Author

Jaclyn Beran

Jackie Beran is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Louisiana to hold special elections July 11

Ballotpedia will be covering three special elections on July 11 in Louisiana. Offices on the ballot include a state House seat located in the Jefferson and Lafourche parishes and two judicial positions in Baton Rouge. A general election is scheduled on August 15, 2020, in case no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the special primary election. Early voting for the July 11 election ends at 6 p.m. on July 4.

In state House District 54, six candidates are running to replace Reggie Bagala (R). James Cantrelle (R), Dave Carskadon (R), Kevin Duet (R), Phil Gilligan (R), Donny Lerille (R), and Joseph Orgeron (R) are facing off in the election. Bagala died on April 9 from coronavirus-related health complications. He was first elected to the position in 2019 with 58.2% of the vote.

Baton Rouge is holding special elections for the Division C seat on the City Court and for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the state’s 19th Judicial District Court. The special primary election was originally scheduled to take place on April 4, with a general to be held May 9, if necessary. The dates were moved amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Greg Cook (D), Donald Dobbins (D), Whitney Greene (R), Jonathan Holloway, Sr. (D), and Johnell Matthews (D) will face off in the special primary election for the vacant City Court seat. The special election became necessary when Judge Tarvald Smith vacated the seat after being elected to the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019.

Yvette Alexander (D), Tiffany Foxworth (D), Eboni Johnson-Rose (D), and Jennifer Moisant (D) are running in the special primary election for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court. The special election became necessary when Judge Beau Higginbotham vacated the seat after being elected to the Division C-Section 3 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019.

Additional reading:
https://ballotpedia.org/Louisiana_state_legislative_special_elections,_2020
https://ballotpedia.org/City_elections_in_Baton_Rouge,_Louisiana_(2020)
https://ballotpedia.org/Political_incumbents,_candidates,_and_government_officials_diagnosed_with_COVID-19_or_quarantined_due_to_the_coronavirus_pandemic,_2020



Three states to hold state executive and legislative primaries next Tuesday

Three states—Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah—are holding statewide primaries on June 30.

In Colorado, primaries are being held for three state board of education seats, three seats on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, 18 state Senate seats, and 65 state House seats.

In Oklahoma, primaries are being held for corporation commissioner, 11 state Senate seats, and 38 state House seats. Additionally, a special primary election is being held in District 28 of the Oklahoma State Senate. In May, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) signed legislation reinstating the absentee ballot notarization requirement struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on May 4, 2020. The legislation permits voters to submit copies of their identification in lieu of fulfilling the notarization requirement in the event of a state of emergency occurring within 45 days of an election. The legislation also specified that individuals experiencing symptoms indicative of COVID-19, and individuals classified as vulnerable to infection, could cast an absentee ballot under the ‘physical incapacitation’ eligibility category.

In Utah, primaries are being held for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, four state board of education seats, five state Senate seats, and 13 state House seats. In April 2020, Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed legislation canceling in-person election day voting, in-person early voting, and in-person voter registration for the June 30 primary election.

Additional Reading:



Candidate filing period to end for state legislative offices in Rhode Island

The filing deadline to run for state legislative offices in Rhode Island will pass on June 24. The primary is scheduled for September 8, 2020, and the general election will be held on November 3, 2020.

In Rhode Island, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:
  • State Senate (38 seats)
  • State House (75 seats)

The next and second-to-last statewide filing deadline in the 2020 election cycle is on July 14 in Delaware.

Additional reading:


Recall approved for circulation against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on June 8 approved the petition language for a recall against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Supporters of the recall need to submit 1,062,647 signatures within a 60-day period to force a recall election. The 60-day period begins on the first day that signatures are collected. According to WTVB, chief petitioner Chad Baase plans to start collecting signatures on July 1, 2020. That would make the signatures due by August 30, 2020.

The recall petition criticizes Whitmer over nine of her executive orders that she signed during the coronavirus pandemic. The orders include her declaration of emergency and the temporary suspension of non-essential businesses and activities.

Baase said about the recall, “She didn’t put through effective measures with COVID to ensure businesses didn’t have to close their doors. Some places couldn’t social distance under the federal guidelines, but many businesses could have stayed open with safety guidelines in place and were forced out of work. You can’t take away someone’s income and say you’re eligible for pandemic unemployment but then you can’t speak with anyone. I’m still waiting on my unemployment. They owe me 10 weeks.”

Christopher Mills, a senior adviser to Gov. Whitmer’s campaign, said the following about the recall effort: “Michiganders know that the vast majority support the governor’s swift and aggressive action in the fight against COVID-19. The governor plans to fight this recall aggressively while staying focused on protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19.”

