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Jerrick Adams

Jerrick Adams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Missouri General Assembly passes one election-related bill in 2022 session

The 2022 session of the Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13. Ballotpedia tracked 21 election-related bills in this year’s session, 20 of which appear to have died (i.e., these bills failed to clear both chambers of the legislature by the time of its adjournment). One bill – House Bill 1878 – did clear both chambers of the legislature by the time of its adjournment. The bill would modify Missouri’s voter identification requirements as follows: 

  • Voters casting absentee ballots in person would be required to present photo identification. 
  • A voter without the required photo identification would be permitted to vote by provisional ballot upon completing an affidavit. If the voter subsequently submits a valid form of identification, or an election official verifies the voter’s identity by matching the signature on the provisional ballot envelope against the signature on file, the ballot would be counted. 

The final vote in the state Senate was 23-11, with 23 Republicans voting in favor and 10 Democrats and one Republican in opposition. The final vote in the state House was 97-47, with 96 Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor and 47 Democrats in opposition. It awaits action from Gov. Mike Parson (R).

The Missouri General Assembly is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. The 2022 session convened on Jan. 5. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. 



Missouri legislature acts on voter identification bill

The Missouri Senate Committee on Local Government and Elections conducted a public hearing on House Bill 1878 on April 6, 2022. The bill would modify Missouri’s voter identification requirements as follows: 

  • Voters casting absentee ballots in person would be required to present photo identification. 
  • A voter without the required photo identification would be permitted to vote by provisional ballot upon completing an affidavit. If the voter subsequently submits a valid form of identification, or an election official verifies the voter’s identity by matching the signature on the provisional ballot envelope against the signature on file, the ballot would be counted. 

The Missouri House of Representatives approved HB 1878 with a 96-35 vote on March 10, largely along party lines. One Democrat joined 95 Republicans in favor of the bill, and one Republican joined 34 Democrats in opposition. 

The Missouri General Assembly is a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. The 2022 session convened on Jan. 5 and will adjourn on May 13. Thirteen bills and resolutions have been passed as of April 14. Ballotpedia is currently tracking 20 election-related bills in Missouri. 

Missouri is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas in the U.S. The Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly. There is a 24-10 Republican majority in the Senate and a 108-49 majority in the House. 



Ballot Bulletin: Ranked-choice voting barred from state and local elections in Tennessee

Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. In this month’s issue:

  1. Tenn. enacts law barring use of ranked-choice voting in state, local elections
  2. Wisc. Supreme Court allows circuit court’s ban on ballot drop-boxes to stand for April election
  3. Redistricting round-up: Courts in two states enact new maps

Tennessee enacts law barring use of ranked-choice voting in state, local elections

On Feb. 28, Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed SB1820 into law, barring county election officials from using ranked-choice voting in state and municipal elections. The bill took immediate effect.

The Tennessee Senate passed SB1820 by a vote of 26-4 on Feb. 14, with all 26 “yes” votes coming from Republicans and all “no” votes being cast by Democrats. The Tennessee House of Representatives approved the bill 74-19 on the same day, also along party lines.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brian Kelsey (R), said ranked-choice voting is a “very confusing and complex process that ultimately, I think, leads to lack of confidence in the vote totals.” Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro (D), who voted against the bill, said, “[Ranked-choice voting is] an innovation that might work, and it might not. But I don’t see why we would snuff that out in the crib.”

Ranked-choice voting in the U.S.

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who wins a majority of first-preference votes is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. A new tally is conducted in which first-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated and second-preference votes from those who supported the eliminated candidate are instead counted. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

Two states (Alaska and Maine) have implemented ranked-choice voting for federal and/or state-level elections. Jurisdictions in eight other states have implemented RCV at some level. Jurisdictions in six other states have adopted, but not yet used, RCV in local elections. 


Wisconsin Supreme Court allows circuit court’s ban on ballot drop-boxes to stand for April election

On Feb. 11, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling allowing a circuit court’s ban on absentee/mail-in ballot drop-boxes to remain in force for the April 5 election.

Background

On June 28, 2021, two Wisconsin voters filed suit in Waukesha County Circuit Court, challenging the legality of guidance by the Wisconsin Elections Commission that allowed for the use of absentee/mail-in ballot drop boxes. On Jan. 13, 2022, the circuit court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and invalidated the guidance. The Wisconsin Elections Commission appealed, and the intermediate appellate court blocked the circuit court’s order through the Feb. 15 primary election.  The plaintiffs petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to allow the circuit court’s order to take effect. On Jan. 28, the high court issued an order declining to do so.

