Author

Douglas Kronaizl

Douglas Kronaizl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Connecticut Reapportionment Commission enacts new state House district maps

On Nov. 18, the Connecticut Reapportionment Commission voted 8-0 in favor of new maps for the state’s 151 House districts. The commission, made up of four Democratic and four Republican lawmakers, took over the redistricting process after the previous Reapportionment Committee did not meet its Sept. 15 deadline. Census data was not delivered to the state until Sept. 16. Unlike the committee, the commission’s maps do not need to win two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, meaning the commission enacts its maps outright.

The commission announced that it will release its Senate district maps before the Nov. 30 deadline, but will likely not have its congressional map complete by the end of the month, which will bring the state supreme court into the process.

Initial analyses indicated that no incumbent legislators seeking re-election were drawn out of their current districts in the House map. Commissioner and House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R) said, “I think overall, we made a lot of difficult decisions trying to keep a lot of the core districts in tact, but recognizing the fact that with population changes so do come changes to various districts.”

The Connecticut House is the second-largest legislative chamber to have completed its redistricting process following the 2020 census, behind only Massachusetts’ 160-seat House.

Nationwide, 21 states have adopted legislative district maps for at least one chamber, and legislative redistricting has been completed for 687 of 1,972 state Senate seats (34.8%) and 1,931 of 5,411 state House seats (35.7%).

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More new maps!

Welcome to the Friday, November 19, Brew. 

By: Doug Kronaizl

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

  1. Redistricting updates in Nevada, Utah, and Washington
  2. Recall of Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant scheduled for Dec. 7
  3. Texas Rep. Ryan Guillen leaves Democratic Party and announces re-election bid as a Republican

Redistricting updates in Nevada, Utah, and Washington

It has been a busy week for states completing their redistricting processes. Two states—Nevada and Utah—enacted new redistricting plans on Tuesday. The same day, Washington’s Redistricting Commission announced it had missed its statutory deadline to finalize its maps. Here’s a breakdown:

Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed the state’s new congressional and legislative maps into law on Nov. 16, which will take effect during the 2022 election cycle.

The Nevada Senate approved the redistricting plans by a 12-9 vote on Nov. 14 followed by the state Assembly voting 25-17 on Nov. 16. The maps were passed largely along party lines, with Democrats voting to approve and Republicans voting against.

After signing the maps, Sisolak said, “After a thoughtful, efficient and productive session, I am proud to sign these bills into law today. These maps reflect Nevada’s diversity and reflect public feedback gathered throughout the legislative process.” State Assm. Melissa Hardy (R) criticized the maps, saying, “A process that affects every person living in the state … deserves to be thoroughly vetted and questioned by this body as a whole. Instead, there are a lack of answers to questions posed, an inability to ask questions of those who have the answers, and an overall lack of transparency throughout.”

Utah: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed new state legislative districts for both chambers into law on Nov. 16. The state legislature approved the House and Senate district maps on Nov.10.

Both proposals differed from those presented to the legislature by Utah’s Independent Redistricting Commission on Nov. 1. The commission presented 12 maps (three each for House, Senate, congressional, and school board districts) to the Legislative Redistricting Committee. Utah previously enacted its new congressional district map on Nov. 12.

Washington: On Nov. 16, the Washington Redistricting Commission announced that it did not produce new congressional and legislative redistricting plans by its Nov. 15 deadline. According to state law, the authority to draw new maps now rests with the Washington Supreme Court, which has until April 30, 2022, to produce new maps. Although past the deadline, the commission ultimately agreed upon map plans on Nov. 16 and submitted them to the state supreme court for consideration.

In Washington, congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by a five-member non-politician commission that was established by a constitutional amendment in 1983. The majority and minority leaders of the state Senate and House each appoint one registered voter to the commission. These four commissioners then appoint a fifth, non-voting member to serve as chair.

After the 2010 census, the commission agreed upon new congressional and legislative district plans on Jan. 1, 2012, which was the deadline for them to approve maps before authority over redistricting would have passed to the state supreme court.