Michigan is under a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 22-16 margin and the state House by a 58-51 margin with one vacancy. Whitmer was elected as Michigan’s governor in 2018 with 53.3% of the vote.

Six gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.

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Filing period ends for state executive, legislative, judicial candidates in five states

The filing deadlines to run for state-level offices in Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Minnesota have passed. Alaska’s, Kansas’, and Wisconsin’s filing deadlines were on June 1. The filing deadlines in Hawaii and Minnesota were on June 2.

In Alaska, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• State Senate (10 seats)
• State House (40 seats)
• Additionally, Alaska will hold retention elections for one supreme court justice and one court of appeals justice.

In Kansas, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• State Board of Education (5 seats)
• State Senate (40 seats)
• State House (125 seats)
• Additionally, Kansas will hold retention elections for two supreme court justices and six court of appeals justices.
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Sedgwick County, Kansas.

In Wisconsin, prospective candidates filed for the following state legislative offices:
• State Senate (16 seats)
• State House (99 seats)

In Hawaii, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• Office of Hawaiian Affairs (4 seats)
• State Senate (13 seats)
• State House (51 seats)
• Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In Minnesota, prospective candidates filed for the following state offices:
• State Senate (67 seats)
• State House (134 seats)
• Supreme Court (2 seats)
• Court of Appeals (6 seats)

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas:
• Minneapolis Public Schools (4 seats)
• Minneapolis, Minnesota
• Hennepin County, Minnesota
• Ramsey County, Minnesota

Kansas’ primary is scheduled for August 4, and Hawaii’s primary is scheduled for August 8. Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s primaries are scheduled for August 11. Alaska’s primary will be held on August 18. The general elections in all five states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

The next statewide filing deadline is on June 11 in Connecticut.

Hawaii has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have divided governments where no party holds a trifecta.

Additional Reading:



Candidate filing period to pass in five states

The filing deadlines to run for state-level offices in Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Minnesota will pass next week. Alaska’s, Kansas’, and Wisconsin’s filing deadlines will pass on June 1. The filing deadlines in Hawaii and Minnesota will pass on June 2.

Alaska
In Alaska, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • State Senate (10 seats)
  • State House (40 seats)
  • Additionally, Alaska will hold retention elections for one supreme court justice and one court of appeals justice.
Kansas
In Kansas, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • State Board of Education (5 seats)
  • State Senate (40 seats)
  • State House (125 seats)
  • Additionally, Kansas will hold retention elections for one supreme court justice and six court of appeals justices.

Ballotpedia is also covering local offices in Sedgwick County, Kansas.

Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • State Senate (16 seats)
  • State House (99 seats)
Hawaii
In Hawaii, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs (4 seats)
  • State Senate (13 seats)
  • State House (51 seats)

Ballotpedia is also covering local offices in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Minnesota
In Minnesota, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • State Senate (67 seats)
  • State House (134 seats)
  • Supreme Court (2 seats)
  • Court of Appeals (6 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering local offices in the following areas:
  • Minneapolis Public Schools (4 seats)
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Ramsey County, Minnesota

Kansas’ primary is scheduled for August 4, and Hawaii’s primary is scheduled for August 8. Minnesota and Wisconsin’s primaries are scheduled for August 11. Alaska’s primary will be held on August 18. The general elections in all five states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Minnesota’s statewide filing deadlines are the 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, and 45th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on June 11 in Connecticut.

Hawaii has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have a divided government where no party holds a trifecta.

Additional reading:


Federal judge denies request for more time in Nevada governor recall

Federal court judge Richard Boulware on May 15, 2020, denied a request to extend the signature-gathering period for the recall effort against Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Fight For Nevada, the group behind the recall effort, requested an extension of the 90-day period to collect signatures equal to the length of the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order. Supporters of the recall had until May 14 to collect the 243,995 signatures needed to require a recall election. County officials have until May 20 to report the signature totals to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Boulware wrote in the order, “The Court does not find that an inability to file this particular recall petition presents a severe burden when Plaintiff has not established with any detail what additional burden or inconvenience it faces if the Secretary does not extend the deadline.”

Recall supporters criticized Sisolak over his support for laws related to firearms, a statewide income tax, metering of private water wells, and a DMV policy for reporting mileage.

Nevada became a Democratic trifecta in 2019. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state Assembly by a 28-13 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 13-8 margin. Gov. Sisolak (D) succeeded Brian Sandoval (R) as governor in 2019.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.

