Author

David Luchs

David Luchs is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 28, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch
  2. Oklahoma marijuana initiative will not be on 2022 ballot but will be decided at a later election
  3. Wyoming Republicans are likely to win more than 60% of all state legislative seats, maintaining majority control

Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch

Ballotpedia’s editorial staff will cover roughly 15,000 races on Election Night—the most in the organization’s 15-year history. Our team has selected 15 elections from that coverage to make up our list of the most important, compelling, and competitive elections in the country.

Members of Ballotpedia’s editorial department selected these elections based on past election results, unique election-specific circumstances, and elections forecasters’ race ratings. The final selections were made with the goal of including a mix of federal, state, and local races in mind. There’s a lot to monitor this Nov. 8 – and this list is by no means comprehensive – but here’s our take on 15 races to pay attention to.

Ballotpedia’s top 15 elections to watch for 2022 are:

  1. U.S. Senate election in Arizona: Incumbent Mark Kelly (D) is running against Blake Masters (R) and Marc Victor (L) for a seat Democrats won control of from Republicans in 2020.
  2. U.S. Senate election in Georgia: Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) is running against Herschel Walker (R) and Chase Oliver (L) for a seat Democrats won control of from Republicans in 2020.
  3. U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania: Eight candidates, including John Fetterman (D) and Mehmet Oz (R), are running to replace retiring incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R).
  4. U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin: Incumbent Ron Johnson (R) is running against Mandela Barnes (D), and Scott Aubart (American Independent Party) as he seeks a third term.
  5. Arizona gubernatorial election: Katie Hobbs (D), Kari Lake (R), Barry J. Hess (L), and Williams Pounds (Independent/Green) are running to succeed term-limited incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
  6. Kansas gubernatorial election: Incumbent Laura Kelly (D) is running against Derek Schmidt (R), Seth Cordell (L), and Dennis Pyle (I).
  7. Nevada gubernatorial election: Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D) is running against Joe Lombardo (R), Brandon Davis (L), and Edward Bridges II (I).
  8. Oregon gubernatorial election: Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), Betsy Johnson (I), and two other candidates are running to succeed term-limited Gov. Kate Brown (D).
  9. Colorado’s 8th Congressional District: Yadira Caraveo (D), Barbara Kirkmeyer (R), and three other candidates are running to represent a newly-created congressional district.
  10. New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Chris Pappas (D) faces Karolina Leavitt (R) as he seeks a third term.
  11. Arizona House of Representatives: All 60 seats are up, with Democrats needing to win two more to gain control of the chamber.
  12. Colorado Senate: Seventeen of the 35 seats are up, with Republicans needing to win four more to win control of the chamber.
  13. Los Angeles Mayor: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso are running in the nonpartisan general election to succeed term-limited incumbent Eric Garcetti.
  14. Ohio Supreme Court: Three Republican-held seats on the seven-member court are up for election, meaning Democrats could win a majority.
  15. Arizona Secretary of State: Adrian Fontes (D) and Mark Finchem (R) are running to become Arizona’s chief elections officer.

Keep reading

Oklahoma marijuana initiative will not be on 2022 ballot but will be decided at a later election

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Sept. 21 that State Question 820, an initiative to legalize marijuana, could not be placed on the 2022 general election ballot because legal challenges were still pending and the question could not be printed in time for the state to meet its deadline to mail absentee ballots.

The court said the measure will be decided at a later election date, either Nov. 5, 2024, or at a special election. The governor can call special elections for ballot questions.

The Oklahoma secretary of state announced in August the campaign submitted enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot, opening a period for legal challenges from Sept. 1-15. Opponents filed four challenges. As of this writing, all four had been rejected, but two were still within the period where plaintiffs could request a re-hearing.

State law requires that ballot measures be certified for the ballot only after all challenges have been resolved and that the certification take place no later than 70 days before the election. This means a ballot measure would have needed to be certified by Aug. 29 to make the Nov. 8 ballot. Oklahoma law also requires that absentee ballots be printed and mailed 45 days before the election, or Sept. 24.

Proponents filed a lawsuit in the state supreme court to expedite the ballot title verification process and include the measure on the November 2022 ballot, arguing that “The new [signature verification] process took about 48 days from the time we turned in our signatures until the time they were verified. In the past, that was usually about two weeks or a little longer. It’s been a new process for them, which has caused a lot of missteps along the way. They have dropped the ball, which is why we have asked the Supreme Court to intervene.”

The court found proponents “have no clear legal right and [elections officials] have no plain legal duty to put SQ 820 on the November 8, 2022, general election ballot” unless it has met all statutory requirements and that “SQ 820 cannot be printed on ballots in time to comply with the deadline for mailing ballots to absentee voters.”

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Votes on the Arkansas initiative may not be counted pending a state Supreme Court ruling.

Keep reading 

Wyoming Republicans are likely to win more than 60% of all state legislative seats, maintaining majority control

Today is the 22nd day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Wyoming, the Cowboy State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada

On the ballot in Wyoming

Wyoming voters will elect one at-large representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney lost to Harriet Hageman in the Republican primary. 

Five state executive offices are on the ballot this year: governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and superintendent of public instruction.  

All 62 seats in the Wyoming House of Representatives and 16 of 31 seats in the Wyoming Senate are up for election. Twenty-one seats are open, including three newly-created seats—one in the state Senate and two in the state House. 

Ballotpedia is also covering three elections to the Cheyenne City Council. 

Redistricting highlights

Wyoming is one of six states that elects a single at-large representative.

At the state level, the Legislature voted to add one new seat to the state senate and two seats to the state house. 

State legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Wyoming: 

To interact with this tool and learn more about redistricting in Wyoming, click here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Wyoming’s U.S. Senators—John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis—are Republicans.
  • Wyoming’s at-large U.S. Representative, Liz Cheney, is a Republican.
  • Republicans hold a 28-2 majority in the state senate and a 51-7 (with one independent and one Libertarian) majority in the state house. Because the governor is a Republican, Wyoming is one of 23 Republican trifectas. It has held this status since 2011.
  • Wyoming has had a Republican governor since 2011.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex. 

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 54 state legislative seats in Wyoming, or 69% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 32% of all state legislative races. Fifty-three state legislative districts (68% of districts up) do not have a Democrat running, meaning the Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 99% of all state legislative races. Only one state legislative district (1% of districts up) does not have a Republican running, meaning the Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

  • U.S. House, Wyoming At-Large District: Harriet Hageman defeated incumbent Liz Cheney in the Aug. 16 Republican primary. Hageman faces Lynnette Grey Bull (D), Richard Brubaker (L), and Marissa Selvig (Constitution Party) in the general election.
  • Wyoming House of Representatives District 55: Incumbent Ember Oakley (R) and Bethany Baldes (L) are running. This race is a rematch. In 2020, Oakley defeated Baldes 50.2% to 49.4%, a margin of victory (MOV) of 0.8%. To view our coverage of the 2020 rematch races, click here. To view our margin-of-victory analysis for the 2020 state legislative elections, click here

Ballot measures

There are two statewide measures on the ballot this year:

  • Constitutional Amendment A: Would allow the Legislature to enact laws allowing for local governments to invest funds in stocks and equities. Legislation establishing or increasing the percentage of funds a local government could invest would require a two-thirds supermajority vote of the state legislature. Currently, the state constitution allows the state legislature to authorize certain state funds to be invested in stocks.
  • Judicial Retirement Age Amendment: Would increase the mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75 for state supreme court justices and district court judges. 

Between 2000 and 2020, 20 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots in Wyoming. Twelve (60%) ballot measures were approved, and eight (40%) ballot measures were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
  • Wyoming requires voters to present identification when voting. For more information about voter ID requirements in Wyoming, click here
  • Early voting is available from Sept. 23 to Nov. 7.
  • Voters can register to vote in person or by mail. The deadline to register in person is Nov. 8. The deadline for registering by mail is Oct. 24, with mailed forms received by the deadline.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Wyoming. No specific deadline is noted for absentee ballot applications. A completed absentee ballot must be received by election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day.  