Overall: As of Nov. 17, 14 states have adopted congressional district maps and 20 have completed state legislative redistricting. These maps account for 111 of the 435 districts (25.5%) in the U.S. House and 2,467 of the 7,383 state legislative seats (33.4%) nationwide. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 26 states had completed congressional redistricting and 29 had finished drawing state legislative lines.

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Recall of Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant scheduled for Dec. 7

On Dec. 7, 2021, voters in Seattle, Wash., will decide whether to recall District 3 City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative Party and, upon her election in 2013, was the first socialist elected to Seattle city government in 97 years.

Petitioners allege three grounds for the recall against Sawant: misusing city funds for electioneering purposes, disregarding regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic, and misusing her official position. Sawant responded, saying the recall effort was politically motivated and asked a state superior court to dismiss the petition. The Washington Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the recall could proceed.

Supporters of Sawant collected signatures for the recall in an effort to have it placed on the Nov. 2 ballot when turnout is typically higher. The official recall campaign submitted signatures on Sept. 8 and the recall was scheduled for Dec. 7.

As of Nov. 2, the Kshama Solidarity campaign, supportive of the councilwoman, had raised $798,422. The Recall Sawant campaign had raised $684,191.

This is one of 12 city council recall efforts we have tracked in the 100 largest cities in 2021. Six of those efforts were in four California cities (Los Angeles, Riverside, Anaheim, and San Diego). Three were in Anchorage, Alaska. The other two were in Kansas City, Mo., and Austin, Texas. Five efforts did not go to a vote, five are underway, and two were defeated.

Since Ballotpedia began tracking recalls in 2008, we have not tracked a successful recall of a city council member in Washington.

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Texas Rep. Ryan Guillen leaves Democratic Party and announces re-election bid as a Republican

On Nov. 15, 2021, Texas state Rep. Ryan Guillen (R) announced he was leaving the Democratic Party.

“After much thought and much prayer with my family, today I am announcing that I’ll proudly be running as a Republican to represent house district 31,” Guillen said in a press conference held with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R).

Guillen most recently won re-election in 2020, defeating Marian Knowlton (R) 58-40%. He first assumed office in 2003 after running unopposed in the general election.

From 2010 to 2021, Ballotpedia has counted 124 state legislators who have switched parties while in office. During that time, 83 legislators left the Democratic Party (60 to become Republicans and 23 to some other affiliation), 31 left the Republican Party (11 to become Democrats and 20 to some other affiliation), and 10 switched away from being independent or members of a third party (four to become Democrats, five to become Republicans, and one switched from independent to Green).

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Redistricting map updates: proposals, advancements, and enactment between Nov. 10 and 17

At least 16 states progressed in either proposing, advancing, or enacting new congressional and state legislative districts maps as part of the 2020 redistricting cycle between Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 2021.

Proposed

California: On Nov. 10, five days before its deadline, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released its first draft maps of the state’s Assembly, Senate, congressional, and Board of Equalization districts. The release of these drafts began a two-week moratorium, during which time the commission may not display any other new maps for public comment.

The commission will continue to hold meetings and line drawing sessions and may release new draft maps towards the end of November or in December. The commission has until Dec. 23 to display its final maps, which must be delivered to the secretary of state by Dec. 27.

This is the second redistricting cycle California has utilized a non-politician commission for redistricting. Voters in the state approved a ballot measure in 2008 creating the 14-person commission made up of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four members who are unaffiliated with either major party.

Florida: The Florida Senate Committee on Reapportionment released four draft maps of the state’s congressional and state Senate districts. Due to population growth, Florida was apportioned 28 congressional districts, up from the 27 it was apportioned following the 2010 census.

The House and Senate Committees on Reapportionment are holding interim meetings throughout the fall with the redistricting process set to officially begin at the start of the next legislative session on Jan. 11, 2022. 

Tennessee: On Nov. 15, Democratic lawmakers released a congressional redistricting plan. Republican lawmakers have not yet released any proposed maps. Scott Golden, chairman of the Tennessee GOP, said the pace was normal and that legislation would most likely be released in January 2022.

Advanced

Georgia: On Nov. 12 and 15, the Georgia State Legislature approved maps redrawing the state’s 180 House districts and 56 Senate districts, respectively, sending the proposals to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for final approval.

