Author

Samuel Wonacott

Samuel Wonacott is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Five measures certified (so far) in three states for the 2023 ballot

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

  1. Five measures certified in three states for the 2023 ballot  
  2. Willie Wilson leads Chicago mayoral candidates in fundraising while Mayor Lori Lightfoot leads in spending
  3. Learn how school board elections played out in the 2022 midterms with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

Five measures certified in three states for the 2023 ballot  

Here’s an update on this year’s certified ballot measures. 

As of Jan. 25, five statewide measures have been certified for the ballot in three states. That’s one more than the average number certified at this point in odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021. 

Three new measure was certified last week:

Wisconsin voters will decide those measures on April 4, the same date as a state supreme court election. We wrote about the relationship between the ballot measures above and the state supreme court election in the Jan. 23 Brew

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for two initiatives in Maine: 

Additionally, enough signatures were verified for three indirect initiatives in Maine and Ohio to send them to the legislature:

In general, with indirect signatures, if a legislative body doesn’t enact the initiatives within a set time period, the initiative is then placed on the ballot.

An average of 33 statewide measures were certified in odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021. By this time during odd-numbered years from 2011 through 2021, an average of four statewide measures had been certified for the ballot. 

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Willie Wilson leads Chicago mayoral candidates in fundraising while Mayor Lori Lightfoot leads in spending

This year won’t be as packed with elections as 2022, but that doesn’t mean the election calendar is empty. In a little over a month, voters in Chicago, Ill., will go to the polls to decide one of this year’s biggest mayoral contests.  

Nine candidates are running in the election—incumbent Lori Lightfoot, Jesus Garcia, Brandon Johnson, Paul Vallas, Kambium Buckner, Ja’Mal Green, Sophia King, Roderick Sawyer, and Willie Wilson

Although elections are officially nonpartisan, candidates are typically affiliated with one of the major political parties. Eight of the current candidates are affiliated with the Democratic Party and one is an independent. The last Republican mayor of Chicago, William Thompson, left office in 1931. To learn about the partisan affiliation of each candidate, click here.

Lightfoot, Garcia, Johnson, and Vallas have performed the best in polling and received the most media attention.

Here’s an update on fundraising in the race, through the most recent filings on Dec. 31, 2022.

Wilson has raised  $6.1 million. WTTW, Chicago’s PBS television station, reported that $5 million of that total was self-funded. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent $4.3 million, $2 million more than her next closest competitor.  

Four other candidates raised more than $1 million: Lightfoot ($4.5 million), former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas ($2.2 million), Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson ($1.8 million), and U.S. Rep. Jesus Garcia ($1.5 million).

Three other candidates spent more than $500,000: Wilson ($2.0 million), Vallas ($1.0 million), and Johnson ($578,000).

If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the general election, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff on April 4. The last two mayoral elections (2019 and 2015) resulted in runoffs. In 2019, all 14 candidates, including those who participated in the primary, spent more than $38 million combined. 

We’ll have more on this race in a future edition of the Brew. For now, you can learn more about the candidates, fundraising, issues, and what’s at stake at the link below. 

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Learn how school board elections played out in the 2022 midterms with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, takes a closer look at the week’s top political stories.

In this week’s episode, staff writer Doug Kronaizl walks us through what we’ve learned about last year’s school board elections. Doug digs into why recall campaigns against school board members spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and helps us understand the core themes that animated school board elections last November (you can also subscribe to Hall Pass for weekly updates on school board politics).

Plus, Footnote Facts with Paul Rader returns to tell us about the 50 longest-serving governors in U.S. history who served non-consecutive terms.

New episodes of On the Ballot are posted every Thursday afternoon. If you’re reading this on the morning of Jan. 26, you’ve still got time to subscribe to On the Ballot on your favorite podcast app before this week’s episode drops! 

Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe.

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Wisconsin voters to decide three ballot measure questions on April 4

Welcome to the Monday, January 23, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Wisconsin Legislature puts three ballot questions on the April ballot
  2. Over the last week, 236 election-related bills were introduced in state legislatures  
  3. An update on last week’s additions to the Federal Register

Wisconsin Legislature puts three ballot questions on the April ballot

On April 4, Wisconsin voters will decide a closely watched state supreme court election and three ballot measures. The measures include two constitutional amendments and one advisory question. The supreme court election will determine ideological control of the court, which is currently considered to have a 4-3 conservative majority.