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

Keep reading



Ballot measures on ballot measures—previewing five measures that could change the initiative process this year

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 21, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballot measures on ballot measures—previewing five measures that could change the initiative process this year
  2. Three candidates running for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia
  3. Arkansas voters to elect a new governor and decide four ballot measures

Ballot measures on ballot measures—previewing five measures that could change the initiative process this year

The final list of ballot measures for 2022 is nearly set, with one measure pending (see below for more). Here’s a rundown of the five measures that would change statewide initiative procedures:

  1. Arkansas Issue 2: Would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require a 60% vote to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. The measure would not affect veto referendums.
    1. Current law: Arkansas law currently requires that all ballot measures, including veto referendums, receive a simple majority (50%+1) in order to pass.
  2. Arizona Proposition 128: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if either the Arizona Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court has declared any portion invalid.
    1. Current law: As a result of the passage of Proposition 105 in 1998, also known as the Voter Protection Act, the Legislature may only amend voter-approved ballot initiatives to further the measure’s intended purpose. Such amendments require a three-fourths vote in both chambers of the Legislature.
  3. Arizona Proposition 129: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that citizen-initiated ballot measures have a single subject.
    1. Current law: Arizona does not currently have a single-subject rule. Of the 26 states that provide for at least one type of statewide citizen-initiated measure, 16 have single-subject rules.
  4. Arizona Proposition 132: Would amend the Arizona Constitution to require a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes.
    1. Current law: Arizona does not currently have a separate vote threshold for ballot measures that approve taxes. Ballot measures in Arizona require a simple majority (50.01%) of votes in favor in order to win approval.
  5. Colorado Proposition GG: Would require the ballot titles and fiscal impact summaries for initiatives related to income taxes to include information on how the change would affect income taxes on different categories of income.
    1. Current law: There is currently no requirement that ballot titles and fiscal impact summaries for initiatives related to income tax include information on how the changes would affect income taxes in different categories of income. There is a requirement that ballot titles for measures that would increase taxes be printed in all capital letters and follow a standard format.

Last June, voters rejected a measure in South Dakota called Amendment C 67%-32%. It would have changed the vote requirement from a simple majority to a 60% majority for ballot measures that increase taxes or required the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

Between 2010 and June 2022, there were 20 measures regarding the initiative process on the ballot. Voters approved 11 (55%) and rejected nine (45%).

The status of one potential 2022 measure, Oklahoma State Question 820, remains uncertain. 

Proponents submitted 164,000 signatures in support of the measure, which would legalize marijuana. On Aug. 22, Secretary of State Brian Bingman (R) said 117,000 of those signatures were valid, enough to place the measure on the ballot. During the 10-day challenge period following the announcement, opponents submitted four challenges to the measure.

The state supreme court dismissed two challenges to the validity of the signatures. The court did not dismiss the other two challenges, both of which claim the measure’s language is misleading. The court’s ruling will determine whether the measure makes it onto the November ballot.

State Question 820 is the last pending measure this year that could make it onto a statewide November 2022 ballot.

Keep reading

Three candidates running for U.S. Senate seat in Georgia

Among the states where control of the U.S. Senate will be decided in this year’s elections is Georgia. Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D), Herschel Walker (R), and Chase Oliver (L) are running for a six-year term in the U.S. Senate. We’ll be previewing battleground races across the country between now and election day; today, we turn to the U.S. Senate election in Georgia.

Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D), first elected in 2021, is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a pastor. Warnock says he has a record of working alongside both Democrats and Republicans, using his work alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on an infrastructure proposal as an example.

Herschel Walker (R) is a former Hall of Fame professional football player who served on the Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition under President Donald Trump (R). Walker says he is running to protect Georgia from President Joe Biden’s (D) policy agenda.

Chase Oliver (L) is a member of the Libertarian Party and has a background in the import shipping industry. He says he is running to represent individuals rather than interests.

Warnock is leading in fundraising, with $85 million raised as of the most recent fundraising reports to Walker’s $20 million and Oliver’s $8,000. Warnock and Walker are nearly tied in polling. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in the general election, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on Dec. 6. 

After former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned for health reasons in 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Kelly Loeffler (R) to the seat until a special election could be held to replace Isakson. Since no candidate won a majority of the vote in the special election on Nov. 3, 2020, Loeffler and Warnock advanced to a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. Warnock defeated Loeffler in the runoff election 51%-49%, becoming the first Democrat to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate since 2005.

The Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections each rate the race a toss-up.

Keep reading 

Arkansas voters to elect a new governor and decide four ballot measures

Today is the 17th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Arkansas, the Natural State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho

Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan

On the ballot in Arkansas

One member of the U.S. Senate and four members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election in Arkansas. All five incumbents are running for re-election. 

Seven state executive offices are up for election: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and public lands commissioner. Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) is term-limited. 

All 35 seats in the Arkansas Senate are up for election, as well as all 100 seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Incumbents did not run for re-election in 32 state legislative districts this year.

A general runoff election for Position 2 on the Arkansas Supreme Court will also take place on Nov. 8. 

Redistricting highlights

Arkansas did not gain or lose U.S. House districts after the 2020 census. 

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Arkansas: 

To use our tool to view Arkansas’ state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Arkansas redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of Arkansas’ U.S. Senators—John Boozman and Tom Cotton—are Republicans, as are all four of its members of the U.S. House. 
  • Republicans have a 27-7 majority in the state Senate and a 78-22 majority in the state House. Arkansas has been a Republican trifecta—with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature—since 2015. 
  • Arkansas is one of 23 Republican triplexes, meaning that the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state all belong to the Republican Party.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 88 state legislative seats in Arkansas, or 65% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 47% of all state legislative races. Seventy-one state legislative districts (53% of the total) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning the Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 87% of all state legislative races. Seventeen districts (13% of the total) do not have a Republican candidate, meaning the Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

  • Governor of Arkansas: Incumbent Asa Hutchinson (R) is term-limited. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R), daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Chris Jones (D), Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L), and four write-in candidates are running. The race is rated solid/safe Republican.  
  • Arkansas Supreme Court Position 2: Incumbent Robin Wynne is running against Chris Carnahan in the nonpartisan general runoff election for Arkansas Supreme Court Position 2. Wynne received 49.5% of the general election vote to Carnahan’s 28.8%. Wynne’s partisan leaning was not able to be determined during Ballotpedia’s 2020 study of state court partisanship. The Republican Party of Arkansas endorsed Carnahan in June 2022. 
  • Mayor of Little Rock: Four candidates, including incumbent Frank Scott Jr., filed to run in the nonpartisan election for mayor of Arkansas’ state capital. Media outlets have reported that Scott is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The election will go to a runoff if no candidate receives either a majority of the vote or at least 40% of the vote with the candidate in second place behind by at least 20% of the vote.

Ballot measures

Arkansas voters will decide four statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8: 

  • Arkansas Issue 1 would allow the Legislature to call itself into extraordinary sessions upon (a) a joint proclamation from the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore or (b) upon a proclamation signed by two-thirds of the members in each chamber. Currently, Arkansas is one of 14 states where only the governor can call a special session. 
  • Arkansas Issue 2 would require a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (both legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. Currently, ballot measures in Arkansas require a simple majority (50%+1) vote for approval.
  • Arkansas Issue 3 would amend the state constitution to provide that “government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”
  • Arkansas Issue 4 would legalize the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old, enact a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and require the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses.

In Arkansas, 44 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 2000 and 2020. Thirty-two ballot measures were approved, and 12 ballot measures were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. local time.
  • Arkansas requires voters to present photo identification while voting. For more information on voter ID requirements in Arkansas, click here
  • Early voting runs from Oct. 24 through Nov. 7. 
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 10. Registration may be done in person or by mail, with forms postmarked by the Oct. 10 deadline. Online registration and same-day registration are not allowed.
  • Certain Arkansas voters are eligible to vote absentee. A mailed ballot request must be received by Nov. 1. An absentee ballot may be requested in person through Nov. 4. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be received by Nov. 8. Absentee ballots returned in person must be returned by Nov. 4. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

Keep reading



Part 1 – Analysis of major party candidates on the primary ballot

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 14, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Part 1 – Analysis of major party candidates on the primary ballot 
  2. 137 measures have been certified for statewide ballots this year
  3. New Mexico’s lone Republican member of Congress faces a toss-up general election

Part 1 – Analysis of major party candidates on the primary ballot

Now that primary season is complete let’s look back at the data. Over the next two days we’ll tell you all about major party candidates and how many ran for office in this year’s primaries. Today, we look at congressional candidates. Keep an eye out for our analysis of state candidates in tomorrow’s edition.