Democratic lawmakers said the proposals were partisan gerrymanders. State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) said, “We are a 50-50 state … This map creates a 60-40 split with the advantage given to the Republican Party for the next 10 years.” Republican lawmakers said the maps met the required redistricting criteria and were created in a transparent fashion. State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R), chairwoman of the House redistricting committee, said, “Georgians have requested transparency and yes, we have given them transparency.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Stephen Fowler said the proposed House map would create 97 Republican-leaning districts and 83 favoring Democrats. Fowler said the Senate map would likely elect 33 Republicans and 23 Democrats. Republicans currently hold a 103-77 majority in the House and a 34-22 majority in the Senate.

Ohio: On Nov. 15, Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate released a joint congressional district map proposal. On Nov. 16, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 24-7 along party lines to approve the map.

Under congressional redistricting rules approved by Ohio voters in 2018, without bipartisan support, the proposed map may only be in effect for four years rather than the typical 10-year period. A congressional map must be supported by three-fifths of the legislature, including one-third of the minority party’s membership, in order to last for 10 years. Otherwise, a map can be enacted by a simple majority, but only apply for four years.

Ohio lost one congressional seat, leaving the state with 15 congressional districts, down from the 16 it was apportioned after the 2010 census.

South Carolina: The House Judiciary Committee voted 21-2 in favor of approving a new map of the state’s 124 House districts on Nov. 16. The Judiciary Committee received the proposal from a seven-member redistricting committee—four Republicans and three Democrats—which previously approved the map by a 7-0 vote. The Herald’s Zak Koeske wrote that the proposal splits 33 counties, creates two more Republican-leaning districts, and places ten incumbents—six Democrats and four Republicans—into districts with other incumbents. It will now advance to the full House for a vote. 

Wisconsin: The Republican-controlled State Assembly voted to approve new state legislative and congressional maps in a 60-38 party-line vote on Nov. 11. The Senate previously approved the maps on Nov. 8 with a 21-12 party-line vote. 

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D) said the maps were a partisan gerrymander, saying, “It is not normal in a 50-50 state to have 64 seats drawn to be more Republican.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said the maps met the criteria required for redistricting, saying, “It is the duty of the state Legislature laid out in our Wisconsin Constitution — not appointed commissions or the executive branch — to draw legislative districts.”

Prior to their passage, Gov. Tony Evers (D) said he would veto the proposals and ultimately did so on Nov. 18, sending redistricting to either a state or federal court depending on ongoing court cases.

Washington: The Washington State Redistricting Commission missed its Nov. 15 deadline to approve final congressional and state legislative maps to submit to the state legislature. Under state law, the redistricting authority now passes to the Washington Supreme Court, which has until April 30 to develop new district lines.

On Nov. 16, after missing the deadline, the commission released its approved congressional and state legislative district lines. While these lines do not carry any authority, the commission asked the state supreme court to use those agreed-upon lines when carrying out its newfound redistricting duties.

Enacted

Four states—Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah—enacted new congressional maps between Nov. 10 and 17. Idaho, Nevada, and Utah also enacted new state legislative district maps along with Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

As of Nov. 17, 14 states had finished their congressional redistricting and 20 had finalized their state legislative districts.

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Idaho enacts new congressional and state legislative maps

On Nov. 12, 2021, the Idaho Independent Redistricting Commission formally submitted its final congressional and state legislative maps to the secretary of state, enacting new maps for the state’s two U.S. House districts and 35 legislative districts.

The commission voted in favor of the final versions of both the congressional and state legislative maps on Nov. 5 but chose to recast their votes on Nov. 10 due to concerns regarding Idaho’s open meetings laws.

The six commissioners—three appointed by Democrats and three by Republicans—voted 4-2 in favor of the final congressional map. Nels Mitchell and Dan Schmidt, both Democratic appointees, voted against the map, saying they opposed its division of Ada County, the state’s most populous, into two districts. Ada County was split between two districts following the 2010 census.

Mitchell said, “there is a statute on the books that says we’re not supposed to split counties if we don’t have to, and I don’t believe we had to.” Commissioner Bart Davis, who supported the map, said, “there were honest disagreements on the congressional plan … and that’s the reason we have a commission of six, is to allow us to think about it and challenge each other’s thinking.”

