Author

Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

New York City legislation allowing certain noncitizens to vote becomes law

On Jan. 9, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) allowed Int. 1867-2020 to become law without his signature. Int. 1867-2020 will allow lawful permanent residents and other noncitizens authorized to work in the United States to vote in municipal elections conducted on or after Jan. 9, 2023. According to Politico, this will allow nearly a million noncitizens to vote.

The New York City Council passed the legislation by a 33-14 vote on Dec. 9, 2021. Then-Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said he would not veto the legislation at the time of passage. Adams became mayor on Jan. 1, 2022.

This legislation made New York City the largest city in the nation to authorize voting by noncitizens. Fifteen municipalities across the country allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections as of January 2022. Eleven were located in Maryland, two were located in Vermont, one was New York City, and the other was San Francisco, California.

Additional reading:



Average margin of victory in state legislative general elections in 2021 was 23.6 percent

Three of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers held regularly-scheduled elections for 220 seats on Nov. 2, 2021. In races where more than one candidate ran in the election, the average margin of victory was 23.6%. The margin of victory is the difference between the share of votes cast for the winning candidate and the second-place candidate in an election.

Major-party candidates won 46 seats by margins of 10% or less; Democrats won 24 of those seats Republicans won 22. That means that 21% of seats up for election were won by a margin of 10% or less.

Three races were decided by a margin of 0.5% or less. In New Jersey General Assembly District 11, the race was decided by a margin of 0.25% (347 votes). In Virginia House of Delegates District 91, the race was decided by a margin of 0.34% (94 votes). In Virginia House of Delegates District 85, the race was decided by a margin of 0.45% (127 votes).

Although there were more than double the seats up in the previous odd-year election, we can compare these numbers to 2019. The average margin of victory for the 538 seats up that year was 26.0%, with 57 seats (10.6%) decided by a margin of 10% or less. Two races that year were decided by a margin of 0.5% or less.

Additional reading:



36.5 percent of Americans live in a Democratic trifecta, 41.8 percent live in a Republican trifecta

At the start of 2022, 36.5 percent (120 million) of Americans lived in a state with a Democratic trifecta, while 41.8 percent (137 million) lived in a state with a Republican trifecta. The other 71 million Americans lived in a state with a divided government.

A state government trifecta is a term to describe single-party government, when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. At the start of 2022, there were 38 trifectas—15 Democratic and 23 Republican.

Virginia’s will change from a Democratic trifecta to a state with divided government when legislators and Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) are sworn into office on Jan. 12. In the 2021 elections, Republicans won control of the Virginia House of Delegates and the governor’s office, currently held by Democrat Ralph Northam. Democrats still control the Virginia State Senate.

When this happens, 33.9 percent of Americans (112 million) will live in a state with a Democratic trifecta, 41.8 percent (137 million) will live in a state with a Republican trifecta, and 24.3 percent (78 million) will live in a state with divided government.

Additional reading:



Supreme Court issued rulings in two Texas abortion cases

On December 10, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued rulings in a pair of cases related to Texas’ S.B. 8. S.B. 8 restricted abortion procedures after six weeks of pregnancy and authorized private civil right of action related to violations of the law. One case, United States v. Texas, questioned whether the federal government had standing to sue to block enforcement of S.B. 8. The other, Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson, questioned who providers could sue to prevent enforcement of the law.

The court issued a per curiam decision in United States v. Texas. The court dismissed the case as improvidently granted and denied the federal government’s request to vacate a stay against a lower court injunction. Three lower court rulings were made prior to the Supreme Court hearing this case.

In Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson, the court ruled 8-1 that abortion providers may file suit in federal court against certain Texas executive officials to prevent them from enforcing provisions of S.B. 8 against abortion providers. It further held by a 5-4 vote that the abortion providers cannot bring suit against state judicial officials to prevent private lawsuits from being tried. Two lower court rulings were made prior to the Supreme Court hearing this case.

Additional reading:



Democrats raised 78 percent more than Republicans in seven flipped Virginia House seats

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates took place on November 2, 2021. Democrats lost their majority in the chamber. Republicans regained their majority, winning 52 seats to Democrats’ 48 seats. Seven seats changed party hands as a result of the elections this year. In those seats, Democrats raised $12.3 million and Republicans raised $5.4 million between Jan. 1, 2020, and Nov. 25, 2021.

In all of these districts, the Democratic candidate raised more money than the Republican candidate. The district with the largest difference in fundraising was District 91 (166 percent) and the district with the smallest difference in fundraising was District 12 (48 percent).

Heading into the election, Democrats held 55 seats and Republicans held 45 seats. There were 93 districts with both a Democratic and Republican candidate on the ballot. This was the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Fundraising in seats that changed party hands

District 12 – $2,751,364.52

Incumbent Chris Hurst (D) raised $1,703,629 and Jason Ballard (R) raised $1,047,735.