On Feb. 2, defendants asked the state supreme court to extend the appellate court’s stay through the April 5 election and resolution of the case on the merits.  The high court’s Feb. 11 order declined to do so, allowing the circuit’s ban to take effect. 

What the court said

The court majority – comprising Justices Annette Ziegler, Rebecca Bradley, Patience Drake Roggensack, and  Brian Hagedorn – said, “The record before us, including the timetable for making the necessary administrative changes as outlined by the court of appeals, indicates that the Commission can comply with the circuit court’s order so as to ameliorate concerns about voter confusion and election administration before the April 5, 2022, election commences. The need for additional relief in the form of an extended stay has not been established.” 

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissented: “Once again, a majority of this court makes it more difficult to vote. With apparent disregard for the confusion it is causing, the majority provides next to no notice to municipal clerks, changing procedures at the eleventh hour and applying different procedures from those that applied to the primary in the very same election cycle.” Justices Rebecca Frank Dallet and Jill J. Karofsky joined Bradley’s dissent. 

What comes next

A final decision on the merits has yet to be made, as the case must proceed through the appeals process.  


Redistricting round-up: Courts in two states enact new maps

In today’s round-up, we take a look at the following recent redistricting developments: 

  • North Carolina court enacts new congressional and state legislative maps
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court enacts new congressional map


North Carolina court enacts new congressional and state legislative maps 

On Feb. 23, the Wake County Superior Court signed off on new maps for the state’s 170 legislative districts. These maps were approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. However, the court rejected a congressional map supported by the legislature and instead adopted a plan proposed by a panel of court-appointed special masters. This panel consisted of three former state judges: Tom Ross (D), Bob Edmunds (R), and Bob Orr (I). North Carolina was apportioned 14 congressional districts following the 2020 census, an increase of one over the 2010 census.

The General Assembly originally enacted maps on Nov. 4, 2021, but these maps were challenged in court. On Feb. 4, the state supreme court declared the maps unconstitutional in a 4-3 decision, leading to the redraw.

Legal challenges delayed the state’s candidate filing process for the 2022 elections. With the new maps enacted, candidate filing resumed on Feb. 24 and will end on March 4 for primaries scheduled for May 17.

For more information about redistricting in North Carolina, click here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court enacts new congressional map 

On Feb. 23, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court enacted new congressional district boundaries. Pennsylvania was apportioned 17 congressional districts following the 2020 census, a decrease of one. The court chose from over a dozen submitted maps, including one proposed by the Republican-controlled state legislature. In a 4-3 ruling, the Democratic-controlled court ultimately selected the Carter map, submitted by a group of Pennsylvania citizens who were petitioners in a redistricting-related lawsuit.

The state supreme court took  over the redistricting process after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed the legislature’s approved congressional map on Jan. 26. Mapmaking authority initially passed to a lower court but, in a Feb. 2 order, the supreme court ruled that it would assume control over the process.

Pennsylvania’s primary elections are scheduled for May 17.

For more information about redistricting in Pennsylvania, click here.

Status of congressional redistricting

Thirty-six states have adopted congressional district maps, and one state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect. Federal or state courts have blocked previously adopted maps in one state, and six states have not yet adopted new congressional redistricting plans. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, making congressional redistricting unnecessary. Congressional redistricting has been completed for 361 of the 435 (83.0%) U.S. House districts.

Status of state legislative redistricting

Thirty-seven states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, and 11 states have not yet adopted new legislative redistricting plans. Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,582 of 1,972 state Senate seats (80.2%) and 3,665 of 5,411 state House seats (67.7%).



Texas early voting starts Feb. 14

Early voting in the Texas primary starts Feb. 14, making Texas the first state in the 2022 election cycle to open the polls. 

This year, 44 states and the District of Columbia offer some form of no-excuse early voting, meaning that any eligible voter can vote early, in person, without being required to cite an approved excuse. Early voting is sometimes referred to as in-person absentee voting. Six states do not offer no-excuse early voting: Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. 

In the last midterm election cycle (2018), 37 states offered some form of no-excuse early voting. In the 2018 general election, approximately 16.2 million Americans cast their ballots early in person, representing about 19.5 percent of total turnout, according to the United States Elections Project.  

No additional states are scheduled to open early voting periods until April. In April, six states will begin early voting: Indiana and Ohio on April 5, Nebraska on April 11, South Dakota on April 23, West Virginia on April 27, and North Carolina on April 28. 



Pennsylvania court strikes down state’s no-excuse absentee/mail-in voting law


Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. In this month’s issue:

  1. Pennsylvania court strikes down state’s no-excuse absentee/mail-in voting law
  2. Federal court blocks Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan
  3. Mississippi enacts new congressional map
  4. Ohio Supreme Court strikes down congressional district plan

Pennsylvania court strikes down state’s no-excuse absentee/mail-in voting law

On Jan. 28, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down Act 77, which made absentee/mail-in voting available to all eligible voters, as a violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court voted 3-2, with Judges Mary Hannah Leavitt, Patricia McCullough, and Christine Fizzano Cannon (all Republicans) forming the majority and Judges Michael Wojcik and Ellen H. Ceisler (both Democrats) dissenting.

As a result, and pending action by the state supreme court, absentee/mail-in voting eligibility in Pennsylvania is governed by Article VII, Section 14, of the state constitution. This section allows absentee/mail-in voting for “qualified electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be absent from the municipality of their residence, because their duties, occupation, or business require them to be elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability or who will not attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties, in the case of a county employee.”

The court’s analysis

Leavitt, writing for the majority, analyzed Act 77 within the context of three provisions of the state constitution:

  • Article VII, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution says a voter must have “resided in the election district where he or she shall offer to vote at least 60 days immediately preceding the election[.]” Leavitt said, “Our Supreme Court has specifically held that the phrase ‘offer to vote’ requires the physical presence of the elector, whose ‘ballot cannot be sent by mail or express, nor can it be cast outside of all Pennsylvania election districts and certified into the county where the voter has his domicile.'” Leavitt added, “There is no air in this construction of ‘offer to vote.’ … Our Supreme Court has further directed that before legislation ‘be placed on our statute books’ to allow qualified electors absent from their polling place on Election Day to vote by mail, ‘an amendment to the Constitution must be adopted permitting this to be done.”
  • Article VII, Section 4 establishes that “all elections by the citizens shall be by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law,” provided “that secrecy in voting be preserved.” Leavitt said, “To read Section 4 as an authorization for no-excuse mail-in voting is wrong for three reasons. First, no-excuse mail-in voting uses a paper ballot and not some ‘other method.’ Second, this reading unhooks Section 4 from the remainder of Article VII as well as its historical underpinnings. It ignores the in-person place requirement that was made part of our fundamental law in 1838. Third, it renders Article VII, Section 14, surplusage.”
  • Article VII, Section 14, allows absentee/mail-in voting for “qualified electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be absent from the municipality of their residence, because their duties, occupation, or business require them to be elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability or who will not attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties, in the case of a county employee.” Leavitt wrote, “Section 14 can only be understood as an exception to the rule established in Article VII, Section 1, that a qualified elector must present herself at her proper polling place to vote on Election Day, unless she must ‘be absent” on Election Day for the reasons specified in Article VII, Section 14(a).”

In a dissenting opinion, Wojcik disputed the majority’s reading of Section 4 specifically: “[The] plain language of article VII, section 4 specifically empowers the General Assembly to provide a distinct method of casting a ballot for electors who are present in their municipality on a primary, general, or municipal election day by permitting the use of no-excuse mail-in ballots. This method is distinct from an elector’s appearance at his or her district of residence to cast a ballot as provided in article VII, section 1, either by paper ballot or by the use of a machine pursuant to article VII, section 6, or the use of an absentee ballot by an elector who is absent from his or her municipality on the day of a primary, general, or municipal election as provided in article VII, section 14.”

Reactions

State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) said, “Today’s ruling should serve as a call to action to open up a serious conversation about the reforms necessary to make voting both accessible and secure for all Pennsylvanians. Governor Wolf has ignored this debate for over a year, but hopefully this ruling will help bring him to the table so we can address concerns about our election system once and for all. ” State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) said, “I welcome the end of ‘no-excuse’ mail-in voting in Pennsylvania and I introduced legislation this session that does just that.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) said, “This opinion is based on twisted logic and faulty reasoning, and is wrong on the law. It will be immediately appealed and therefore won’t have any immediate impact on Pennsylvania’s upcoming elections.” Gov. Tom Wolf (D) also criticized the ruling: “The strength of our democracy and our country depends on eligible voters casting their ballot and selecting their leaders. We need leaders to support removing more barriers to voting, not trying to silence the people.”

Context

Seven states (shaded in blue on the map below) conduct their elections predominantly by mail (i.e., all voters automatically receive mail-in ballots. Twenty-five states (shaded in yellow) allow all voters to vote absentee/by mail, but voters must request a ballot themselves. The remaining states (shaded in gray) allow voters meeting specific eligibility criteria to vote absentee/by mail. 


Redistricting round-up: Congressional map update

In today’s round-up, we take a look at the following recent developments involving congressional district maps: 

  • Federal court blocks Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan
  • Mississippi enacts new congressional map
  • Ohio Supreme Court strikes down congressional district plan

Federal court blocks Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan 

On Jan. 24, A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama  issued a preliminary injunction barring Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) from conducting the state’s 2022 congressional elections using the redistricting plan adopted on Nov. 4, 2021.

The court ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs in Milligan v. Merrill are substantially likely to establish “that Black Alabamians are sufficiently numerous to constitute a voting-age majority in a second congressional district.” The court also found it likely that plaintiffs would prevail in proving that “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The court also postponed the qualifying deadline for U.S. House candidates from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11. The court directed the state legislature to devise a new congressional redistricting plan “that includes either an additional majority-Black congressional district, or an additional district in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.”

The panel’s three judges were Senior Justice Stanley Marcus of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and District Court Judges Anna Manasco and Terry Moorer. Marcus was first appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan (R) in 1985; he was elevated to the 11th Circuit by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1997. Manasco and Moorer were appointed by President Donald Trump (R) in 2020 and 2018, respectively.

A representative for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said, “The Attorney General’s Office strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and will be appealing in the coming days.”

For more information about redistricting in Ohio, click here.

Mississippi enacts new congressional map 

On Jan. 24, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s congressional redistricting plan (House Bill 384) into law. The state House of Representatives approved the plan, 75-44, on Jan. 6, with 73 Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent voting in favor and 41 Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent in opposition. The state Senate approved the new congressional map 33-18 on Jan. 12, with 33 Republicans voting in favor and 16 Democrats and two Republicans in opposition.

The Mississippi Clarion Ledger’s Lee Sanderlin said, “The bill preserves the current balance of congressional power in Mississippi, keeping three seats for Republicans and one for lone Democrat Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton.” Sanderlin added, “This is the first time since the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act … [that] Mississippi’s redistricting will go on without federal oversight after a 2013 Supreme Court decision ended the requirement [that] certain states get federal approval for redistricting changes. A federal judge drew the congressional districts in 2002 because legislators could not agree on a map, and again in 2011 because legislators felt they didn’t have enough time to do it during session.”

For more information about redistricting in Mississippi, click here.

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down congressional district plan 

On Jan. 14, the Ohio Supreme Court voted 4-3 to strike down the state’s enacted congressional map and ordered the Ohio Legislature to adopt a remedial map. Writing for the majority, Justice Michael P. Donnelly (D) said, “When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins. That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55 percent of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80 percent of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up.” Justices Maureen O’Connor (R), Melody Stewart (D), and Jennifer L. Brunner (D) rounded out the court’s majority.  

Justices Sharon L. Kennedy (R), Pat Fischer (R), and Pat DeWine (R) jointly dissented, writing: “The majority today declares the congressional-district plan enacted by the legislature to be unconstitutional on the basis that it “unduly” favors a political party and “unduly” splits governmental units. It does so without presenting any workable standard about what it means to unduly favor a political party or divide a county.”

For more information about redistricting in Ohio, click here.

Status of congressional redistricting: Twenty-five states have adopted congressional district maps. One state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect. Courts have blocked previously adopted maps in two states. Fifteen states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district each, making congressional redistricting unnecessary.Congressional redistricting has been completed for 271 of the 435 districts (62.3%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Status of state legislative redistricting: Twenty-nine states have adopted district maps for both legislative chambers. One state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps. Nineteen states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans. Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,217 of 1,972 state Senate seats (61.7%) and 2,775 of 5,411 state House seats (51.3%).