The commission voted 6-0 in favor of the new state legislative district maps. Idaho has 35 legislative districts, which each elects one senator and two representatives.

House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) said, “The Idaho House Republican Caucus is not entirely thrilled with the new reapportionment of Idaho’s legislative map,” adding that, “highly qualified and established legislators may be forced to campaign against equally skilled former colleagues.”

Idaho Ed News’ Kevin Richert estimated that the new legislative maps could result in six House races and five Senate races where incumbents would face re-election against one another.

Commissioner Schmidt said, “We’ve tried to do our best to balance the interests and the needs of the communities we are working with and the law that is before us,” adding, “We went into this process knowing that our task could not make everybody happy, and we don’t expect it will.”

As of Nov. 12, 2021, 12 states had enacted congressional maps following the 2020 census and 17 had completed state legislative redistricting. At that time in 2011, following the 2010 census, 26 states had finished congressional redistricting and 29 had finished state legislative redistricting.



A closer look at Delaware’s new state legislative maps

On Nov. 2, 2021, Gov. John Carney (D) signed Senate Bill 199 (SB 199) into law, enacting new maps for Delaware’s 21 state Senate and 41 state House districts. These maps will take effect for the state’s 2022 legislative elections.

Eighteen states have finalized their state legislative redistricting maps following the 2020 census. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 29 states had completed their legislative maps.

The Delaware General Assembly approved the final House and Senate map proposals on Nov. 1 before sending them to Carney. 

The state Senate approved the maps along party lines with all 14 Democrats in favor and all seven Republicans against. Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola (D) said, “The map does retain the cores of all 21 current Senate districts … It does retain five majority-minority Senate districts. It retains one majority-Black Senate district.” 

Republican senators opposing the bill said the Senate map did not account for population growth in Sussex County, the state’s fastest-growing. Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker (R) said, “Our constituents in Sussex County are way underrepresented … It’s not fair to the senators in those districts and it’s not fair to the staffing we have to represent those districts.”

SB 199 faced no debate in the House of Representatives, where members voted 40-1 in favor with state Rep. Michael Smith (R) voting against.

Democrats currently control both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly with a 14-7 majority in the Senate and a 26-15 majority in the House.

Since Delaware was apportioned a single at-large U.S. House seat, it will not conduct congressional redistricting during the 2020 cycle.

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Colorado Supreme Court approves final state legislative maps

On Nov. 15, 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court approved the state House and Senate maps finalized by the Colorado Independent Legislative Commission on Oct. 11 and 12, respectively. These maps, which redraw the state’s 35 Senate districts and 65 House districts, will take effect for the state’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Colorado was the 16th state to finalize its state legislative redistricting maps following the 2020 census. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 29 states had completed their state legislative maps.

The Colorado Sun’s Thy Vot wrote that the maps “appear to favor Democrats’ maintaining their majority in the General Assembly.” Colorado Politics’ Evan Wyloge observed that the new maps created nine House districts where previous election results fell within a five percentage point margin of victory and eight such Senate districts. At the time of approval, Democrats held a 42-23 majority in the House and a 20-15 majority in the Senate.

This is the first redistricting cycle following the passage of Amendment Z by voters in 2018, which established a non-politician commission to handle state legislative redistricting. The commission settled on its final House and Senate maps during meetings on Oct. 11 and 12. Under Colorado’s redistricting rules, once the commission approves its final versions, those maps are then sent to the state supreme court for final approval. 

During the supreme court’s approval process, nine organizations and individuals submitted legal briefs in support of or opposition to the maps. Colorado Newsline’s Sara Wilson wrote that “objections to those maps revolve around the argument that they split up cities like Lakewood and Greeley without justification and don’t create enough competitive districts.” Supporters of the maps said that the commission fulfilled the constitutional requirements laid out by Amendment Z, which the supreme court agreed with in the conclusion of its opinion.

The state supreme court previously approved the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission’s congressional map on Nov. 1.

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Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections

Welcome to the Tuesday, November 16, Brew. 

