Welcome to the Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Brew.
By: Juan Garcia de Paredes
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Happy Election Day!
- Previewing Ballotpedia’s battleground elections
Happy Election Day!
Election Day 2023 is here! If you haven’t voted yet, check out our resources on everything to do with today’s election, including when and where to vote, and what’s on your ballot. If you don’t have any races where you live, get caught up on everything we have available for you for next election:
- Sample ballot: Our Sample Ballot Lookup tool helps you learn about the candidates and issues on your ballot.
- Poll opening and closing times: A state-by-state look at poll opening and closing times for today’s elections.
- Where to vote: Link about where to find polling locations in your state.
- Identification: Information on voter ID requirements in your state, so you know what to expect when you get to the polls.
- Voting policies in the United States: Voting policies are enacted and enforced primarily at the state level. This article provides a list of links to Ballotpedia content about voting procedures and election administration in each state.
This year, 10 states are holding statewide elections. Ballotpedia is covering elections for 7949 seats in 30 states, including all school board elections in seven states.
We’ll be back tomorrow with results, analysis, and our biggest takeaways from today’s elections!
In the meantime, check out our 2023 election results overview page. We’ll update this page throughout the night as races are called. Here, you’ll find election updates and results for all of the battleground races below—including gubernatorial, state supreme court, and state legislative elections, and more! Stay tuned!
Previewing Ballotpedia’s battleground elections
We’ve previewed the elections we’ve been watching closely these past few months. In case you missed it, here are some storylines we’re following:
Statewide gubernatorial elections
Kentucky and Mississippi are holding elections for governor. Mississippi has had a Republican trifecta since 2012, while Kentucky currently has a divided government: Democrats control the governorship, and Republicans control both legislative chambers.
- Kentucky gubernatorial election: Incumbent Andy Beshear (D) and state Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) are running. Including the primary, candidates have collectively raised more than in any other gubernatorial election in state history. The Cook Political Report, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections rate the general election Lean or Tilt Democratic.
- Mississippi gubernatorial election: Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) and District Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) are running. The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rate the race Lean Republican, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates the race Likely Republican.
Heading into the elections, 26 states have Republican governors and 24 states have Democratic governors. At least one of those governorships will change party hands next year, when Louisiana’s Governor-elect Jeff Landry (R) is sworn in. Landry won the Oct. 14 primary outright and will replace Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Other statewide races
Among the other statewide races we’re watching today are those for:
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Carolyn Carluccio (R) and Daniel McCaffery (D) are running in the partisan election for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The winner will succeed Justice Max Baer (D), who died on Sept. 30, 2022. As a result of Baer’s death, the court went from a 5-2 to a 4-2 Democratic majority.
- State financial offices: Voters in Kentucky and Mississippi will decide state treasurer and state auditor races today. Treasurers, auditors, and controllers collectively make up what are called “state financial officers” (SFOs). These officials are responsible for government finances and financial oversight. There are 105 such positions nationwide.
State legislative elections
Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia are holding state legislative elections. Heading into today, Democrats and Republicans each control three of the six chambers up for election. Republicans have majorities in Virginia’s House of Delegates and in both chambers of the Mississippi Legislature, while Democrats control Virginia’s Senate and both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature.
Ballotpedia identified the Virginia House and Senate as battlegrounds with majorities at stake:
- Virginia Senate: Democrats have a 22-18 majority. We identified eight battleground elections in Districts 4, 16, 17, 22, 24, 27, 30, and 31. The Virginia governorship is not up for election this year.
- Virginia House: Republicans have a 49-43 majority with five vacancies. We identified eight battleground elections in Districts 21, 22, 57, 65, 82, 89, and 97.
In Mississippi, Republicans are guaranteed simple majorities in both the House and Senate.
School board elections
Ballotpedia is covering school board elections in 16 states today—including all school board elections in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. We’re also providing in-depth battleground coverage of 14 school board elections in these states.
Candidates in these elections have focused on a range of issues, from school safety and parental rights to academic achievement, teacher retention, and mental health. While most of these elections are non-partisan (except in Pennsylvania), local political parties and ideological groups have issued endorsements in many of them.
We’ve previewed many of these elections in the past two months. In case you missed it, here are the 14 school board elections we’re keeping an eye on today (click on each link to learn more about each race):
- Colorado: Douglas County and Woodland Park
- Kansas: Leavenworth Unified and Wichita
- Minnesota: Anoka-Hennepin and Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan
- Pennsylvania: Central Bucks and Pennridge
- Ohio: Mentor Exempted Village and South-Western City Schools
- Washington: Richland School District and Seattle Public Schools
- Virginia: Loudoun County and Prince William County
Ballotpedia is covering 40 mayoral elections this year, including 18 taking place today. These elections include all mayoral elections in the 100 largest U.S. cities by population and all mayoral elections in state capitals. Democrats hold 63 of the mayoral offices in the top-100 largest cities, Republicans hold 25, independents hold four, and nonpartisan mayors hold six. Two mayors’ partisan affiliations are unknown.