Additional reading:


Alaska Supreme Court rules Gov. Mike Dunleavy recall can proceed

The Alaska Supreme Court on May 8 affirmed a superior court ruling that the recall effort against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) can move forward. In November 2019, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) determined that the recall failed to meet any of the grounds for recall. In Alaska, a recall petition has to meet one of the following grounds to make the ballot: lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption. The state Division of Elections rejected the recall petition citing Clarkson’s legal opinion. The Recall Dunleavy group appealed Clarkson’s decision, and in January 2020, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth rejected Clarkson’s ruling. The state appealed Aarseth’s ruling to the supreme court.

In response to the court’s decision to reverse his ruling, Clarkson said, “The Court ignored Alaska’s constitutional history and has effectively rewritten our Constitution and statutes to adopt no-cause political recall. By the Court’s decision, from this point forward any elected official will be subject to recall for virtually any reason.” Recall Dunleavy campaign manager Claire Pywell said about the ruling, “We’ve been confident in these grounds since the beginning, but it is a huge win for all of our supporters, all of the folks who have been so committed.”

Supporters will need to gather 71,252 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. According to Alaska recall law, if a vote to recall Dunleavy is approved, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) would become governor.

Pywell said that the recall group believes that it must gather the necessary signatures by July 3 to make the November 2020 ballot. As of May 4, 2020, the Recall Dunleavy website said the group had collected 34,802 signatures. Due to coronavirus concerns, the recall campaign began to collect signatures by mail on March 20, 2020.

Recall supporters have criticized Dunleavy over four specific actions, including: authorizing state funds to be used for partisan advertisements, failing to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within the required statutory timeframe, violating separation-of-powers by improperly using the line-item veto, and accounting errors in budget vetoes, which the recall effort alleges would have cost the state millions in Medicare funding.

Alaska is under a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 13-7 margin. Although Republicans also won a majority in the state House in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (undeclared) as the state House’s speaker on February 14, 2019. This resulted in the parties having split control of key leadership positions in a power-sharing agreement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won the governor’s office in 2018.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.



Recall launched against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey over stay-at-home order

A recall petition was filed against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on May 1 over his stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. Supporters of the recall have up to 120 days—or no later than August 29, 2020—to collect the 594,111 signatures needed to force a recall election.

The recall effort is being organized by a group called Arizonans for Liberty. Marko Trickovic, Steve Daniels, and 2020 congressional candidate Josh Barnett filed the petition on May 1. According to the recall petition, Ducey has “committed a violation of his oath of office A.R.S. 38-231 by issuing an unconstitutional executive order, by unequally enforcing the law on Arizona citizens and businesses, and by failure to address citizens grievances.”

On April 29, Ducey announced that he was extending the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15. The order allows some retail establishments to reopen but other businesses such as bars, hair salons, and barbers are still prohibited. Ducey said that businesses that ignore his executive order and open early will face a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail.

In response to Ducey’s order, Trickovic said, “He literally declared war on the citizens of Arizona. The fact that he came out and said he would jail people for trying to earn a living and feed people, that’s a tyrant.” As of May 4, 2020, Ducey had not made a statement regarding the recall effort.

Arizona became a Republican trifecta in 2009. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the Arizona state House by a 31-29 margin and the state Senate by a 17-13 margin. Ducey was elected as Arizona’s governor in 2014 with 53.4% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2018 with 56.0% of the vote.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.



Ballotpedia tracks state legislative races without a Democratic or Republican candidate

Ballotpedia is tracking state legislative races without a known Democratic or Republican candidate in the 2020 elections. As of April 29, 764 state legislative races do not have a Democratic candidate, and 583 do not have a Republican candidate.

The most seats without a candidate from one of the major parties are concentrated in three states: New York, Oklahoma, and Georgia. New York has the highest number; of its 213 state legislative seats, 74 races (34.7%) do not have a Republican candidate. Oklahoma and Georgia are tied with the second-highest at 68 races. Of the 125 seats on the ballot this year in Oklahoma, 68 races (54.4%) do not have a Democratic candidate. Of the 236 state legislative races that are on the ballot in Georgia, 68 races (28.8%) do not have a Republican candidate.

In 2018, 6,073 state legislative races were on the ballot and 2,017 (33.2%) did not feature major party competition. In comparison, there were 2,477 such races in 2016 and 2,606 in 2014.

During the 2020 election cycle, the filing deadline to run for the state legislature has passed in 30 states. Washington has the next filing deadline on May 15.

Additional reading:


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