By: Doug Kronaizl

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

  1. Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections
  2. Here’s what happened in Louisiana’s elections on Saturday
  3. Two at-large city council districts holding elections in Hialeah, Fla., today

Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections

You might recall a set of runoffs in Georgia earlier this year that decided the party control of the U.S. Senate. Today, we are two weeks away from another round of general election runoffs in Georgia with voters in Atlanta deciding several city council elections and choosing their next mayor on Nov. 30. These races advanced to runoffs after no candidates received more than 50% of the vote in the Nov. 2 general elections.

All 16 council positions, including city council president, were on the Nov. 2 ballot. Nine of those races were decided outright on Nov. 2 with seven incumbents and two newcomers winning. In the Nov. 30 runoffs, incumbent city council members are running in three while the remaining four races will elect newcomers. 

In two of those open runoff races—At-large Post 3 and District 1—both candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Below are some excerpts from those surveys. To see more, click on the candidate’s name.

Atlanta City Council, At-large Post 3

Jacqueline Labat and former state Rep. Keisha Sean Waites advanced to a runoff after defeating three other candidates on Nov. 2. Waites finished first with 30% of the vote. Labat was second with 26%. 

Question: What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?

  • Labat: “[E]lected leaders must respond in a timely manner to the needs of their constituents and there will be times when ‘fairness’ and ‘minority views’ may outweigh issues of effectiveness of efficiency.”
  • Waites: “Having existing relationships and legislative experience will be critical to tackling many of the issues we are facing such as: Corruption creating a lack of public trust, increasing violent crime and traffic congestion.”

Atlanta City Council, District 1

Nathan Clubb and Jason Winston advanced to a runoff after defeating four other candidates on Nov. 2. Winston finished first with 29% of the vote. Clubb was second with 28%. 

Question: How would you address crime and public safety? Do you have a different stance than current city council policy?

  • Clubb: “We need to ensure we have the level of staffing necessary and policies in place for true community policing to provide presence and rebuild trust with communities.”
  • Winston: “I will look to pragmatic evaluation of our law enforcement policies, addressing biases and disparities in policing while moving resources to the programs that need them most.”

In the mayoral race, Atlantans will elect a newcomer for the second election cycle in a row. On May 6, 2021, Incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) announced she would not seek re-election, making her the first Atlanta mayor since World War II not to run for a second term.

City councilman Andre Dickens and city council president Felicia Moore advanced to the general runoff election for mayor after defeating 14 other candidates, including former Mayor Kasim Reed, on Nov. 2. Moore received 41% of the vote followed by Dickens with 23%. While the race is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats.

Both Dickens and Moore have emphasized their own plans regarding crime and public safety in the city. Dickens’ SAFE Streets Atlanta Plan focuses, in part, on community policing, providing racial sensitivity training, and clearing up pandemic-related court backlogs. Dickens also highlighted his experience as chair of the city’s Public Safety Committee and supporting officer pay raises in 2020. Moore said her plan focused on five areas—the 5 C’s—”Community, Cops, Courts, Code Enforcement, and Children.” Moore emphasized her role in the passage of city policies including marijuana decriminalization and the elimination of cash bail.

Both candidates want to increase the number of police officers in the city and provide training on topics including de-escalation techniques. Dickens said he would hire 250 officers during his first year. Moore said she would offer incentives to retired officers to return to work for 1-2 years while recruiting new officers to fill open positions.

Dickens and Moore have both raised more than $1 million. As of Sept. 30, Dickens had spent $841,484 leaving him with $199,072 on hand. Moore had spent $656,733 with $453,565 on hand.

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Here’s what happened in Louisiana’s elections on Saturday

Louisiana voters turned out for the state’s fall elections last Saturday following a one-month delay. On Sept. 9, 2021, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) postponed the state’s fall elections due to damage from Hurricane Ida.

