Council member Joan Shannon spoke in support of the measure, saying, “What we really want … is a voting system that serves democracy, that engages the public and that produces a result that is reflective of the voters’ will.”

Mayor Miro Weinberger opposes the measure, saying, “I don’t think there’s a need to in the … mayoral general election where we have a provision for a runoff if no one achieves a strong plurality, so I think it’s a mistake.”

Ballotpedia has identified ranked-choice voting ballot measures in 24 cities and counties between 2006 and 2022. Voters approved 21 versions of ranked-choice voting and defeated three others.

Voters in the California cities of Albany, Ojai, and Eureka approved ranked-choice voting measures between 2020 and 2022. Voters in Santa Clara defeated a ranked-choice voting measure in 2018.

We’ve only identified one other ranked-choice voting measure in Vermont: the one Burlington voters approved in 2021.

Redondo Beach voters will decide five other measures on March 7:

  • Charter Amendment 1 would change the bidding process for public works projects;
  • Charter Amendment 2 would allow the city to pay a deposit before supplies, materials, property, or services have been delivered or rendered;
  • Charter Amendment 3 would change language in the city’s charter to be gender-neutral;
  • Charter Amendment 4 would remove the mayoral signature requirement on all contracts, ordinances, resolutions, and warrants and allow the city council to authorize the city manager or another officer to sign such documents; and,
  • Measure CT would authorize the city to enact a cannabis and hemp business tax ranging from 3% to 9% of gross receipts for retail sales. It would also authorize a tax on cannabis testing labs at a rate between 1% and 3% of gross receipts.

Burlington voters have six other measures on their ballot:

  • Carbon Fee Measure would implement a carbon pollution impact fee for certain new buildings;
  • Proposition O would allow citizens place initiatives and referenda on the local ballot;
  • Question 1 would allow non-citizens who are legal residents to vote in local elections;
  • Question 2 would establish residency requirements for certain local elections;
  • Question 3 would change city election boundaries; and,
  • Question 5 would create an independent board to investigate and discipline police conduct.

Click the link below for a full list of all local ballot measures we have identified for 2023.

Keep reading 

#FridayTrivia: How many incumbent mayors of the most populous 100 cities have lost re-election since 2016?

Since 2016, we have covered 200 mayoral elections in the 100 most populous cities nationwide. Chicago’s Feb. 28 general election was the latest. 

As we mentioned in Thursday’s Brew, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson won the top two spots, advancing to an April 4 runoff and defeating incumbent Lori Lightfoot, who placed third.

Including Lightfoot, how many incumbent mayors of the most populous 100 cities have lost re-election since 2016?

  1. 23 (12%)
  2. 12 (6%)
  3. 31 (16%)
  4. 43 (22%)