More Republicans are running for Congress this year than in either 2020 or 2018, and Republicans make up a larger percentage of major party congressional candidates than in either year. 

In the House, each election year since 2018 has had fewer Democrats and more Republicans run. In the Senate, both parties have more candidates running this year than in either 2020 or 2018, although more Republicans are running than Democrats.

This year, 2,422 major party candidates appeared on the primary ballot for 474 seats in Congress. That included 34 U.S. Senate seats, all 435 U.S. House seats, and the seats of five of the six non-voting delegates to the U.S. House.

Of the 2,422 candidates who appeared on primary ballots, 989, or 40.8%, were Democrats, and 1,433, or 59.2%, were Republicans. 

U.S. Senate

There were 304 major party candidates on the primary ballot this year, including 119 Democrats, or 39.1% of all candidates who ran, and 185 Republicans, or 60.9% of all candidates who ran.

The 119 Democrats who appeared on the primary ballot this year were 11 more than the 108 who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and 33 more than the 86 who appeared in 2018.

The 185 Republicans who appeared on the ballot were 62 more than the 123 who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and 44 more than the 141 who appeared in 2018.

The percentage of major party candidates this year who ran as Democrats was lower than in 2020, when 46.8% of major party candidates did, but higher than in 2018 when 37.9% did.

Conversely, the percentage of major party candidates who ran as Republicans this year was higher than in 2020, when 53.3% did, but lower than in 2018 when 62.1% did.

There were 3.5 Democratic candidates on the ballot per U.S. Senate seat this year. That’s more than the 3.27 Democrats per seat who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and the 2.61 Democrats per seat who appeared in 2018.

There were 5.44 Republican candidates on the ballot per U.S. Senate seat in 2022. That’s more than the 3.73 Republicans per seat who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and the 4.27 Republicans per seat who appeared in 2018.

U.S. House

There were 2,118 major party candidates on the primary ballot this year, including 870 Democrats, or 41.1% of all candidates who ran, and 1,248 Republicans, or 58.9% of all candidates who ran.

The 870 Democrats who appeared on the primary ballot this year were 75 fewer than the 945 who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and 211 fewer than the 1,081 who appeared in 2018.

The 1,248 Republicans who appeared on the ballot were 195 more than the 1,053 who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and 382 more than the 866 who appeared in 2018.

The percentage of major party candidates this year who ran as Democrats was lower than in 2020 when 47.3% of major party candidates did, and in 2018 when 55.5% did.

Conversely, the percentage of major party candidates who identified as Republicans this year was higher than in 2020 when 52.7% did, and in 2018 when 44.5% did. 

There were 1.98 Democratic candidates on the ballot per U.S. House seat this year. That’s fewer than the 2.14 Democrats per seat who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and the 2.46 Democrats per seat who appeared in 2018.

There were 2.84 Republican candidates on the ballot per U.S. House seat in 2022. That’s more than the 2.39 Republicans per seat who appeared on the ballot in 2020 and the 1.06 Republicans per seat who appeared in 2018.

Keep reading

137 measures have been certified for statewide ballots this year

We’re close to having our final count of certified ballot measures for the Nov. 8 ballot. As of Sept. 14, election officials have certified 137 statewide measures for the ballot in 37 states, 28 fewer measures than the average number certified at this point in other even-numbered years from 2010 to 2020. 

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

Four new measures were certified for the ballot last week:

  1. Massachusetts Question 4, Remove Proof of Citizenship or Immigration Status for Driver’s License Applications Referendum
  2. Michigan Proposal 3, Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative
  3. Michigan Proposal 2, Right to Voting Policies Initiative
  4. North Dakota Term Limits for Governor and State Legislators Initiative

Proponents withdrew one certified measure from the ballot last week:

  1. Idaho Income Tax Increases for Education Funding Initiative

From 2010 to 2020, an average of 164 measures were certified in even-numbered years for a statewide vote. By this time during even-numbered years from 2010 through 2020, an average of 165 statewide measures had been certified for the ballot. This figure is lower than the average final total of 164 because courts can remove measures from the ballot before the election.

Keep reading 

New Mexico’s lone Republican member of Congress faces a toss-up general election

Today is the 12th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia

On the ballot in New Mexico

New Mexico voters will elect three members to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Twelve state executive offices are on the ballot this year: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, public lands commissioner, and five seats on the public education commission.

All 70 seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives are up for election. Elections for seats in the New Mexico Senate will next occur in 2024.

Two seats on the New Mexico Supreme Court are up for contested election, while a third justice is up for retention. Three seats on the New Mexico Court of Appeals are also up for election this year. Two of those will be contested elections and the third will be a retention election.

Ballotpedia is also covering 24 municipal elections in Bernalillo County: two seats on the county commission, county assessor, county sheriff, probate judge, and 19 seats on the metropolitan court.

Redistricting highlights

New Mexico’s U.S. House delegation remained at three members following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Visit our New Mexico redistricting page to use the map comparison tool and explore the changes to New Mexico’s congressional and state legislative district maps.

Partisan balance

  • Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators—Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján—are Democrats.
  • New Mexico’s U.S. House delegation consists of two Democrats and one Republican.
  • Democrats hold a 26-15 (with one independent) majority in the state Senate and a 44-24 (with one independent and one vacancy) majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Democrat, New Mexico is one of 14 Democratic trifectas. It has held this status since 2019.
  • New Mexico has had a Democratic governor since 2019.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Democrats, making the state one of 18 with a Democratic triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 36 state legislative seats in New Mexico, or 51% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win the district.

Democrats are running in 76% of all state legislative races. Seventeen state legislative races (24% of the total) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning a Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 73% of all state legislative races. Nineteen races (27% of the total) do not have a Republican candidate, meaning a Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

  • U.S. House, New Mexico District 2: Yvette Herrell, the state’s lone Republican member of Congress, won District 2 54%-46% in 2020. She faces Gabriel Vasquez (D) and Eliseo Luna (D) (Write-in) in the general election. Three independent election forecasters rate the election a Toss-up.
  • Governor of New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), first elected in 2018, is running for re-election. She faces Mark Ronchetti (R) and Karen Bedonie (L) in the general election. Three independent forecasters rate the election Lean Democratic. Lujan Grisham won her first term 57%-43%.

Ballot measures

There are six measures on the ballot this year, including:

  • New Mexico Appointed Judge Elections Amendment: Would require newly appointed judges to stand for retention at the next general election at least one year after their appointment. Currently, judges must stand for retention at the general election following their appointment.
  • Early Childhood Education Amendment: Would require a percentage of the Land Grant Permanent Fund be used to fund early childhood education and the public school permanent fund.

Between 1985 and 2020, 102 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots. Eighty-nine  (57.7%) ballot measures were approved, and 13 (12.8%) ballot measures were defeated. 

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
  • New Mexico generally does not require identification to vote. To read about the specific case where voter identification may be required, click here.
  • Early voting sites open on Oct. 11 and close on Nov. 5.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 11. Registration can be done in person, by mail, or online, with mailed forms received by the deadline.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

Keep reading



A sneak preview of upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary

Welcome to the Wednesday, September 7, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. A sneak preview of upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary
  2. Ranked-choice voting: How Alaska’s approach compares to the system proposed in Nevada
  3. Georgia voters may determine the partisan balance in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 8

A sneak preview of upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary

There are fewer upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary than at this point last month, according to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts. This month, there are 37 announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships, down from 42 at the beginning of August. There are currently 15 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Twenty-four vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench.

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. The president appoints nominees to these courts, and the U.S. Senate confirms them.

These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future, with every judge having announced an intention to either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges will continue to serve in their current positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Julie Rikelman was nominated to succeed Judge Sandra Lynch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit after Lynch assumes senior status upon Rikelman’s confirmation. 

The next scheduled vacancy will take place on Sept. 30 when U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani assumes senior status.

In addition to these 37 upcoming vacancies, 80 of the 870 Article III judgeships are vacant. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 82 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

President Biden has nominated 141 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Seventy-six of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 65 nominees going through the confirmation process, 22 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, five are awaiting a committee vote, and 38 are awaiting a committee hearing.