Here are some highlights from the races we followed

  • Statewide, voters decided four constitutional amendments, approving one and rejecting three. The state constitution limits ballot measures in odd-numbered years to matters concerning the state’s budget, government finance, and taxation.
  • Voters approved Amendment 2, which decreased the maximum allowable individual income tax rate from 6% to 4.75% for tax years beginning in 2022. The Legislature set the tax bracket rates beginning in 2022 at 1.75% on the first $12,500 of net income, 3.50% on the net income up to $50,000, and 4.25% on net income above $50,000.
  • Voters rejected Amendments 1, 3, and 4. Amendment 1 would have created a commission to streamline the electronic filing of all sales and use taxes. Amendment 3 would have allowed levee districts created after 2006 to assess an annual property tax of up to $5 per $1,000 of assessed value without voter approval. Amendment 4 would have increased the amount of funds that could be redirected to some other purpose than what was originally provided for by law from 5% to 10%.
  • There were also several candidate elections across the state. Louisiana used the majority-vote system where all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, ran in the same primary. A candidate could win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate crossed that mark, the top two vote recipients advanced to a Dec. 11 general election.
  • In New Orleans, incumbent Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) won re-election outright. Cantrell received 65% of the vote, defeating 13 other candidates. The city also held elections for a majority of its city council districts. Elections in three districts were decided outright on Nov. 13 with the remaining four districts advancing to general elections on Dec. 11.

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Two at-large city council districts holding elections in Hialeah, Fla., today

Voters will decide two of the seven districts of the Hialeah, Fla., City Council today. Nonpartisan primary elections were held for these districts on Nov. 2, but since no single candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote recipients in each race advanced to a Nov. 16 general election. 

Bryan Calvo and Angelica Pacheco are competing in the council’s at-large Group VI district. The two advanced to a general election after defeating three other candidates on Nov. 2, with Pacheco receiving 30% of the vote and Calvo 28%. 

Luis Rodriguez and Maylin Villalonga are competing in the at-large Group VII district. They advanced to the general election after defeating four other candidates on Nov. 2, with Rodriguez receiving 42% of the vote and Villalonga 20%.

The winners in both districts will be newcomers to the council since the incumbents in those districts did not seek re-election.

The general election for the council’s Group V seat was canceled after incumbent Carl Zogby won the Nov. 2 primary election outright with 57% of the vote over two other candidates. Zogby was first elected in 2017.

Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida and the 88th most populous city in the U.S.

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Alaska adopts final state legislative map

On Nov. 10, 2021, the Alaska Redistricting Board adopted a new legislative map outlining the state’s 20 Senate districts and 40 House districts as part of the 2020 redistricting cycle. While the new map has been enacted, there will now be a 30-day period during which interested parties may file legal challenges against the new map.

The board’s three Republican-appointed members—John Binkley, Bethany Marcum, and Budd Simpson— voted in favor of the final map while the two nonpartisan members—Melanie Bahnke and Nicole Borromeo—voted against it.

The Midnight Sun’s Matt Buxton wrote that, during the Nov. 10 meeting, Bahnke and Borromeo, “pulled no punches when arguing that the Senate pairing for the Anchorage-area … were both a racial and partisan gerrymander that favored conservatives and drew the entirety of the plan into question.”

Regarding the process, Binkley, the board’s chairman, said, “I think the board earnestly … tried to put together a fair plan … But sometimes, those are in the eyes of the beholder. And some people … can look at one plan and say it’s fair. Other people can look at it and say it’s not fair.”

KTOO’s Andrew Kitchenman reported that, since the new map largely altered the state’s Senate districts, 19 of the 20 districts will hold elections in 2022. Alaska normally staggers elections to its Senate with half the chamber holding elections in one even-year cycle and the other half holding elections in the next and all members serving four-year terms. In 2022, certain districts will elect senators to two-year terms while others will elect them to four-year terms in order to restart the staggered process under the new lines. Alaska’s House districts hold elections every two years.

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Tomorrow’s elections in Louisiana

Welcome to the Friday, November 12, Brew. 

By: Doug Kronaizl

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

  1. Louisiana’s primary elections being held tomorrow
  2. Detroit voters approve entheogenic plants and reparations measures and reject measure on initiative appropriations
  3. #FridayTrivia: In what month will the first candidate filing deadlines of the 2022 election cycle occur?

Louisiana’s primary elections being held tomorrow

We’re not done with the 2021 elections yet!