North Carolina Supreme Court postpones statewide primary to May 17, 2022

On Dec. 8, the Supreme Court of North Carolina ordered that the state’s primary election be postponed from March 8, 2022, to May 17, 2022. 

The court issued the order in response to two separate lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s newly enacted congressional and state legislative district plans. The court cited “great public interest in the subject matter of these cases, the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this State, and the need for urgency in reaching a final resolution on the merits” as its rationale for ordering the postponement. 

The postponement applies to all primaries originally scheduled for March 8, 2022. The court suspended candidate filing, which had been scheduled to close on Dec. 17. However, any candidate whose filing has already been accepted by the appropriate state or local board of elections “will be deemed to have filed for the same office under the new election schedule for the May 2022 primary.” The court did not set a new candidate filing deadline, instead directing the trial court to “issue any orders necessary to accomplish the resulting changes in the election schedule, including implementing shortened filing periods and other administrative adjustments.” 

The court directed the trial court to reach a ruling on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims by Jan. 11, 2022. 



Tennessee enacts law authorizing partisan elections for school boards

Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local level. In this month’s issue:

  1. Tennessee enacts law authorizing partisan elections for school boards
  2. Redistricting round-up: Illinois adopts new congressional map; Connecticut adopts new legislative map
  3. Legislation update

Have a question/feedback/or just want to say hello? Respond to this email, or drop me a line directly at Jerrick@Ballotpedia.org.


Tennessee enacts law authorizing partisan elections for school boards

On Nov. 12, Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed HB9072 into law, authorizing partisan elections for local school boards in Tennessee. 

  • What HB9072 does: HB9072, which took effect immediately, amended Tennessee Code Section 49-2-201, which governs the method of conducting school-board elections in the state. Under HB9072, “[e]lections for school board members may be conducted on a partisan or nonpartisan basis.” For partisan elections, “political parties may nominate candidates for membership on the board by any method authorized under the rules of the party or by primary election.” Previously, school-board elections were nonpartisan: a candidate was not permitted to “campaign as the nominee or representative of any political party.” 
  • Legislative history: Thirteen Republicans introduced HB9072 in the state House on Oct. 26. The original version of the bill would have required partisan school-board elections. The state Senate approved an amended version, which authorized but did not require partisan elections, on Oct. 29 by a vote of 20-10. Twenty Republicans voted in favor, with four Republicans and six Democrats voting in opposition. The House approved the amended version 52-39 on Oct. 29, with 52 Republicans voting in favor, 16 Republicans voting against, and 23 Democrats voting against.  
  • Reactions
    • Rep. Scott Cepicky (R), who co-sponsored HB9072, said, “The groundswell came from our parents and we’re seeing this across our state in the disconnect between those who are sitting on our school boards and the people who elect them. Our job is to provide as much transparency in the voter box as we can so that people have an idea of the level of expected performance from the people that they send to represent them.”
    • Rep. Robin Smith (R), who co-sponsored the bill, said, “Politics don’t belong in school. And yet, they are. [The bill]  just provides information for voters and parents [about] the ideological leanings of those that serve on the school board.”
    • Rep. Larry Miller (D), who voted against HB9072, said, “Do you not think that we are partisan enough? Now what we want to do is make education partisan? Think about that. How ridiculous does that even sound?” 
    • Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R), who voted against the bill, said, “We all want or have the desire for good school board members because school board members are going to mean good schools. We have seen across our state and across our country how difficult some school board meetings are. It’s going to be harder and harder to get good candidates to run.”
  • National context: Most school-board elections are nonpartisan. Two states – Louisiana and Pennsylvania – require that all school boards hold partisan elections. A handful of other states – such as Georgia, North Carolina, and, now, Tennessee – authorize but do not require partisan school-board elections. 

Redistricting round-up: Illinois adopts new congressional map; Connecticut adopts new legislative map

In today’s round-up, we take a look at the following recent developments: 

  • Illinois adopts new congressional district boundaries
  • Connecticut completes legislative redistricting

Illinois adopts new congressional district boundaries 

On Nov. 24, Gov. J.B. Pritzer (D) signed into law new congressional district boundaries. Illinois was apportioned 17 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one less than it was apportioned after the 2010 census.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson, the maps place the following pairs of incumbents within the same districts:

After the Illinois General Assembly approved the new district boundaries on Oct. 29, Kinzinger announced he would not seek re-election in 2022. Also, Newman said she would seek re-election not against Garcia, but U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D), whose new district encompasses several areas Newman represented before redistricting. Bost announced he would run for re-election in the 12th District on Oct. 29. Miller has not yet declared her plans.

For more information about redistricting in Illinois, click here.

Status of congressional redistricting: As of Dec. 1, 18 states have adopted new congressional district maps, and 26 states have yet to do so (six states have only one congressional district each, making redistricting unnecessary). Congressional redistricting has been completed for 159 of the 435 U.S. House districts (36.6%).

Connecticut completes legislative redistricting

On Nov. 23, the Connecticut Reapportionment Commission voted 8-0 in favor of new maps for the state’s 36 Senate districts. The commission enacted new House maps on Nov. 18. These maps will take effect for Connecticut’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The commission, made up of four Democratic lawmakers, four Republican lawmakers, and a ninth member selected by the other commissioners, took over the redistricting process after the state’s Reapportionment Committee did not meet its Sept. 15 deadline. Census data was not delivered to the state until Sept. 16. Unlike maps that would have been adopted by the committee, the commission’s maps did not need to win two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly.

According to the CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas, “Passage of the Senate map came without debate in an 11-minute meeting conducted via Zoom, a reflection that the maps in Connecticut are resolved by negotiation.” Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R) said, “It’s truly a bipartisan effort,” and Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D) said, “We have a much better approach than most the country does on this.”

For more information about redistricting in Connecticut, click here

Status of state legislative redistricting: As of Dec. 1, 22 states have adopted legislative district maps and 28 states have yet to do so. Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 771 of 1,972 state Senate districts (39.1%) and 2,032 of 5,411 state House districts (37.6%).


Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills 

Redistricting legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 245 redistricting-related bills up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Dec. 1, 2021

Electoral systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 150 bills dealing with electoral systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Dec. 1, 2021

Primary systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 20 bills dealing with primary systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Dec. 1, 2021



Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting


Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local level. In this month’s issue:

  1. Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting
  2. Redistricting round-up: Eight states enact congressional, state legislative district maps (and other news)
  3. Legislation update

Have a question/feedback/or just want to say hello? Respond to this email, or drop me a line directly at Jerrick@Ballotpedia.org.


Three cities approve ballot measures for ranked-choice voting

On Nov. 2, voters in three cities – Broomfield, Colo., Westbrook, Maine, and Ann Arbor, Mich. – approved ballot measures that provide for the use of ranked-choice voting in future municipal elections. 

  • Broomfield, Colo.: Voters approved Question 2A 51.75% to 48.25%. Question 2A provides for the use of ranked-choice voting in mayoral and city council elections starting in Nov. 2023. Broomfield joins Boulder, Basalt, Carbondale, and Telluride in conducting at least some municipal elections using ranked-choice voting. 
  • Westbrook, Maine: Voters approved a referendum providing for the use of ranked-choice voting in elections for mayor, city council, and school committee. This makes Westbrook the second city in Maine to adopt ranked-choice voting for select municipal elections (the first was Portland). In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt ranked-choice voting for federal elections. 
  • Ann Arbor, Mich.: Voters approved Proposal B 72.83% to 27.17%. Proposal B provides for the use of ranked-choice voting in mayoral and city council elections, but only if the state enacts a law authorizing the method. This is the second time Ann Arbor voters have approved ranked-choice voting for municipal elections, having done so in 1974 by a vote of 53% to 47%. In 1976, Ann Arbor voters repealed the ranked-choice system by a vote of 62% to 38%.

Thirty-two cities in seven states used ranked-choice voting on Nov. 2: Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah. In 22 of these cities, ranked-choice voting was used for the first time on Nov. 2. 

About ranked-choice voting: A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who wins a majority of first-preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.


Redistricting round-up: Eight states enact congressional, state legislative district maps (and other news)

In today’s round-up, we take a look at the following recent developments: 

  • Eight states enact congressional or state legislative district maps between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10.
  • California, Connecticut set final redistricting deadlines.