The constitutional amendments relate to the conditions of release for an accused individual before conviction and cash bail. The two questions were referred to the ballot with the final passage of Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR 2) on Jan. 19. The legislature also voted to place an advisory question on the April ballot. It asks: “Shall able-bodied, childless adults be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits?” 

Wisconsin has a divided government. Republicans control the state House and Senate, while a Democrat serves as governor.  

According to Wisconsin Public Radio’s Shawn Johnson, “The potential political benefit for Republicans is that the referendum questions they’ve chosen could appeal to voters who may otherwise be unlikely to cast ballots for the officially nonpartisan, sometimes low-key office of supreme court justice.”

In Wisconsin, a majority vote in two successive legislative sessions is required to approve an amendment for the amendment to appear on the ballot. Wisconsin is one of 13 states with a two-session requirement for legislatively referred constitutional amendments (in four of those states, an amendment that receives a supermajority in the first round can bypass the second).  

During the 2021-2022 legislative session, the amendments were introduced as Assembly Joint Resolution 107 (AJR 107). The state Assembly approved AJR 107 by a vote of 70-21 on Feb. 15, 2022. The state Senate approved the joint resolution 23-10 on Feb. 22. 

During the 2023-2024 legislative session, the amendments were introduced as SJR 2. The Senate approved it 23-9 on Jan. 17. The Assembly approved it 74-23 on Jan. 23. In both chambers, Republicans supported the SJR 2. In the House, Democrats voted 12-23. In the Senate, Democrats voted 2-9.

Wisconsin voters last amended this section of the state constitution in April 1981 with the passage of Question 3. The amendment permitted the legislature to allow courts to deny, revoke, or set terms of bail. It was approved by a vote of 73.15% to 26.85%. 

Between 1985 and 2022, 18 measures appeared on odd-numbered year ballots in Wisconsin. Eleven measures were approved and seven were defeated. The last spring odd-year election to include a ballot measure in Wisconsin was in 2015. Voters approved a measure allowing majority of supreme court justices to elect a chief justice..

Click to read more about Wisconsin’s 2023 ballot measures.

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236 election-related bills introduced in state legislatures  

Since Jan. 13, 236 election-related bills have been introduced (or saw pre-committee action). That represents a 7.4 percent decrease from last week’s total of 256 bills. 

These 236 bills represent 29 percent of the 808 bills we are currently tracking in 2023. Seventy-three of these bills are from states with Democratic trifectas, 123 are from states with Republican trifectas, and 40 are from states with a divided government.

The bar chart below compares recent activity on a week-to-week basis over the last eight weeks.

To date, we have tracked 808 election-related bills in 2023. These bills were either introduced this year or crossed over from last year’s legislative sessions. 

If you want to learn more about election-related legislation, click the link below and subscribe to our weekly election legislation tracking digest. You’ll receive weekly updates on election-related activity across the states, including information about noteworthy bills, the number of bills acted on within a given week, and which states have seen the highest concentration of legislative activity. You can also use our interactive Election Administration Legislation Tracker to find and read election-related bills in your state. 

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An update on last week’s additions to the Federal Register

Now that we’ve talked about state legislatures, let’s take a look at what’s happening in D.C.

Between Jan. 16-20, the Federal Register added 1,410 pages for a year-to-date total of 3,910 pages. 

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal activity. The 1935 Federal Register Act created the journal to centralize and standardize the public release of federal government information. The journal includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices, and is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

This week’s update features 468 documents, including 372 notices, four presidential documents, 31 proposed rules and 61 final rules.

Ten rules—three proposed and seven final—were deemed significant under E.O. 12866. A rule is defined as significant if it has the potential to have large effects on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. One of the significant proposals concerns revisions to regulations under the Black Lung Benefits Act regarding authorization of self-insurers from the Workers’ Compensation Programs Office. One of significant final rules concerns amendments to medical regulations regarding emergent suicide care from the Veterans Affairs Department. 

Significant actions may conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Biden administration has issued 21 significant proposed rules, 13 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of Jan. 20.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

We maintain page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of our Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.Click below to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017.