Ballard received 55.2 percent of the vote and Hurst received 44.4 percent. 

District 28 – $3,542,970.39

Incumbent Joshua Cole (D) raised $2,430,940 and Tara Durant (R) raised $1,112,030.

Durant received 51.0 percent of the vote and Cole received 48.8 percent. 

District 63 – $1,776,979.15

Incumbent Lashrecse Aird (D) raised $1,509,705 and Kim Taylor (R) raised $267,273.

Taylor received 51.1 percent of the vote and Aird received 48.8 percent. 

District 75 – $2,417,257.41

Incumbent Roz Tyler (D) raised $1,514,495 and H. Otto Wachsmann Jr. (R) raised $902,762.

Wachsmann received 52.6 percent of the vote and Tyler received 47.3 percent. 

District 83 – $3,099,477.32

Incumbent Nancy Guy (D) raised $2,175,443 and Tim Anderson (R) raised $924,034.

Anderson received 51.3 percent of the vote and Guy received 48.7 percent. 

District 85 – $3,365,580.81

Incumbent Alex Askew (D) raised $2,310,631 and Karen Greenhalgh (R) raised $1,054,949.

Greenhalgh received 50.2 percent of the vote and Askew received 49.7 percent. 

District 91 – $716,551.91

Incumbent Martha Mugler (D) raised $654,344, Aijalon Cordoza (R) raised $60,330, and Charles West (L) raised $1,877.

Cordoza received 49.4 percent of the vote and Mugler received 49.0 percent. 

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Nov. 25, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Democrats outraise Republicans by 125% in Virginia state legislative races

New campaign finance filings for Virginia state legislative races showed that Democrats led Republicans in fundraising through the election cycle. Between January 1, 2020, and November 25, 2021, Democratic candidates outraised Republican candidates by 125 percent.

Heading into the general elections, 103 Democratic candidates raised $56.39 million compared to $25.11 million raised by 103 Republicans.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent reporting period were:

The candidates who raised the most money were incumbent Wendy Gooditis (D) in House District 10 ($3,085,894), incumbent Joshua Cole (D) in House District 28 ($2,430,940), and incumbent Jerrauld Jones (D) in House District 89 ($2,377,726).

State legislative general elections were held on November 2, 2021. In some cases, party nominees may have been chosen earlier.

Democrats entered the election with a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate and a 55-45 majority in the Virginia State House. No elections took place in the Senate. In the House, Republicans won seven seats to gain a 52-48 majority.

Campaign finance requirements govern how much money candidates may receive from individuals and organizations, how much and how often they must report those contributions, and how much individuals, organizations, and political parties may contribute to campaigns. All campaign financial transactions must be made through the candidate’s committee. Campaign committees are required to file regular campaign finance disclosure reports with the Virginia Department of Elections.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Six of 11 wave elections in the U.S. House took place during a president’s first midterm election

The term wave election is frequently used to describe an election cycle in which one party makes significant electoral gains. With the 2022 Congressional elections approaching, the question of what qualifies as a wave election is once again gaining significance.

In a 2018 study, we examined the results of the 50 election cycles that occurred between 1918 and 2016—spanning from President Woodrow Wilson’s (D) second midterm in 1918 to Donald Trump’s (R) first presidential election in 2016. We defined wave elections as the 20 percent of elections in that period resulting in the greatest seat swings against the president’s party.

According to this definition, a U.S. House election cycle qualifies as a wave election if the president’s party loses at least 48 seats.

Between 1918 and 2016, 11 wave elections took place in the U.S. House. Six of these waves occurred during a president’s first midterm election. These six occurred under four Democratic presidents (Obama, Clinton, Johnson, and Truman) and two Republican presidents (Harding and Hoover). The president’s party lost an average of 58 seats in the U.S. House during these six elections.

As of Dec. 2, 2021, Democrats held 221 seats in the U.S. House. A wave election would result in them controlling no more than 173 seats in the chamber. Since the House grew to 435 seats in 1913, Democrats have held fewer than 173 seats twice: 131 during the 67th Congress (1921-1923) and 164 during the 71st Congress (1929-1931).

The 2018 U.S. House elections were the most recent first midterm election under President Donald Trump (R). Democrats won a majority in the chamber by gaining a net of 40 seats. The 2018 midterm election fell eight seats short of qualifying as a wave election.

Additional reading:



Sixteen seats changed party control and 14 incumbents lost in state legislative general elections

Three of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers held regularly-scheduled elections on Nov. 2: the New Jersey State Senate, New Jersey General Assembly, and Virginia House of Delegates. Elections in these three chambers represented 220 of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats (2.9%).

Final results were recently certified in both states, though recounts recently began in two Virginia House of Delegates elections.