A key mayoral race we’re watching is in Wichita, Kansas. Incumbent Brandon Whipple and former reporter Lily Wu are running. Both advanced from a field of nine candidates in the city’s top two nonpartisan primary on Aug. 1. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, Wu—a former Republican— is a Libertarian, while Whipple is a Democrat. He defeated incumbent Mayor Jeff Longwell (R) in 2019.
Ballotpedia is covering recall elections against 34 officials today. That’s less than than 2022, when we covered recall elections against 37 officials on Nov. 8. But it’s more than 2021, when we covered recall elections against nine officials on Nov. 2.
The elections today include recall elections against:
- 28 officials in Michigan;
- Three officials in Oregon; and,
- One each in Colorado, Ohio, and Texas.
Thirteen of the 34 officials on recall ballots are city council members. Nine are city officials, including clerks and treasurers, and nine are mayors or supervisors. The remaining three officials are school board members.
The reasons for the recall efforts include citizens disagreeing with city council votes on economic development, and votes to increase wind turbine height restrictions. Other efforts listed homelessness, improperly conducting government business, and removing a school district’s logo as reasons for recall. Some recall efforts criticized officeholder behavior and interactions with community members.
Voters in five states will decide on 28 statewide ballot measures today.
The topics include abortion, marijuana, utilities, taxes, state constitutional rights, and ranked-choice voting. They include six citizen initiatives—two in Ohio and four in Maine—and three legislative-referred measures—two in Texas and one in Colorado.
Here are the most interesting ballot measures we’re watching today:
- Ohio Issue 1: A citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to establish a state constitutional right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including decisions about abortion, contraception, and other reproductive matters.
- Ohio Issue 2: A citizen-initiated state statute to legalize marijuana for recreational or personal use in Ohio, which would be the 24th state to legalize marijuana. We wrote about this measure in our Nov. 1 Brew.
- Maine Question 3: A citizen-initiated statute that would replace investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities in Maine with a quasi-public, elected-board corporation called the Pine Tree Power Company.
- Maine Question 1: Question 1 was initiated in response to legislation to create the Pine Tree
Power Company. The initiative would require voter approval for certain state entities, municipal electric districts, electrification cooperatives, or consumer-owned transmission utilities to incur a total outstanding debt that exceeds $1 billion. The estimated cost for Pine Tree Power Company to purchase and acquire investor-owned electric utilities ranges from $5.0 billion to $13.5 billion.
- Maine Question 2: An initiated state statute that would prohibit foreign governments, or entities with at least 5% foreign government ownership or control, from making expenditures to influence ballot measures or candidate elections in Maine.
- Maine Question 4: A citizen-initiated state statute designed to require motor vehicle manufacturers to standardize onboard vehicle diagnostics and make access to vehicle systems available to owners and independent repair shops.
- Texas Proposition 1: A proposed constitutional amendment that would establish a state constitutional right to farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.
- Texas Proposition 3: A proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the Legislature from enacting a future wealth or net worth tax.
- Colorado Proposition HH: Proposition HH would allow the state government to retain and spend revenue that would otherwise need to be refunded to residents under TABOR, the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
- Local ranked-choice voting measures: In addition to statewide measures, we’re also keeping an eye on four local ballot measures related to ranked-choice voting. Three—all in Michigan—are to adopt RCV, and one, in Minnesota, is to repeal it. Since 1965, voters have decided on 63 local ballot measures related to RCV. Voters have approved 80.70% of the local measures to adopt RCV and 50.00% of those to repeal RCV.
- Virginia ballot measures: Ballotpedia is covering all nine local ballot measures in Virginia on Nov. 7. The local ballot measures range in topic, including government structure and elections, gambling expansion, general obligation bonds for school facilities, and capital improvement projects.
Overall, 41 statewide measures made the ballot in eight states in 2023—the highest number of state ballot measures for an odd-numbered year since 2007.
Voters decided nine measures earlier this year—including four in Louisiana on Oct. 14. On Nov. 18, the last statewide ballot measure election of 2023, Louisiana voters will decide four more.
A total of $169.48 million has been contributed to campaigns supporting or opposing the 41 statewide measures on the ballot this year—more than the previous three odd-year election cycles. The average amount contributed per measure this year was $4.1 million. In 2021, 2019, and 2017, those averages were $2.75 million, $$787,816, and $4.03 million, respectively. Click here to learn more.
According to our annual ballot measure readability report, this year’s statewide ballot measure titles and summaries were written at an average reading level of 19 (meaning voters would need 19 years of education to understand the text). That is akin to a third-year graduate school level and means this year’s titles and summaries were harder to read than those in 2021, the previous odd year, which were written at a reading level of 18 years.