Biden’s 76 confirmed judicial nominees are the most at this point in any president’s first term since Bill Clinton (D), who had 85 confirmed nominees as of this point in 1994. The president during that time with the fewest confirmations at this point in his first term was Barack Obama (D) with 42.

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Ranked-choice voting: How Alaska’s approach compares to the system proposed in Nevada

Last week, the results of Alaska’s special election using ranked-choice voting were released. Let’s take a brief tour through how Alaska got RCV and how that compares to what voters in Nevada will see on the ballots this fall. Voters in Alaska approved Measure 2, which implemented a ranked-choice voting system, on Nov. 3, 2020. The measure passed 50.55% to 49.45%. Measure 2 replaced Alaska’s voting system with an open top-four primary and a general election conducted using ranked-choice voting. It also implemented new campaign finance disclosure requirements. 

Alaska’s adoption of Measure 2 made it the first state to adopt the top-four primary.

Before we dive into Nevada, here’s a refresh on how Alaska’s open top-four primary and ranked-choice voting general election system works:

In Alaska’s top-four open primary, the closed primary is replaced with an open primary. In a closed primary, only voters who are registered or affiliated with a particular party can participate in that party’s primary. In an open primary, any voter may participate and vote for any candidate regardless of their partisan affiliation. Candidates can also be unaffiliated with a political party. The voter selects their preferred primary candidate, with the top four vote-getters moving on to the general election. Alaska uses a top-four primary for state executive, state legislative, and congressional office.

In Alaska’s ranked-choice general election, the top four candidates, regardless of party affiliation, are on the ballot. Voters rank the four candidates by their preference. If a candidate is ranked at the top of a simple majority of ballots (50%+1), that candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. When a candidate is eliminated, a new round of counting begins where ballots cast for the eliminated candidate are counted for the voter’s next choice. The process continues until there are two candidates remaining, and the candidate with the most votes wins. In Alaska, a ranked-choice general election is used for state, congressional, and presidential elections.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, a ballot initiative is proposing a top-five ranked-choice voting system for the state. This system is similar to Alaska’s top-four system, but would allow five candidates to advance from the primary to the general election.

Both Nevada’s top-five primary and ranked-choice voting general would apply to congressional, gubernatorial, state executive official, and state legislative elections, but not presidential elections.

The Nevada Voters First PAC is sponsoring the ballot initiative that would adopt a top-five ranked-choice system in Nevada. The PAC raised $2.43 million, including $1 million from Katherine Gehl, the founder of the nonprofit Institute for Political Innovation. Protect Your Vote Nevada is leading the opposition effort and has raised $1.27 million so far. 

Several Democratic state legislators have spoken out against the initiative, saying it could be “confusing” or “time consuming”. Initiative supporters say it gives voters “more options”, and that it allows nonpartisan or independent voters a chance to vote in the primary.

Alaskans for Better Elections PAC and Yes on 2 for Better Elections PAC sponsored Measure 2, the ranked-choice voting initiative Alaska voters approved in 2020. Other supporters of the measure included Democratic, Republican, and Independent state senators and representatives in Alaska, as well as organizations like the League of Women Voters Alaska and RepresentUs. Measure 2 was opposed by the Defend Alaska Elections and Protect Our Elections campaigns. The Republican Party of Alaska also opposed the measure, as well as Republican state legislators and former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D). The campaigns in support of the measure raised $6.8 million, including $3.4 million from Unite America, a nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado. The campaigns in opposition to the measure raised $579,426, including $100,000 from the State Republican Leadership Committee.

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Georgia voters may determine the partisan balance in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 8

Today is the sixth day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Georgia, the Peach State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California

On the ballot in Georgia

At the federal level, Georgia voters will elect one senator and 14 representatives. 

At the state level, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and four seats on the state supreme court are up for election. 

All 56 seats in the state Senate and all 180 seats in the state Assembly are up for election.

Of the 14 U.S. House seats up for election, two are open. Of the 236 state legislative seats up for election, 51 are open. 

Additionally, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

Redistricting highlights

Georgia was apportioned 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census. 

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Georgia:  

To use our tool to view Georgia’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Georgia redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators–Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock–are Democrats. 
  • Democrats represent six of the state’s U.S. House districts. Republicans represent eight.
  • Republicans hold a 34-22 majority in the state Senate and a 103-76 majority in the state House. The governor–Brian Kemp–is a Republican, making Georgia one of the nation’s 23 Republican trifectas. Georgia has been a Republican trifecta since 2005. 
  • Georgia’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Republicans, making the state one of the nation’s 23 Republican triplexes.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 122 state legislative seats in Georgia, or 52% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running in 71% of all state legislative races. Sixty-eight state legislative seats (29% of all state legislative seats) do not have a Democratic candidate and are likely to be won by a Republican.

Republicans are running in 77% of all state legislative races. Fifty-four seats (23% of all state legislative seats) do not have a Republican candidate and are likely to be won by a Democrat.

Key races

  • Georgia gubernatorial election, 2022: Incumbent Brian Kemp (R), Stacey Abrams (D), and three others are running for governor of Georgia. This race is a rematch. In 2018, Kemp defeated Abrams 50% to 49%. To view our coverage of the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, click here.
  • U.S. Senate election in Georgia, 2022: Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D), Herschel Walker (R), and Chase Oliver (L) are running to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. Warnock won a 2021 special election to replace Johnny Isakson (R), who resigned for health reasons. Analysts have identified this as a key race in determining the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. 
  • Georgia Secretary of State, 2022: Incumbent Brad Raffensperger (R), Bee Nguyen (D), and two others are running for Georgia Secretary of State. Raffensperger’s dispute with former President Donald Trump (R) over the 2020 presidential election has drawn national attention to this race. 

Ballot measures

Georgia voters will decide four statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8, 2022: 

A total of 132 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Of that number, 105 ballot measures were approved, and 27 were defeated.

Voting

  • On Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. An individual in line at the time polls close must be allowed to vote. 
  • Georgia requires voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about voter ID requirements in Georgia, click here
  • Early voting in Georgia is available to all voters. Early voting starts on Oct. 17 and ends on Nov. 4.
  • The voting registration deadline in Georgia is Oct. 11. Registration can be done online, in person, or by mail. Georgia does not allow same-day voter registration.
  • Any voter registered in Georgia can vote absentee by mail. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28. Ballots can be returned in person or by mail. Ballots must be received by Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. 
  • To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 6, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections
  2. President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 42%, highest since May
  3. Jonathan Skrmetti starts term as Tennessee attorney general

Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections

Our 50 states in 50 days continues with a look at elections in California, the Golden State. Long-time Brew readers will remember this from 2018 and 2020. In this series, we will preview what’s on the ballot in each state, which parties control state and congressional offices, and what you should know to cast your ballot. The next 45 Brew issues take us all the way up to the general election. So—buckle up!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

On the ballot in California

California voters will participate in both a general and special election for the U.S. Senate seat Vice President Kamala Harris (D) previously held. The special election will fill the seat through January 2023, when Harris’ term would have ended. The general election will be for a new term through January 2029. U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D), appointed in January 2021, is running in both elections.

Voters will also elect California’s 52 U.S. House members, the country’s largest state delegation.

Twelve state executive offices are on the ballot this year. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who won a recall election in 2021, is running for re-election. The other offices on the ballot are: lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner, and four seats on the state board of equalization.

All 80 seats in the California Assembly and 20 of the 40 seats in the California Senate are up for election. Twenty-seven incumbents (10 in the Senate and 17 in the Assembly) are not running for re-election.

Four of the seven justices on the California Supreme Court must stand for retention this year. Forty-one judges across the state’s six appellate court districts will also stand for retention.

For local offices, 98 school boards, 17 cities, and 11 counties that fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope are holding elections this year.

Click here for more information about the races on the ballot this year.

Redistricting highlights

California was apportioned 52 seats in the U.S. House after the 2020 census, one fewer than the 53 it was apportioned after the 2010 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after redistricting in California: 

To use our tool to view California’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our California redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of California’s U.S. Senators—Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla—are Democrats.
  • California’s U.S. House delegation consists of 42 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
  • Democrats hold a 31-9 majority in the state Senate and a 60-19 (with one independent) majority in the state Assembly. Because the governor is a Democrat, California is one of 14 Democratic trifectas. It has held this status since 1995.
  • California has had a Democratic governor since 2011. Its last Republican governor was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Democrats, making the state one of 18 with a Democratic triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 26 state legislative seats in California, or 26% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are running in 94% of all state legislative races. Six state legislative districts do not have a Democratic candidate and are likely to elect a Republican.

Republicans are running in 80% of all state legislative races. Twenty districts do not have a Republican candidate and are likely to elect a Democrat.

Key races

  • Los Angeles Mayor: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso are running in the nonpartisan general election. In the top-two primary, Caruso received 43.1% of the vote and Bass received 36.0%. Caruso is a retail development executive and served on the USC Board of Trustees. Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Mayor Eric Garcetti is term-limited.
  • U.S. House, California District 13: Adam Gray (D) and John Duarte (R) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Duarte received 34.1% of the vote and Gray received 30.7%. Barbara Lee (D) represents the current 13th District, which includes Oakland and Berkeley. The new 13th District covers portions of the state’s Central Valley north and west of Fresno.
  • U.S. House, California District 22: Rep. David Valadao (R) and Rudy Salas (D) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Salas received 45.4% of the vote and Valadao received 25.6%. A third candidate, Chris Mathys (R), received 23.1% in the primary. Valadao currently represents the 21st District.
  • U.S. House, California District 27: Rep. Mike Garcia (R) and Christy Smith (D) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Garcia received 49.6% of the vote and Smith received 35.4%. Smith lost to Garcia in a 2020 special election by 17,000 votes and lost the 2020 general election by 333 votes.

Ballot measures

There are seven measures on the ballot this year, including:

  • Proposition 1: Would provide a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, including the right to an abortion. The Legislature proposed this amendment in response to the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
  • Propositions 26 and 27: Both deal with legalizing sports betting. Proposition 26 would legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks, while Proposition 27 would legalize mobile sports betting. These measures have already raised the most money in statewide ballot measure history. Campaigns for and against Proposition 27 have raised a combined $214 million so far, while campaigns for and against Proposition 26 have raised a combined $115 million.
  • Proposition 30: Would increase the tax on personal income above $2 million by another 1.75% from the current 13.3% rate and allocate the revenue to the Clean Cars and Clean Air Trust Fund. Proponents include the California Democratic Party, Lyft, and 2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer (D). Opponents include Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the Republican Party of California, and the California Teachers Association.

Between 1985 and 2020, California voters decided 395 statewide ballot measures. Voters approved 228 (57.7%) ballot measures and rejected 167 (42.3%). 

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
  • California generally does not require identification to vote. To read about the specific case where voter identification may be required, click here.
  • Early voting sites open on Oct. 10 and close on Nov. 7.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 24. Registration can be completed in person, by mail, or online, with mailed forms received by the deadline.
  • California provides for universal, automatic mail-in voting in all elections. Voters may choose to cast their ballots in person. Mail ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

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President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 42%, highest since May

Polling averages at the end of August showed President Joe Biden (D) at 42% approval, the highest rating he’s received since May. Fifty-four percent of voters disapprove of his performance.

Biden last had a 42% approval rating on May 19, 2022. The lowest approval rating he’s received is 38%, last reached on July 27, 2022. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.

Congress was at 21% approval and 56% disapproval at the end of August. The highest approval rating Congress has received during President Biden’s term was 36% on July 16, 2021, and its lowest rating was 14% on Jan. 26, 2022.

As of the end of August, 26% of voters said the country was headed in the right direction. The highest proportion of voters who felt this way during Biden’s term was 44% on March 31, 2021, and the lowest was 18% on July 11, 2022.

At the same time in 2018, the same point during his first term, President Donald Trump’s (R) approval was one percentage point higher at 43%, and congressional approval was three points lower at 19%.The percentage of voters who felt the country was headed in the right direction was 11 percentage points higher at 37%.

Ballotpedia’s polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last 30 days to calculate presidential and congressional approval ratings. We average the results and show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. The data is updated daily as new polling results are published.

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Jonathan Skrmetti starts term as Tennessee attorney general

Jonathan Skrmetti’s (R) term as Tennessee attorney general began Sept. 1. The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed Skrmetti to the position on Aug. 10 to replace Herbert H. Slatery (R). Slatery chose not to seek reappointment after his eight-year term expired.

Tennessee is unique in that the state supreme court, rather than the governor, appoints the attorney general. Forty-three states elect the attorney general. In five more, the governor appoints the attorney general. In Maine, the state legislature appoints the attorney general.

Before this appointment, Skrmetti served as Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) chief legal counsel. From 2018 to 2021, he was the chief deputy to the attorney general. Skrmetti graduated from Harvard Law School.  

Tennessee is one of 23 states with a Republican triplex. A state government triplex occurs when the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same party.

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More state legislative seats are open this year than at any point since 2012

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 31, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. More state legislative seats are open this year than at any point since 2012
  2. Medicaid, marijuana, and multiple uncontested Republicans on the ballot in South Dakota
  3. Candidates advance in Alaska congressional elections

More state legislative seats are open this year than at any point since 2012

The number of open state legislative seats, those where no incumbents are running, is at its highest point in a decade.

Open seats contribute to incumbent turnover. Since no incumbents are present, a newcomer is guaranteed to win every open seat.

There are 1,495 open seats this year, meaning newcomers will win at least 24% of all seats up for election

Open seats can occur because an incumbent leaves office or runs for re-election in a different district than the one they currently represent.

Term limits, which can require an incumbent to leave office, also affect the number of open seats. Fourteen states holding elections this year have term limits for state legislators.

This year’s state legislative elections are taking place under new district lines adopted following the 2020 census, leading to more open seats. There are 64 state legislative seats nationwide that are open because the incumbent is running for re-election to the same chamber in a different district and no other incumbent is running.

There were 252 term-limited state legislators in 2022, representing 4.0% of all seats up for election. This is a larger number than in 2020 and 2014 but lower than in 2018 and 2016. 

While the number of term-limited legislators increased this year, the effect these limits have on the overall number of open seats lessened.

Typically, term limits have accounted for 23 or 24% of all open seats. This year, term limits account for 17% of those seats.

Here’s a breakdown of how open seats figures vary by state:

  • There are four states where more than 40% of seats up for election are open: Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, and Nebraska. All four states have term limits.
  • There are 18 states where between 25% and 40% of seats are open.
  • There are 15 states where between 10% and 25% of seats are open.
  • There are nine states, none of which have term limits, where less than 10% of seats are open.

Nebraska had the highest percentage of open seats this year, with 54% (13) seats open. However, Nebraska is also the state with the fewest seats up for election this year (24). In Arizona, where all 90 seats are open, 48% (43) are open.

Utah had the lowest rate of open seats this year at 9% of seats up (eight open seats).

Use the link below to view more historical state- and chamber-specific data about open state legislative seats.

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Medicaid, marijuana, and multiple uncontested Republicans on the ballot in South Dakota

Today is the third day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring South Dakota, the Mount Rushmore State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana

On the ballot in South Dakota

South Dakota voters will elect one U.S. Senator and one at-large representative to the U.S. House.

All elected state executive offices are on the ballot, including the governorship and the offices of secretary of state and attorney general. 

Monae Johnson (R) defeated incumbent Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R), first elected in 2018, at the state Republican Party convention. In 2021, Barnett sponsored a bill to create an online voter registration system. The bill did not pass. Johnson campaigned against online voter registration. Johnson faces Tom Cool (D) in the general election.

This is also the first election following the impeachment and removal of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R). Former Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) is the only candidate on the general election ballot and will return to office.

Voters will also elect a treasurer, auditor, commissioner of school and public lands, and one of the three positions on the state’s public utilities commission.

All 105 state legislative seats are up for election: 70 in the House and 35 in the Senate. Thirty-four seats are open, guaranteeing newcomers will make up at least 32% of the legislature next year.

Two state supreme court justices must stand for retention elections.

Click here for more information about the races on the ballot this year.

Redistricting highlights

  • South Dakota’s number of congressional districts remained the same at one, making it one of six states that elects a single at-large representative.
  • State legislative elections will take place under new district lines. Our side-by-side map comparison tool shows how redistricting affected those districts. Here are the state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in South Dakota:

To interact with this tool and learn more about redistricting in South Dakota, click here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of South Dakota’s U.S. senators—Mike Rounds and John Thune—are Republicans.
  • South Dakota’s at-large U.S. representative, Dusty Johnson, is a Republican.
  • Republicans hold a 32-3 majority in the state Senate and a 62-8 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Republican, South Dakota is one of 23 Republican trifectas. It has held this status since 1995.
  • South Dakota has had a Republican governor since 1979, the longest current streak for the party in the country.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 57 state legislative seats in South Dakota, or 54% of the seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that party is effectively guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are contesting 46% of all state legislative seats. Fifty-seven seats (54%) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning a Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are contesting all state legislative seats, meaning there are no seats where a Democrat is all but guaranteed to win.

Key races

  • South Dakota’s House District 12: In this two-member district, Rep. Greg Jamison (R) is running for re-election and Rep. Arch Beal (R) is running for state Senate, leaving his seat open. Beal placed second in 2020, defeating Erin Royer (D) by 0.37 percentage points, the 34th-narrowest state legislative margin of victory in the country last cycle. Royer is running again this year along with Kristin Hayward (D) and Amber Arlint (R).

Ballot measures

There are two statewide measures on the ballot in 2022.

  • Constitutional Amendment D would require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level.
  • Initiated Measure 27 would legalize marijuana use, possession, and distribution for individuals 21 years and older. Voters approved a similar measure in 2020 with 54% of the vote. The state supreme court declared that measure unconstitutional last year.

In South Dakota, 112 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-nine were approved, and 63 were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
  • South Dakota requires identification to vote. For more information about voter ID requirements in South Dakota, click here.
  • Early voting is available to all voters beginning on Sept. 23 and ending on Nov. 7.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 24. Registration can be done in person or by mail, with mailed forms received by the deadline.
  • All voters are eligible to cast absentee/mail-in ballots, which must be received by county election officials by 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, either delivered in person or mailed. The deadline to request an absentee/mail-in ballot is Nov. 7. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

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Candidates advance in Alaska congressional elections

Alaska voters will choose between three Republicans and one Democrat in both congressional elections ongoing in the state this year, based on preliminary election results from the Aug. 16 top-four primary.

In use for the first time this year, the top-four primary system places all candidates running for a given office on the same primary ballot. The top four finishers, regardless of their partisan affiliation, advance to the general election, which is conducted via ranked-choice voting.

In the U.S. House election, Mary Peltola (D), Sarah Palin (R), Nicholas Begich (R), and Tara Sweeney (R) were the top four finishers. As of this writing, Peltola had 37% of the vote, followed by Palin with 30%, Begich with 26%, and Sweeney with 4%. 

Sweeney announced on Aug. 23 that she would withdraw from the race, meaning the fifth-place finisher would take her spot on the general election ballot. As of this writing, Chris Bye (L) was the next-place finisher with 0.6% of the vote, followed by J.R. Myers (L) with 0.3%.

In the U.S. Senate election, the top four finishers were Lisa Murkowski (R), Kelly Tshibaka (R), Patricia Chesbro (D), and Buzz Kelley (R). Murkowski led with 45% of the vote, followed by Tshibaka with 39%, Chesbro with 7%, and Kelley with 2%.

As of this writing, the special election for Alaska’s at-large House district remained too close to call. Alaska held a special election for U.S. House Aug. 16 to fill the vacancy created when U.S. Rep. Don Young (R) died in March. 

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Ballotpedia report provides first-ever comprehensive breakdown of U.S. school board members

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 24, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballotpedia report provides first-ever comprehensive breakdown of U.S. school board members
  2. Subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries for the latest updates 
  3. Initiative to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services certified for Arizona ballot

Ballotpedia report provides first-ever comprehensive breakdown of U.S. school board members

The U.S. education system is a patchwork of local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and funding. The multilayered nature of this system has made comprehensive data on the number of school districts and school board members in the country difficult to assemble. However, a new Ballotpedia report fills this long-standing knowledge gap with objective, comprehensive data about all public school districts in the country. 

Our team combined original research—including scouring district and school board websites and email and phone outreach—with data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  

This report does not include private or charter schools or schools lacking their own school board.

Here’s what we found.

The big picture

  • The U.S. school system is composed of 13,194 districts. 
  • Around 82,423 elected school board members represent those districts (this figure includes vacancies). 
  • The average number of school board members per district ranges from 3.45 in West Virginia to 9.97 in Connecticut. Hawaii, with one overarching school district across seven islands, has nine board members. 

Men make up a greater percentage of school board members

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women made up approximately 50.1% of the total U.S. population in 2019, while men made up approximately 48.9% of the population. How does that compare to the composition of male and female school board members? 

Nationwide, 52.15% of school board members are male, while 43.29% are female. We were unable to determine gender information for the remaining school board members (around 4.5%). 

The gender breakdown varies by state. The five states with the highest percentage of male school board members are:

  • Arkansas (63.90%)
  • Oklahoma (63.65%)
  • Tennessee (63.57%)
  • Texas (63.35%)
  • Nebraska (60.74%)

The five states with the highest percentage of female school board members are:

  • Florida (59.02%)
  • Alaska (58.59%)
  • Maryland (56.98%)
  • Arizona (55.77%)
  • Maine (54.79%)

Texas has the most school districts and the most school board members, but Connecticut has the most board members per district

Every state has at least one school district—and most states have more than 100. Hawaii, with one district, is an outlier. The Hawaii State Department of Education is a single district that oversees 257 schools across seven islands. Similarly, one district oversees all 116 schools in the District of Columbia. 

Texas has more districts than any other state—1,022 (California, with 977, is not far behind). Aside from Hawaii, Delaware, with 19 school districts, is the state with the fewest districts. 

While Texas has the highest number of school districts and school board members, Connecticut has the most school board members per district—9.97. Texas has 6.84 board members per district, while California has 5.04. West Virginia has the fewest board members per district, at 3.45. 

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Subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries for the latest updates 

With last night’s primaries in Florida and New York wrapped up, just three primary dates remain in the 2022 calendar. Massachusetts will hold its primary on Sept. 6, followed by Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island on Sept. 13. Louisiana’s primaries, which are held under a majority-vote system, take place on Nov. 8.

Primary season may be wrapping up, but our coverage in Heart of the Primaries continues. First launched in January 2018, our free weekly newsletter comes in two editions – one covering Democratic primaries and one covering Republican primaries. In each issue, we shed light on candidate policy differences, keep tabs on where PACs and other donor groups are putting their money (and why!), and bring you the latest polling numbers, election results, and endorsements. 

Our next edition goes out tomorrow, Aug. 25. Here are some of the stories we’re working on:

  • Florida and New York: We’ll be breaking down top battleground primary results from Florida and New York, including the Democratic primary for governor of Florida and the nominating contest in New York’s 12th Congressional District—this year’s final primary to pit two incumbent members of Congress against one another.
  • Top-five primaries preview in Nevada: We’re previewing an amendment to the Nevada constitution voters will consider in November. It would replace Nevada’s existing primary system with a top-five primary followed by a ranked-choice general election, similar to the top-four system that went into effect in Alaska this year.
  • Rhode Island gubernatorial preview: This week’s Democratic edition will include a deep dive into Rhode Island’s primary for governor, where incumbent Dan McKee faces four challengers. Polling suggests the race will be close.
  • New Hampshire Senate preview: In the Republican edition, we’ll be looking at the primary for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. Eleven candidates are running for the nomination to challenge incumbent Maggie Hassan (D). Polls indicate there is no clear leader.

Click the link below to browse past editions and subscribe to our free coverage of the primaries that will shape the future of the Democratic and Republican parties.

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Initiative to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services certified for Arizona ballot

Arizonans will decide a ballot initiative designed to limit interest rates on debt from healthcare services. It’s the first initiative certified for the ballot in Arizona for November. Two other initiatives are undergoing signature verification. One would require any independent expenditure of $50,000 or more on a statewide campaign or $25,000 or more on a local campaign to include a disclosure of the names of all original sources who contributed $5,000 or more. The other would make changes to the state’s voting policy, including authorizing the funding of election drop boxes and voting equipment, requiring that voters on the early voting list automatically receive a ballot without needing to request one directly, and introducing same-day voter registration. There are also eight legislative referrals on the ballot.

On Aug. 17, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Frank Moskowitz rejected a legal challenge to the measure that alleged paid petition circulators had not properly registered with the secretary of state’s office.

The measure would set limits on interest rates for debt accumulated from receiving healthcare services to match either the weekly average one-year constant maturity treasury yield or 3%, whichever is less. It would increase the amount of homestead exempt from debt collection from $150,000 to $400,000. It would also increase the amount of value of household furnishings, motor vehicles, bank accounts, and disposable earnings exempt from debt collection processes.

In order to qualify for the ballot, signature petitioners needed to collect at least 237,645 valid signatures. Signatures were verified through a random sampling process. Arizonans Fed Up with Failing Healthcare submitted 472,296 signatures to the secretary of state on July 7. Of those signatures, the secretary of state’s office estimated 333,958 are valid.

Depending on whether the two pending initiatives qualify for the ballot, Arizona voters will decide between nine and 11 ballot measures this year, the most since at least 2012. In the five previous even-numbered years, Arizona voters decided an average of 4.6 ballot measures per year. During that time, 2020 had the fewest measures on the ballot (two), and 2012 had the most (nine).

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Early voting is less than one month away

Welcome to the Monday, August 22, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Less than one month left until the start of early voting
  2. Looking ahead to Florida’s primaries
  3. Previewing tomorrow’s primaries in New York’s 10th and 12th congressional districts

Less than one month left until the start of early voting

Primary season hasn’t quite finished – but let’s take a look ahead to when early voting begins.

Voters in Pennsylvania are first up – they will be able to head to the polls and vote early in the 2022 election starting Monday, Sept. 19—four weeks from today. By the end of September, early voting will have started in eight other states.

Thirty-two more states will allow early voting starting in October, and another three will allow a period of early voting during the first week of November. Five states do not allow early voting. As of this writing, information was not available on the start of early voting in Maine. Maine statute requires that early voting begin as soon as ballots are printed, which must take place between 30 and 45 days before the election. This year early voting in Maine will begin between Sept. 24 and Oct. 9 and will run through Nov. 3.

Of the states that do allow early voting, the average early voting period lasts 21 days, or three weeks. The three states with the longest early voting period are Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, each of which allows early voting between Friday, Sept. 23, and Monday, Nov. 7. This 46-day early voting period is more than double the national average.

Nine states have an early voting period shorter than 10 days, including three with early voting periods less than one week long. Of the states that are holding early voting, none has a shorter timeframe than Kentucky. Voters there can vote early starting Thursday, Nov. 3, through Saturday, Nov. 5.

The most common day of the week for early voting to start this year is Monday; nine states will open early voting periods on Monday. Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday follow, with eight states opening early voting on each. The only day of the week that no states open early voting periods on is Sunday.

No state has a longer delay between the primary date and the beginning of early voting this year than Texas, with 237 days between the state’s first-in-the-nation primaries on March 1 and the start of its early voting period on Oct. 24. The shortest delay will be in Rhode Island, where just 36 days separate the Sept. 13 primaries from the beginning of early voting on Oct. 19. The average delay between the primaries and the beginning of early voting is 107 days, or roughly three and a half months.

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Looking ahead to Florida’s primaries

Florida’s statewide primaries are tomorrow, Aug. 23, the 16th primary date so far this year. Let’s break down the races that will be on the primary ballot:

Congressional elections

All 28 of Florida’s U.S. House seats and one of its two U.S. Senate seats will be up for election this year. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) advanced directly to the general election ballot because no Republicans filed to challenge him. Four candidates are running for the Democratic nomination, which political observers expect U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D) will win.

Florida was one of six states to gain U.S. House seats in the round of apportionment following the 2020 census, going from 27 seats up to 28. All 28 of those seats will be up for election this year. There are six districts—the 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 15th, and 22nd—where no incumbent is running. There is also one district, the 2nd, where two incumbents will face one another in the general election. There are 38 contested U.S. House primaries in Florida this year out of 56 potential primaries, a decade high.

State-level elections

At the state level, Florida voters will elect candidates to five state executive offices, including the governorship, and all 160 state legislative seats—40 in the state Senate and 120 in the state House.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is unopposed in the Republican primary, but we’ll be watching the Democratic primary. The four candidates on the ballot include former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D). The other contested state executive primaries include the Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and the Democratic and Republican primaries for the agriculture commissioner office Fried is vacating.

Florida will hold 81 contested state legislative primaries this year, representing 25% of the possible number. Forty-nine are Republican primaries, and 32 are Democratic. The 376 candidates who filed for state legislature this year include 114 incumbents, 32 of whom (28%) will face contested primaries. This is the highest rate at which state legislative incumbents have faced contested primaries in Florida since at least 2012. The contested primaries involving incumbents include 19 Republican and 13 Democratic primaries.

Republicans currently control majorities in both state legislative chambers, with a 23-16 majority in the state Senate with one vacancy and a 76-42 majority in the state House with two vacancies. Florida has had a Republican trifecta since Rick Scott (R) won the gubernatorial election in 2010.

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Previewing tomorrow’s primaries in New York’s 10th and 12th congressional districts

Florida won’t be the only state on tomorrow’s election calendar. Voters in New York will also head to the polls to nominate candidates for state Senate and U.S. House (candidates for other offices were selected in an earlier round of primaries on June 28). On Friday, we previewed the Republican primary in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Now, let’s take a look at the Democratic contests in the 10th and 12th congressional districts.

New York’s 10th: Twelve candidates compete for newly-drawn seat

Twelve candidates are running in New York’s 10th Congressional District Democratic primary on Aug. 23, 2022. Candidates receiving significant media attention are U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones, who was elected in 2020 to represent the 17th District and is running in the 10th after redistricting; prosecutor Daniel Goldman; former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman; state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou; New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera; and state Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio withdrew from the race on July 19.

The New York Times wrote that the redrawn 10th District includes “some of New York’s most politically engaged and diverse neighborhoods: Greenwich Village, Wall Street, Chinatown, Park Slope, Sunset Park and even parts of Borough Park, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish stronghold.” The Times called the primary “a contest not so much of ideas — almost every major candidate has condemned threats to abortion rights and bemoaned the lack of strict limits on guns — as of brute force, blunt ambition and identity politics.”

Axios called the district “a potential venue for Democrats to expose various internal rifts as candidates fight for a simple plurality of the vote, where the winner can advance with far less than 50%.”

The 17th District Jones was elected to does not overlap with the redrawn 10th. Jones’ campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt said that Jones “refused to primary fellow Black progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman when his residence was drawn into Bowman’s district. … He also wanted to avoid a member-on-member primary with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.” Maloney was elected to represent the 18th District starting in 2013 and is running in the redrawn 17th.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Goldman on Aug. 17.

New York’s 12th: 2022’s final incumbent vs. incumbent primary

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, Suraj Patel, and Ashmi Sheth are running in the Democratic primary for New York’s 12th Congressional District on Aug. 23. Maloney, Nadler, and Patel lead in endorsements, funding, and media attention.

This race is the last of six primaries featuring two U.S. House incumbents in 2022.

Maloney currently represents the 12th District as it was drawn before redistricting, and Nadler represents the old 10th District. Heading into the election, Maloney represents 61% of the redrawn 12th District’s population, and Nadler represents 39%, according to Daily Kos data.

Both representatives were first elected in 1992. Maloney chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee. Maloney and Nadler are both members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and are campaigning as progressives.

Patel, an attorney, was a campaign staffer for Barack Obama’s (D) presidential campaigns. Patel challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020, receiving 40% of the vote to Maloney’s 60% in 2018 and 39% to Maloney’s 43% in 2020.

Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Maloney on Aug. 17.

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Harris at 26 tie-breaking votes, most ever cast in a single term

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 17, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Harris at 26 tie-breaking votes, most ever cast in a single term
  2. We’ve got Aug. 16 election results!
  3. Campaign to increase vote threshold for new or increased taxes in California submits signatures for a place on the 2024 ballot

Harris at 26 tie-breaking votes, most ever cast in a single term

Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has cast the most tie-breaking votes in the Senate during a single vice presidential term in American history. Harris is followed by John Adams, who cast 20 tie-breaking votes during his first vice presidential term, and George M. Dallas, who cast 19 tie-breaking votes during his one term in office.

Harris cast three tie-breaking votes in the U.S. Senate related to the Inflation Reduction Act. On Aug. 6, she cast a vote to proceed with debate on the bill, and on Aug. 7 she cast votes to approve an amendment and to pass the bill.