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Recapping 2022’s state legislative special sessions

Welcome to the Wednesday, January 18, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. A look back at 2022 state legislative special sessions
  2. Two veto referendum campaigns and California executive departments disagree on when referendums suspend fast food workers and oil and gas laws
  3. Subscribe to Hall Pass to stay up to date on school board politics and education policy  

A look back at 2022 state legislative special sessions

State legislative sessions are underway this year. Legislatures hold both regular sessions and, from time to time, special sessions. Governors or legislators call special sessions, usually to deliberate on a specific topic. Although all 50 states will hold regularly scheduled legislative sessions in 2023, it’s impossible to predict how many will call special sessions. 

Eighteen states held special sessions in 2022

  • Eight states—Florida, Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—held more than one special session in 2022. Florida and West Virginia held the most special sessions with three each. Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia are Republican trifectas, meaning Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Louisiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin have divided governments. Louisiana and Wisconsin have Democratic governors, while Virginia’s governor is a Republican. New York has a Democratic trifecta
  • Across all 18 states, each special session lasted an average of six days. Including multiple sessions, each state spent an average of nine days in a special session. 
  • South Carolina had the longest special session of the year between Aug. 30 and Nov. 9—72 days. In five states, special sessions lasted only one day.

Here’s the list of states and session dates we tracked last year:

  • Arkansas: Aug. 9-11
  • California: Dec. 5
  • Connecticut: Dec. 28-29
  • Florida: April 19-22, May 23, and Dec. 12-14
  • Idaho: Sept. 1
  • Indiana: July 25-Aug. 5
  • Kentucky: Aug. 24-26
  • Louisiana: Feb. 1-18 and June 15-18
  • Mississippi: Nov. 2
  • Missouri: Sept. 14-Oct. 4 (veto and special session)
  • New Mexico: April 5
  • New York: June 30 and Dec. 22
  • Oklahoma: May 18 and June 13-15
  • South Carolina: Aug. 30-Nov. 9 and Sept. 6-8 (special senate session)
  • Utah: March 25
  • Virginia: April 4 and Sept. 7
  • West Virginia: April 24-26 (special veto session), July 25-29, and Sept. 12
  • Wisconsin: June 22 and Oct. 4

Thus far in 2023, one state—Illinois—held a special session from Jan. 4 to Jan. 10. We’ll keep you updated as states call special sessions throughout the year. 

Keep reading 

Two veto referendum campaigns and California executive departments disagree on when referendums suspend fast food workers and oil and gas laws 

Let’s turn now to look at a potential 2024 ballot measures in California.  

On Dec. 5, 2022, the Save Local Restaurants campaign filed one million signatures for a veto referendum to overturn California Assembly Bill 257 (AB 257), also known as the FAST Act. At least 623,212 signatures must be valid. Counties have until Jan. 25 to check a random sample of signatures. In California, a veto referendum is a type of citizen-initiated ballot measure that asks voters whether to uphold or repeal a law. There are 23 states with a process for veto referendums.

The FAST Act was designed to establish a fast food council that could raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $22 per hour and establish working hours and conditions. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the legislation on Sept. 5, 2022.

The FAST Act was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. 

However, the Save Local Restaurants PAC and California Industrial Relations Department disagree on whether the Fast ACT was suspended when the campaign filed signatures on Dec. 5. While both the campaign and state agree the bill would be suspended ahead of the election on Nov. 5, 2024, the campaign says the bill was suspended once it submitted signatures for verification. The state says the bill wouldn’t be suspended until and unless enough signatures are verified.

The Save Local Restaurants PAC filed a lawsuit on Dec. 29, 2022, to prevent the FAST Act’s implementation. On Jan. 13, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne W. L. Chang granted a preliminary injunction keeping the bill from taking effect until the petition is verified by the state. Judge Change wrote, “The harm to the California citizens and electors … is great given the Court’s duty to ‘jealously guard’ the people’s right to referendum and the confusion that would occur if AB257 were temporarily implemented while signatures were verified.”

Besides the veto referendum on the FAST Act, signatures are also being verified for a veto referendum on Senate Bill 1137 (SB 1137). The bill would prohibit new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals and require companies to monitor leaks and emissions and install alarms. Like the FAST Act, SB 1137 was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA) is leading the campaign, Stop the Energy Shutdown, for the veto referendum. Rock Zierman, the CEO of CIPA, said the law should be suspended pending signature verification, but that CIPA decided not to sue as the group expects the law to be suspended when signatures are verified on or before Feb. 7.