Louisiana voters will cast ballots tomorrow in the state’s fall elections following a one-month delay. On Sept. 9, 2021, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order postponing the state’s fall elections due to damage from Hurricane Ida. The primary, originally scheduled for Oct. 9, was changed to Nov. 13. The general election, if needed, was changed from Nov. 13 to Dec. 11.

Statewide, voters will decide four ballot measures concerning topics including taxes and the state budget. The Louisiana Constitution limits legislation and constitutional amendments in odd-numbered years exclusively to matters concerning the state’s budget, government finance, and taxation.

When it comes to races involving candidates, Louisiana’s elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in the same primary. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote in the primary. If no candidate crosses that mark, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election.

There will also be special state legislative primaries in one district of the Louisiana State Senate and two districts of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Republicans currently hold a 26-12 majority in the Senate and a 68-23-3 majority in the House. The winners of these elections will hold office until Jan. 8, 2024.

  • In Senate District 27, Dustin Granger (D), Jake Shaheen (R), and Jeremy Stine (D) are running to fill a vacancy left by Ronnie Johns (R). Johns resigned in July after Gov. Bel Edwards appointed him as chairman of the Louisiana State Gaming Control Board.
  • In House District 16, Charles Bradford (D), Alicia Calvin (D), and Adrian Fisher (D) are running. This seat became vacant after Frederick D. Jones (D) resigned after being elected to the state’s Fourth Judicial District Court.
  • In House District 102, Delisha Boyd (D) and Jordan Bridges (D) are running to replace Gary Carter Jr. (D), who was elected to the state Senate in a June 12 special election. Since there are only two candidates, this election will determine the seat’s winner outright.

At the local level, New Orleans voters will decide primaries for mayor, city council, sheriff, assessor, coroner, and civil and criminal district court clerks. Additional elections in Ballotpedia’s coverage scope include two judicial seats are on the ballot in Baton Rouge and a special election primary is being held for one seat on the Caddo Parish Public Schools school board.

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Detroit voters approve entheogenic plants and reparations measures and reject measure on initiative appropriations

Voters in Detroit, Mich., decided three ballot measures on Nov. 2, including two citizen-initiated initiatives and an advisory question. Voters approved two measures regarding the decriminalization of entheogenic plants and the creation of a reparations committee. A third measure, which would have removed language from the city’s charter prohibiting initiatives from appropriating funds, was defeated. Here’s a breakdown:

Proposal E was designed to decriminalize the possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants, including psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and iboga. The initiatives received 61% of the vote. As of 2021, at least 10 local governments, including Ann Arbor in Michigan, had passed laws either decriminalizing or changing law enforcement priorities regarding psilocybin. Two of these laws passed as ballot measures in Denver, Colo., and Washington, D.C., making Detroit’s Proposal E the third ballot measure to decriminalize psilocybin. Additionally, in 2020, voters approved Oregon Measure 109, which created a statewide program for administering psilocybin to individuals over the age of 21.

Proposal R advised the Detroit City Council to establish a reparations committee to recommend housing and economic development programs for Black residents. The advisory question passed with 80% of the vote. In June 2021, the city council passed a resolution that established a process “to specifically address the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the black community.” The committee, supported through Proposal R, will now be part of that process. Voters in Greenbelt, Md., also approved a measure to create a reparations committee on Nov. 2.

Proposal S would have removed language from the Detroit City Charter that prohibited initiatives from appropriating funds. It was defeated with 54% of the electors voting no.

Keep reading 

#FridayTrivia: In what month will the first candidate filing deadlines of the 2022 election cycle occur?

In Tuesday’s Brew, we took a look at two states—North Carolina and Texas—whose upcoming candidate filing deadlines will be the earliest in the 2022 election cycle. These deadlines will set the stage for primary elections in these states later on. In what month will the first candidate filing deadlines of the 2022 election cycle occur?

  1. January
  2. November
  3. December
  4. February


Decade-high rate of state legislative incumbents defeated in 2021

Welcome to the Tuesday, November 9, Brew. 