Overall, party control has changed for 16 state legislative seats. Fifteen seats changed from Democratic to Republican control and one seat changed from Republican to Democratic control. Control of nine seats changed in New Jersey. Control of seven seats changed in Virginia. In 2019, 33 seats changed party control. Most of those were outside of New Jersey and Virginia, however, where only 10 seats combined changed party control. The other seats were in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Fourteen incumbents lost in general elections, all Democrats. They were split evenly between New Jersey and Virginia. Two incumbents lost in the New Jersey State Senate and five lost in the New Jersey General Assembly. Seven incumbents lost in the Virginia House of Delegates. In each of the last three odd-year election cycles (2021, 2019, and 2017), exactly fourteen incumbents have lost in the general elections.

At the chamber level, Democrats lost majority control and a net of seven seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The chamber went from 55-45 Democratic control to 52-48 Republican control. Republicans previously lost their majority in the 2019 elections.

In the New Jersey General Assembly, Democrats lost a net of six seats, reducing their majority from 52-28 to 46-34. In the New Jersey State Senate, Democrats lost a net of one seat, reducing their majority from 25-14 (with one vacancy) to 24-16.

Certified results in the District 85 and 91 elections in the Virginia House showed the winning candidates’ margin of victory within 1% of total votes cast. Democratic candidates in both races requested recounts, which began on Dec. 2.



Three of the five Virginia House races with the most fundraising resulted in partisan control changes

Elections for all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates took place on November 2, 2021. Democrats lost their majority in the chamber. Republicans regained their majority, winning 52 seats to Democrats’ 48 seats. Three of the seats that changed party hands were among the five districts with the most fundraising in the 2021 election cycle.

Heading into the election, Democrats held 55 seats and Republicans held 45 seats. There were 93 districts with both a Democratic and Republican candidate on the ballot. This was the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the chamber.

Five most expensive general elections

DistrictMoney RaisedPre-Election ControlPost-Election Control
District 10$4,372,000.60DemocraticDemocratic
District 85$2,938,036.50DemocraticRepublican
District 83$2,768,861.30DemocraticRepublican
District 28$2,686,629.06DemocraticRepublican
District 73$2,573,085.71DemocraticDemocratic

#1 District 10 – $4,372,000.60

Incumbent Wendy Gooditis (D) raised $2,876,678.21 while Nick Clemente (R) raised $1,495,322.39.

Gooditis won re-election. She received 50.9 percent of the vote and Clemente received 48.9 percent.

In 2019, candidates in this district raised $2,633,438 and Gooditis won 52.3 percent to 47.6 percent.

#2 District 85 – $2,938,036.50

Incumbent Alex Askew (D) raised $2,123,593.11 while Karen Greenhalgh (R) raised $814,443.39.

Greenhalgh defeated Askew. She received 50.2 percent of the vote and Askew received 49.8 percent.

In 2019, candidates in this district raised $2,193,470 and Askew won 51.6 percent to 48.2 percent.

#3 District 83 – $2,768,861.30

Incumbent Nancy Guy (D) raised $2,041,767.36 while Tim Anderson (R) raised $727,093.94.

Anderson defeated Guy. He received 51.3 percent of the vote and Guy received 48.7 percent.

In 2019, candidates in this district raised $2,467,095 and Guy won 50.0 percent to 49.8 percent.

#4 District 28 – $2,686,629.06

Incumbent Joshua Cole (D) raised $1,742,132.53 while Tara Durant (R) raised $944,496.53.

Durant defeated Cole. She received 51.0 percent of the vote and Cole received 48.8 percent.

In 2019, candidates in this district raised $2,265,794 and Cole won 51.8 percent to 47.8 percent.

#5 District 73 – $2,573,085.71

Incumbent Rodney Willett (D) raised $1,757,744.82 while Mary Margaret Kastelberg (R) raised $815,340.89.

Willett won re-election. He received 51.9 percent of the vote and Kastelberg received 48.0 percent.

In 2019, candidates in this district raised $2,332,478 and Willett won 52.2 percent to 47.7 percent.

Fundraising in all contested elections

Across Virginia in the 2021 election cycle, the average amount raised for a general election featuring more than one candidate was $725,238. The map below shades the Virginia House districts based on the amount of money raised in that district.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Oct. 21, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Virginia to become the third state with a split legislature following 2021 general elections

As a result of the 2021 elections, Republicans gained a 52-48 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats hold a 21-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate. When the new legislature takes office in January, Virginia will join Alaska and Minnesota as the only states where control of two legislative chambers is split between parties.

Alaska’s legislature has been under split control since the start of 2016 when Democrats successfully created a minority-led coalition in the Alaska House of Representatives. Republicans have held a majority in the Alaska State Senate since 2012.

Minnesota’s legislature has been under split control since 2019. Republicans control the Minnesota State Senate, while Democrats control the Minnesota House of Representatives. The legislature was also split from 2015-2016 and 1999-2006.

Across the rest of the country, Republicans hold majorities in both state legislative chambers in 30 states, while Democrats hold majorities in 17 states.

Additional reading: