The field for the 2023 General Holiday Cookie Election is set!

Welcome to the Monday, December 18, 2023, Brew. 

By: Juan Garcia de Paredes

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

  1. The field for the 2023 General Holiday Cookie Election is set!
  2. Update on this year’s and next year’s ballot measure certifications
  3. Biden has nominated 195 federal judges, behind Trump, Obama, and Bush at this point in his first term

The field for the 2023 General Holiday Cookie Election is set!

The polls closed last week for the 2023 Primary Holiday Cookie Election. It was a deliciously tough battle, with results baking out as follows:

  • Sugar cookie (42%)
  • Chocolate chip cookie (46.2%)
  • Chocolate peppermint bark cookie (30.4%)
  • Gingerbread cookie (36.7%)
  • Peanut butter blossom (27.6%)
  • Snickerdoodle (33.9%)
  • Thumbprint cookie (15.7%)
  • Oatmeal raisin (21.7%)

The general election polls open today at 8:00 AM ET and will stay open until Thursday, Dec. 21, at 5:00 PM ET. 

Before you vote, please check out the candidate profiles in preparation for this scrumptious election. The three sweet finalists who have baked their way to the general election are:

  • Sugar cookie
  • Chocolate chip cookie 
  • Gingerbread cookie 

Don’t forget—voters who provide their email address will receive a discount code for the newly reopened Ballotpedia merchandise shop! 

Cast your vote today! 

Update on this year’s and next year’s ballot measure certifications

With the year almost over, let’s review where ballot measure certifications stand at the end of 2023, and take a look at how 2024 is shaping up. 

In 2023, 41 statewide measures were certified for the ballot in eight states, 10 more measures than the average number certified in other odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021. 

The final election for state ballot measures was on Sat., Nov. 18 in Louisiana, where voters approved three constitutional amendments and rejected one.

Turning to 2024, 56 statewide measures have been certified in 25 states. That’s five more measures than the average number (51) certified at this point from 2010 to 2022.

From 2012 to 2022, the average number of statewide ballot measures certified in an even-numbered year was 164.

On average, the months with the highest ballot measure certification activity are June through August before the election. This is when most citizen-initiated ballot measures are certified.

Here’s an update on the latest ballot measure activity.

Between July 2022 and December 2023, signatures for 11 initiatives that have not yet been certified for the 2024 ballot were filed in four states—Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Washington. Nine were filed during the past two weeks. These 11 initiatives are pending signature verification, meaning they are waiting for officials to determine whether the initiatives have sufficient valid signatures to meet the minimum threshold needed to qualify for the ballot. These initiatives are: 

In Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington, initiated state statutes are indirect. This means the initiative is first presented to the state legislature. Legislators have a certain number of days, depending on the state, to adopt the initiative into law. In Michigan and Washington, when legislators take no action or reject the initiative, the initiative is put on the ballot for voters to decide. In Massachusetts, petitioners collect a second round of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

In Florida, the process is direct—the initiative goes directly to the ballot after signature verification.

The next signature deadline for citizen-initiated ballot measures is December 29, 2023, in Washington. 

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Biden has nominated 195 federal judges, behind Trump, Obama, and Bush at this point in his first term

Between Nov. 13 and Dec. 13, President Joe Biden (D) nominated six new Article III judges, bringing his total since taking office to 195. That’s less than former Presidents Donald Trump (R), Barack Obama (D), and George W. Bush (R) at this point in their first terms.

The U.S. Senate confirmed eight Article III judges between Nov. 13 and Dec. 13, bringing his total number of confirmations to 162. That’s also less than his three most recent predecessors. 

Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation.

Here’s how many Article III judges Biden’s three predecessors sent to the U.S. Senate and how many of those were ultimately confirmed, 1,058 days into their presidencies:

The chart below shows the number of confirmed judicial nominations by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present).

There were 63 Article III vacancies as of Dec. 13.

There are five key steps in the vacancy process: a presidential nomination, a U.S. Senate committee hearing, a Senate committee vote to report the nominee to the full Senate, the full Senate voting on confirmation, and a confirmed nominee taking the judicial oath and receiving a judicial commission.

If you want to learn more about U.S. Supreme Court activity and other judicial happenings around the U.S., subscribe to Robe & Gavel, our monthly newsletter covering the federal judiciary.

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