California voters have decided 50 veto referendums, upholding laws 21 times (42%) and repealing laws 29 times (58%). The most recent veto referendum was on the ballot in Nov. 2022, when voters upheld a bill to ban flavored tobacco products.

Click below to read more!

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Subscribe to Hall Pass to stay up to date on school board politics and education policy 

Hall Pass is a weekly newsletter that keeps you informed about the conversations driving school board politics and education policy. New editions reach your inbox Wednesday afternoons. 

Here’s a look at some of the stories we’ve featured in the first few weeks of 2023: 

  • On Jan. 4, we looked at the debate over allowing students to retake tests and shared what our 2022 Recall Analysis had to say about school board recall efforts (114 school board members faced recall campaigns!). 
  • On Jan. 11 we looked at arguments for and against the four-day school week and plunged into Peltier v. Charter Day School, Inc., a potential U.S. Supreme Court case with significant implications for charter schools across the country.  

Each edition also features survey responses from school board candidates, a look at upcoming school board elections, and a trove of links to the latest research and news in the world of education. 

The next edition of Hall Pass comes out this afternoon (Jan. 18). Click the link below to subscribe!

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Changes in initiative signature requirements following 2022 election

Welcome to the Tuesday, January 17, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Signatures required for ballot initiatives decreased by 7.34% on average following the 2022 election
  2. The average margin of victory was higher in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House than in 2020 
  3. Over the last week, 253 election-related bills were introduced in state legislatures 

Signatures required for ballot initiatives decreased by 7.34% on average following the 2022 election

Welcome back! Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we hope you enjoyed the long weekend. For our first story this week, we looked back at signature requirements for ballot initiatives in 2022.  

This year, signature requirements for citizen-initiated measures changed in 20 states. There are 26 states that allow for initiatives or referendums, and in each of these states, the number of signatures required is tied to another number. The most common type of requirement is based on the number of votes in a specific election, such as the gubernatorial election.

Turnout on Nov. 8, 2022, caused signature requirements for citizen-initiated ballot measures to change in 17 states. An additional three states will change their requirements based on the number of registered voters. The average state signature requirement change was a -7.34% decrease. Changes ranged from a -28.84% decrease in Wyoming to a +7.70% increase in Arizona. 

Overall, signature requirements increased in Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, and Arkansas. They decreased in Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, and Wyoming.

Arizona had the largest percent increase (+7.70%) in the number of signatures required, while Wyoming had the largest percent decrease (-28.84%)

  • In Arizona, the signature requirement is based on votes cast in the 2022 gubernatorial election. Including Arizona, 13 states base their signature requirements on the number of votes cast in midterm gubernatorial elections or another state executive election. The average change in these states was -1.72%, with a range of -12.99% in Maryland to +7.70% in Arizona.
  • In Wyoming, the signature requirement is based on turnout at the preceding general election, both presidential and midterm elections. Including Wyoming, four states base their signature requirements on turnout at the preceding general election. As turnout was lower in 2022, a midterm election, compared to 2020, a presidential election, the signature requirement decreased in each of these four states, from −28.84% in Wyoming to -23.00% in New Mexico.

The number of signatures required also decreased by -7.04% in Idaho, where the signature requirement is based on the number of registered voters at the time of the election. In Utah, the signature requirement changed on Jan. 1, 2023, based on the number of active voters. In Nebraska, the signature requirement is based on the number of registered voters at the signature deadline. 

Signature requirements did not change in six states – Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington. In North Dakota, the requirement changes once per decade with the decennial census population count. In Florida, the requirement is based on the number of votes cast for president. The other states base their requirements on votes cast in gubernatorial elections that did not occur in 2022.

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The average margin of victory was higher in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House than in 2020 

Over the last few months, we’ve been hard at work bringing you unique analyses of the Nov. 8, 2022, general elections. Today, let’s look at our most recent analysis article—the margin of victory (MOV) in U.S. House and U.S. Senate elections. 

An electoral MOV is the difference between the share of votes cast for the winning candidate and the runner-up. Margins of victory can be used to measure electoral competitiveness, political party or candidate strength, and, indirectly, the popularity of a particular policy or set of policies.