By: Doug Kronaizl

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

  1. Decade-high rate of state legislative incumbents defeated in 2021
  2. Six police-related local ballot measures were decided on Nov. 2
  3. One month until the first filing deadline for 2022

Decade-high rate of state legislative incumbents defeated in 2021

According to unofficial state legislative election results, 7.4% of incumbents who sought re-election in 2021 were defeated in either the primary or general election. This is the highest incumbent loss rate Ballotpedia has recorded in a decade of covering odd-year election cycles. Compared to recent even-year elections, the loss rate in 2021 is lower than 2020 (7.6%) and 2018 (9.2%).

Three of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers held regular elections in 2021: New Jersey’s state House and Senate and Virginia’s House of Delegates. 

Out of the 220 state legislative elections in 2021, incumbents ran for re-election to 203 of them. Heading into the general election, we had already seen a decade-high rate of incumbents defeated in primaries in odd-year election cycles after 3.9% of incumbents lost to primary challengers. This translates into eight incumbents—five Democrats and three Republicans.

At least seven incumbents—all Democrats—have been defeated in general elections, bringing this year’s total to 15 incumbents defeated, or 7.4% of all incumbents who ran for re-election. There are still 14 races still to be called, meaning these numbers could change.

Even with the uncalled races, the incumbent losses have affected the political landscapes in New Jersey and Virginia.

In New Jersey, one of the two incumbents defeated was Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D). First elected in 2003 and re-elected four times, Sweeney’s loss to Edward Durr (R) means New Jersey’s Senate Democrats, who will retain a majority in the chamber, will elect new leadership for the upcoming legislative session.

In Virginia, the defeat of at least five Democratic incumbents means Democrats will lose majority control of the chamber, which they won in 2019. This was the first election since 1999 where Democrats were defending a majority in the House. These defeats, plus the victory of Glenn Youngkin (R) over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in the state’s gubernatorial election, means Virginia’s trifecta status will change from a Democratic trifecta to a split government. Democrats maintain majority control of the state Senate, which did not hold elections in 2021.

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Six police-related local ballot measures were decided on Nov. 2

We’ve covered a dozen police-related ballot measures this year, six of which voters decided on Nov. 2.

Minneapolis and Austin both defeated measures related to police structure and funding—a measure to replace the police department in Minneapolis and a measure to guarantee funding to police in Austin. The other four Nov. 2 measures concerned police oversight and practices and were all approved. Here’s a recap:

According to unofficial election results, voters in Minneapolis, Minn., defeated Question 2, an initiative that would have changed the city charter, replacing the police department with a department of public safety.

Voters in Austin, Texas, defeated Proposition A, an initiative that would have established a minimum police staffing level of at least two officers per 1,000 residents. Of the state’s 10 largest cities, Austin ranked third for the number of officers per 1,000 residents at 1.9 in 2019.

Voters in Albany, N.Y., Cleveland, Ohio, and Denver, Colo., approved ballot measures that changed the oversight structure of their respective police departments. In Bellingham, Wash., voters approved Initiative 2, which prohibits facial recognition and predictive policing technology.

Ballotpedia also tracked six local ballot measures related to law enforcement that appeared on pre-November ballots in 2021. Three of those measures were defeated and three were approved.

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One month until the first candidate filing deadlines for 2022

With the 2021 general elections one week behind us, we’re taking a look at the upcoming 2022 election cycle. The first filing deadlines for statewide primary candidates are set to take place in Texas and North Carolina on Dec. 13 and 17, respectively.

Eight states have filing deadlines in January and February of 2022. Eighteen states have deadlines in March while 12 have deadlines set in April and May. The remaining 10 states have filing deadlines in June and July.

Texas and North Carolina also lead the pack with the earliest primary elections in the 2022 cycle, scheduled for March 1 and 8, respectively. Here’s a look at when states will be holding primaries in 2022 by month:

  • June: 18 states
  • August: 14 states
  • May: 11 states
  • September: 4 states
  • March: 2 states

One state—Louisiana—technically holds its primaries in November with all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, running on the same ballot. If a candidate receives over 50% of the vote, he or she wins outright. If no candidate wins a majority, the race advances to a runoff election in December between the top two vote-getters.

Heads up: 364 days until the November 2022 general election.

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