Eight states enact congressional or state legislative district maps between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10 

The following states (listed in alphabetical order) have enacted either new congressional or state legislative district plans (or both!) since Oct. 1: 

  • Alabama: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4. 
  • Colorado: Congressional district maps enacted Nov. 1.
  • Indiana: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 4.
  • Iowa: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4.
  • Massachusetts: State legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4
  • North Carolina: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Nov. 4.
  • Texas: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 25.
  • West Virginia: Congressional and state legislative district maps enacted Oct. 22.

Status of congressional redistricting: As of Nov. 10, 10 states have adopted congressional district maps, one state’s legislature has approved congressional district maps that have not yet taken effect, and 33 states have yet to do so (six states have only one congressional district each, making redistricting unnecessary). Congressional redistricting has been completed for 99 of the 435 U.S. House districts (22.7%).

Status of state legislative redistricting: As of Nov. 10, 12 states have adopted legislative district maps and 36 states have yet to do so. One state’s legislative map is awaiting approval by the state supreme court. Another state will be revising its plan, which had been based on census estimates, in an upcoming special session. Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 444 of 1,972 state Senate districts (22.5%) and 1,243 of 5,411 state House districts (23.0%).

California, Connecticut set final redistricting deadlines; Virginia redistricting authority moves to state supreme court.

  • California: On Sept. 22, the California Supreme Court set a Nov. 15 deadline for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to release initial draft district plans. The court also set a Dec. 27 deadline for the delivery of final district plans to the secretary of state.
  • Connecticut: According to the Connecticut Constitution, the Reapportionment Committee was required to select a map, which needed two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly, by Sept. 15. The committee did not meet this deadline due to delays in the release of census data. Under state law, the committee was disbanded because it did not meet the Sept. 15 deadline and was replaced by a Reapportionment Commission. The majority and minority leaders of both chambers of the state legislature each selected two members to serve on the commission. The eight commissioners will select a ninth member. The commission’s final deadline is Nov. 30.
  • Virginia: The Virginia Supreme Court will now have the authority to draft new congressional maps in the state because the Virginia Redistricting Commission did not meet its Nov. 8 deadline to submit a plan for U.S. House districts. Under the constitutional amendment that established the commission, party leaders of the House of Delegates and Senate must nominate three special masters from each party to assist the court in the redistricting process, which they did on Nov. 1. The court will then select one special master from each party’s list of nominees. Once selected, the special masters will have 30 days to draft a proposal to submit to the court for review.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills 

Redistricting legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 239 redistricting-related bills up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Redistricting legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021

Electoral systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 152 bills dealing with electoral systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Electoral systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021

Primary systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 20 bills dealing with primary systems that are up for consideration in state legislatures. 

Primary systems legislation in the United States, 2021 

Current as of Nov. 9, 2021



An update on public-sector union vaccine mandate responses

An update on public-sector union vaccine mandate responses

In our Sept. 17 newsletter, we explored a number of public-sector union responses to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Today, we’ll update you on notable developments on the national, state, and local levels. 

AFGE response to federal vaccine mandate 

On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden (D) signed Executive Order 14043, which says that to promote workforce health and safety, it is “necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.” 

On Oct. 30, two American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) affiliated unions, AFGE Local 501 and Council of Prison Locals 33, filed a lawsuit against Biden and five other defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in response to the mandate. Both unions represent federal prison employees.  

The unions allege the executive order and related policy “[deprived them] of their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as their Fourteenth Amendment liberty right to privacy, self-autonomy and personal identity, including the right to reject mandated procedures and treatment.”   

The case name and number are AFGE Local 501 et al. v. Biden et al. (1:21-cv-23828). The case is assigned to Judge Joan A. Lenard, who President Bill Clinton (D) nominated to the court.

SEIU Local 1000 response to California vaccine mandate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on July 26 that all state employees would be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing, effective Aug. 2. SEIU Local 1000 sent a cease and desist letter to the California Department of Human Resources that said, “This is a change in the terms and working conditions of our represented employees and requires meeting and conferring with the union prior to implementing the change.” SEIU Local 1000 reached a settlement agreement with the state in September. A California Department of Human Resources spokeswoman said the agreement would “[allow] the state to continue with the testing program while reaching an important compromise on changes that were important to our employee groups.” SEIU Local 1000 said, “The next fight will be at the table. …  We continue to fight against unfair testing and vaccination requirements.”   

For more information about the 20 states that have issued vaccine requirements for state employees, click here.