Here’s a summary of what we found:

  • The average MOV across 35 U.S. Senate elections was 19%, larger than the 18.1% average in 2020 Senate elections.
  • The average MOV across 435 U.S. House elections was 28.9%, up slightly from 28.8% in 2020 and the second smallest MOV since 2012.
  • Republicans had a larger average MOV than Democrats in Senate races (21.3% versus 16%) and House races (30.2% to 27.7%).

U.S. Senate

The average margin of victory in the U.S. Senate was 19%, larger than the 18.1% average margin in 2020. The average MOV was 21.3 percentage points for Republicans and 16 percentage points for Democrats.

The narrowest margin in any U.S. Senate election in 2022 was 0.50 percentage points in the U.S. Senate election in Nevada between Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Adam Laxalt (R). The largest MOV was in Hawaii, where Brian Schatz (D) defeated Bob McDermott (R) by a margin of 52.17 percentage points.

U.S. House

The average MOV in the U.S. House was 28.9 percentage points, the second smallest margin since 2012. The average MOV was 28.8 percentage points in 2020.

Broken down by the winner’s party, the average MOV was 27.7 percentage points for Democrats and 30.2 percentage points for Republicans.

The closest U.S. House race in 2022 was in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, where Lauren Boebert (R) defeated Adam Frisch (D) by a margin of 0.17%, or 546 votes out of more than 300,000 cast. This was 540 votes more than the closest House race in 2020. In that race, Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) defeated Rita Hart (D) by a margin of 6 votes out of nearly 400,000 cast, the narrowest margin of victory in any U.S. House election since 1984.

Click the link below to learn more about our analysis of Congressional races in 2022, including data on all 35 U.S. Senate elections and all 435 U.S. House elections. 

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Over the last week, 253 election-related bills were introduced in state legislatures 

With legislatures convening for their 2023 sessions, officeholders are busy introducing a flurry of bills. One category of bills we closely follow are those related to elections and election administration. Here’s an update on the election-related bills we tracked over the previous week. 

Since Jan. 6, 253 election-related bills were introduced (or saw pre-committee action). One-hundred and thirty-eight bills were introduced in states with Democratic trifectas, while 83 were introduced in states with Republican trifectas. In states with divided governments, legislators introduced five bills. 

Three bills passed one chamber—two in states with Democratic trifectas and one in a state with a divided government.

Overall since Jan. 6, 256 bills have been acted on in some way (representing a 365 percent increase as compared to last week’s total of 55 bills). These 256 bills represent 41 percent of the 632 bills we are tracking in 2023. One-hundred and forty of these bills are from states with Democratic trifectas, 83 are from states with Republican trifectas, and 33 are from states with a divided government.

The bar chart below compares recent activity on a week-to-week basis over the last eight weeks. 

The map below visualizes the concentration of this recent activity across the nation. A darker shade of yellow indicates a higher number of relevant bills that have been acted upon in the last week. A lighter shade of yellow indicates a lower number of bills that have been acted upon in the last week. 

To date, we’ve tracked 632 election-related bills in 2023. These bills were either introduced this year or crossed over from last year’s legislative sessions. If you want to learn more about election-related legislation, click the link below and subscribe to our weekly election legislation tracking digest. You’ll receive weekly updates on election-related activity across the states, including information about noteworthy bills, the number of bills acted on within a given week, and which states have seen the highest concentration of legislative activity.

You can also listen to the most recent episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, where we take a closer look at the week’s top political stories. In this week’s episode, Staff Writer Ethan Rice gives host Victoria Rose a roundup of where some election-related legislation stands in the first few weeks of the new year. 

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Special elections to fill three vacancies in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives scheduled for February 7

Special elections to fill vacancies in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Districts 32, 34, and 35 are scheduled for February 7, 2023. The Allegheny County Democratic Party voted to nominate the District 32 candidate on December 11 and the District 34 and 35 candidates on December 17. The Republican Committee of Allegheny County nominated the Republican candidates on December 17.

In District 32, Joe McAndrew (D) and Clay Walker (R) are running. McAndrew is a former director of the Allegheny Democratic Committee. Walker is a pastor and Army veteran. Incumbent Anthony DeLuca (D) died on October 9, 2022. His name remained on the ballot, and he was re-elected, creating a vacancy on January 3, 2023, when members were sworn in.