During her tenure, Harris has also cast 20 tie-breaking votes related to confirmations and three related to the American Rescue Plan, bringing her total to 26.

Accounting for a vice president’s full tenure, Harris has cast the third most tie-breaking votes. John C. Calhoun cast the most (31), followed by John Adams (29).

Among vice presidents who have held office since 1981, Mike Pence (R) cast 13 tie-breaking votes, Dick Cheney (R) eight, and George H.W. Bush (R) seven.

Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the vice president also serves as the president of the Senate. In this capacity, the Senate President casts the deciding vote when there is a tie in the Senate. 

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We’ve got Aug. 16 election results!

Yesterday, voters in Alaska and Wyoming headed to the polls for statewide primaries. Our team worked into the night to collect results and track the highest-profile battlegrounds as calls became available. We’ll have more on the results and their implications for November in tomorrow’s Brew.

In the meantime, our Aug. 16 elections hub has the latest results and links to further coverage. You can also subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries, our weekly dive into key congressional, legislative, and executive races. The next edition comes out Thursday! 

Click the links below to jump directly to our coverage of last night’s battlegrounds:

Alaska

Wyoming

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Campaign to increase vote threshold for new or increased taxes in California submits signatures for a place on the 2024 ballot

Californians for Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability submitted more than 1.1 million signatures for a ballot initiative to increase the vote requirement for new taxes and define levies, charges, and fees as taxes in the California Constitution that would appear on the 2024 ballot.

Currently, state tax increases require a two-thirds vote in favor in each chamber or a simple majority vote in a statewide election. Taxes can be reduced with a simple majority legislative vote. 

Under the amendment, proposals to increase tax rates or introduce new taxes would require approval from both a two-thirds legislative vote in each chamber and by a simple majority of voters. The amendment would also increase the vote requirement for local taxes that local governments or citizens propose to a two-thirds majority of local voters.

The amendment would require a bill proposing or increasing a tax to include the duration of the tax, an estimate of the annual revenue from the tax, a statement regarding the use of the revenue for specific or general purposes, and the ballot title and summary for the tax measure question. The initiative would authorize exempt charges not to be included in the definition of a tax. It would place the burden of proof on the state to present clear and convincing evidence that a charge is an exempt charge and not a tax.

To learn more about how the initiative would define an exempt charge, click here.

The committee behind the initiative initially aimed for the 2022 ballot but missed the June 30 signature submission deadline. The committee has raised more than $15.2 million. The top donors to the committee include California Business Roundtable Issues PAC ($5.5 million), AMR Holdco Inc. ($3.1 million), Douglas Emmett Properties ($1.5 million), Kilroy Realty LP ($1.5 million), and Michael K. Hayde ($1.4 million).

Groups that oppose the initiative include AFSCME California, California Contract Cities Association, California Professional Firefighters, California State Council of Laborers, SEIU California State Council, and League of California Cities.

Three initiatives have qualified for the 2024 ballot. They relate to establishing an institute on pandemic prevention research, increasing the state’s minimum wage, and changing the process for remedying labor violations.

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A third state will vote on marijuana legalization this November

Welcome to the Thursday, August 11, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. A third state will vote on marijuana legalization this November
  2. Reviewing the results of this week’s primaries
  3. Both candidates in the election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional district complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

A third state will vote on marijuana legalization this November

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) announced Tuesday that a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana qualified for the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The citizen-initiated ballot measure, led by the Legal Missouri 2022 campaign, needed 171,592 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Legal Missouri 2022 submitted more than 385,000 signatures in May.

If approved, the measure would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. It would also allow personal cultivation of marijuana with prescribed limits and regulations and impose a six percent tax on the retail price of marijuana. It would also allow people with a record of certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and to have their records expunged. It would also establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates for cultivation and sale and distribute licenses within each congressional district.

Currently, medicinal marijuana is legal for those with a medical ID card in Missouri.

John Payne, the campaign manager of Legal Missouri 2022, said, “We look forward to engaging with voters across the state in the coming weeks and months. Missourians are more than ready to end the senseless and costly prohibition of marijuana.”

Supporters of the initiative include the ACLU of Missouri, the NAACP of St. Louis City, and NORML of Kansas City. “Cannabis reform is about more than establishing a safe and legal market,” said Jamie Kacz, the executive director of NORML KC, “It is about righting the many wrongs prohibition has caused to our communities, especially communities of color.”

Christina Thompson, with ShowMe Canna-Freedom, is critical of the regulations regarding commercial licenses. Thompson said, “This initiative eliminates nearly all competition through constitutionally protected license caps. Recreational licenses created under the initiative will go straight to established businesses as well, meaning instead of opening up more business opportunities for others, money only goes to those who are already profiting.”

The Missouri initiative joins two other marijuana legalization ballot measures that will appear on the ballot in the November general election–a constitutional amendment in Maryland and an initiated state statute in South Dakota.

There are now five certified measures on the Missouri ballot for November 2022. So far, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, 12 of which did so via a ballot measure and seven of which did so via legislation. Medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, 19 of which legalized via legislation and 18 of which legalized via a ballot measure.

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Reviewing the results of this week’s primaries

Ballotpedia covered statewide primaries in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin Tuesday. Be sure to subscribe to our free weekly The Heart of the Primaries newsletter for more on these primaries. In the meantime, here’s a look at results in some of the races we were watching:

  • Michels wins GOP nomination for governor of Wisconsin: Tim Michels defeated Rebecca Kleefisch and three other candidates to win the Republican nomination for governor of Wisconsin. Michels had 47% of the vote to Kleefisch’s 42%. National observers cast the race in terms of competing endorsements. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Michels, while former Vice President Mike Pence (R) and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) endorsed Kleefisch.
  • Mandela Barnes wins Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate: Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes won 78% of the vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, defeating seven other candidates. The only three candidates besides Barnes who raised more than $1 million each unofficially withdrew in the last week of July and endorsed Barnes.
  • Finstad holds MN-01 for GOP: Brad Finstad (R) defeated Jeff Ettinger (D) and two other candidates 51% to 47% in a special election for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. The previous incumbent, Jim Hagedorn (R), died in February. Finstad’s margin of victory was greater than Hagedorn’s 49% to 46% win in 2020 and his 50.1% to 49.7% win in 2018. Finstad and Ettinger are also running in the November general election for the redrawn district, which election forecasters expect will be safe for Republicans. Once Finstad is sworn in, the partisan balance of the U.S. House will be a 220-211 majority for Democrats.

As of this writing, three incumbent state legislators had lost re-nomination in primaries in Minnesota and a fourth lost re-nomination in a primary in Connecticut. All four incumbents were Democrats.

So far this year, Republican state legislators have lost primaries at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 2,186 Republican incumbents who filed to run for re-election, 134 (6.1%) have lost to primary challengers. Forty-eight of the 1,753 Democrats who filed to run for re-election (2.7%) have lost their primaries.

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Both candidates in the election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional district complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District —Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D) and Joe Kent (R)—completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 seats in the House are up for election. As of August 10, Democrats hold a 220-210 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant seats (including the seat that will be filled by member-elect Brad Finstad (R)). Washington’s current congressional delegation consists of seven Democrats and three Republicans.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What do you perceive to be the United States’ greatest challenges as a nation over the next decade?

Gluesenkamp Pérez:

“Money in politics. Love of money is the root of all evil and we cannot address our biggest threats like climate change or a disappearing middle class without having political leaders who are honest dealers that put the interest of their constituents above high-dollar donors.”

Kent:

“We have to break away from the failed economic policies and national security strategies that have only benefited the ruling class and China. We must fully audit the 2020 Presidential Election to restore the American people’s faith in our democratic system. We have to return critical industries and manufacturing back to America, restore energy independence, and end our wasteful post 9/11 wars.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

  1. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez
  2. Joe Kent

At Ballotpedia, we believe that everyone deserves meaningful, reliable, trustworthy information about their candidates. We also know that good information—especially at the local level—is hard to find. That’s why Ballotpedia created Candidate Connection.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Want to see Candidate Connection continue to grow in future elections? Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey. Share your favorite responses with family and friends. Donate to Ballotpedia, or simply spread the word on Twitter and Facebook.

Ballotpedia appreciates how important it is that voters everywhere have access to the best information to make an informed decision. By supporting our work, you’ll become an instrument for the spread of knowledge and understanding in political discourse.

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