Fraternal Order of Police response to Chicago vaccine mandate

Chicago, Illinois’ employee vaccination policy required city employees to either be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 or undergo testing twice a week. The testing option is scheduled to end on Dec. 31 for all employees without a medical or religious exemption.

On Oct. 14, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and three other Chicago police unions filed a lawsuit in response to the mandate, alleging that the policy “imposes new terms and conditions of employment on [officers], without completing collective bargaining negotiations and engaging in the impasse resolution procedure of the parties’ respective collective bargaining agreements.” The unions sought to block the city from enforcing its policies, including requirements for reporting and testing, until the mandate could be negotiated. Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded, “I am confident that we have the law and the facts on our side.”    

On Nov. 1, Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell blocked the Dec. 31 deadline from being enforced against police union members until the issue is resolved through arbitration. Officers must still comply with requirements to report their vaccination status and undergo testing, if unvaccinated.   

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Wisconsin SB660: This bill would give certain school district, educational service, college district, and university system employees the right to bargain collectively over wages, hours, and employment conditions.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, and referred to the Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform Committee Nov. 2. 



Public-sector workers file two joint petitions to Supreme Court

Public-sector workers file two joint petitions to Supreme Court

Public-sector workers have filed two new joint petitions for writs of certiorari—requests for the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling—in cases involving union opt-out windows. Also, five public-sector union cases are among the list of petitions the Supreme Court will consider in its conference today.   

Anderson v. SEIU Local 503

In Anderson v. SEIU Local 503, public-sector workers in four cases filed a joint petition on Oct. 22, 2021. Attorneys from the Freedom Foundation and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represent the petitioners.  

The four cases, all appealed from the Ninth Circuit, are listed below:

The petition says:

“Petitioners are public employees in the States of California and Oregon who exercised their First Amendment rights to resign their union memberships, revoke their authorizations for their public employers to withhold further union payments from their wages after they became nonmembers, and object to subsidizing union speech. The respondent government employers and unions ignored petitioners’ revocations and continued seizing payments for union speech from these objecting nonmembers until an escape period (contained in their dues deduction authorizations) for stopping union deductions occurred. 

[…]  

“In some ways, escape-period requirements are worse than the agency fee law Janus held unconstitutional. Illinois’s law required government employers to deduct from nonconsenting employees’ wages reduced union fees that excluded monies used for some political purposes. … California’s and Oregon’s post-Janus revocation law requires that governments deduct full union dues, including monies used for partisan political purposes, from employees who resign and object to these seizures outside an annual

revocation period. … For employees who do not want to support union expressive activities, escape-period restrictions can be more harmful to their speech rights than the ‘agency shop’ requirement Janus struck down.”

The respondents have until Nov. 26, 2021, to file a reply.  

Woods v. Alaska State Employees Association

In Woods v. Alaska State Employees Association, public-sector workers in two cases filed a joint petition on Oct. 25, 2021. Attorneys from Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represent the petitioners.

The two cases, both appealed from the Ninth Circuit, are listed below:

The petition says:

“…if Janus’ waiver requirement is not enforced, states and unions will continue to severely restrict when employees can exercise their right to stop paying for union speech. As earlier discussed, a dozen states amended their dues-deductions laws to require government employers to enforce restrictions on when employees can stop payroll deduction of union dues. … These types of restrictions also are enforced in at least five other states, including Alaska. As a result, public employees in these states often are prohibited from exercising their First Amendment rights under Janus for 350-55 days of each year, if not for longer periods. 

[…]

“It is important that the Court make clear that it meant what it said in Janus: that states and unions cannot seize payments for union speech from employees unless they waive their right not to subsidize that speech. … Otherwise, a number of states and unions, with the blessing of three appellate courts, will continue to hamstring the First Amendment right the Court recognized in Janus.”

The respondents have until Nov. 26, 2021, to file a reply.  

Other petitions still pending 

Since the beginning of its 2021-2022 term on Oct. 4, the Supreme Court has decided not to hear eight of the 15 public-sector union cases we previewed in our Oct. 1 newsletter. The following seven cases are still pending. Of those seven, five were among the 189 cases distributed to the justices for their conference on Friday, Oct. 29.   

About the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s yearly term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October the following year. The court receives around 7,000 to 8,000 petitions every year. During its past five terms, the court has agreed to hear an average of 71 cases per term. The court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.   

To subscribe to Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.