In District 34, Abigail Salisbury (D) and Robert Pagane (R) are running. Salisbury is a former law professor who started her own practice. Pagane is a former law enforcement officer. Incumbent Summer Lee (D) won re-election but also won election to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Lee resigned on December 7, 2022, in preparation for the office change.

In District 35, Matthew Gergely (D) and Don Nevills (R) are running. Gergely serves as the McKeesport chief finance officer, and formerly served as a McKeesport school board member. Nevills owned and operated a tattoo parlor and candy shop. Incumbent Austin Davis (D) won re-election but also won election as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Davis resigned on December 7, 2022, in preparation for the office change.

According to CNAlysis, all three vacant districts voted for President Joe Biden (D) by margins of more than 15 percentage points in 2020.

On November 8, 2022, Democrats won 102 seats to Republicans’ 101. But because three seats that Democrats won became vacant, Republicans had a functional 101-99 seat majority going into the start of the legislative session. Under Pennsylvania law, the majority leader schedules state legislative special elections. In December 2022, Democrat Joanna McClinton scheduled the three special elections for February 7. McClinton said she was sworn in as majority leader on December 7 because Democrats won more districts on Election Day. Republican Bryan Cutler said McClinton’s swearing-in was not legitimate because Democrats did not have a majority and said he was sworn in as majority leader on December 12. House Republicans filed a lawsuit December 9 challenging the timing of the Districts 34 and 35 elections and alleging McClinton did not have the power to schedule the elections.

Both Republicans and Democrats agreed to hold the District 32 election on February 7.

On January 3, 2023, members of the chamber elected Rep. Mark Rozzi (D) as Speaker of the House with a 115-85 vote. On January 5, Rozzi issued orders affirming February 7 as the date for the Districts 34 and 35 elections. The case was pending before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court at the time Rozzi issued his orders.



Rouse defeats Adams in special general election for Virginia State Senate District 7

Aaron Rouse (D) defeated Kevin Adams (R) in the January 10, 2023, special general election for Virginia State Senate District 7. Rouse’s victory gave Democrats a 22-18 majority in the state Senate. The special election was called after the previous incumbent, Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R), resigned on November 15, 2022, after being elected to represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Going into the election, Democrats had a 21-18 majority in the state Senate (with the District 7 vacancy). According to Daily Kos’ David Nir, District 7 “has been very swingy: In 2019, Kiggans won it by less than one point, while Joe Biden carried it by 10 points the following year, only to see Youngkin prevail by 4 points in 2021.”

Rouse, a former NFL player, has been an at-large member of the Virginia Beach City Council since 2018. Rouse said “So much is at stake in this upcoming election, from a woman’s fundamental right to choose, which I will fiercely defend, to the efforts that will set us back on voting rights, to addressing climate change, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and waterways, to criminal justice reform.” Rouse listed education as his top priority, including raising teacher salaries and expanding access to preschool. Rouse also listed the economy, healthcare, and public safety as priorities.

Adams is a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who founded and operated a handyman business. Adams said he will “continue working to pass Governor Glenn Youngkin’s pro-veteran agenda, cut taxes, ease regulations, keep our communities safe, and make it easier for small business owners like me to get started and stay in business.” Adams’ platform included working to improve education and workforce training, supporting veterans, lowering gas, grocery, and sales taxes, and growing “school funding while shrinking the power of left-wing idealogues.”

New state legislative maps took effect on January 11, 2023, at the start of the 2023 legislative. However, this special election took place under previous district lines. Click here to compare Virginia State Senate Districts before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Abortion was an issue in the race. Rouse said, “Right now, that’s what we need in Richmond. Extreme Republicans are trying to take away the right to choose in Virginia, rolling back women’s freedom to make their own personal medical decisions.” On his campaign website, Adams said, “We need to pass laws that respect the rights of the mom and baby, limit late-term abortion by passing Glenn Youngkin’s 15-week legislation, while providing reasonable exceptions to protect the life of the mother or in the instance of rape or incest.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia endorsed Rouse, and its associated PAC said it would spend around $100,000 on the race. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said it would spend $30,000 in support of Adams.



State Supreme Court balance at stake in Wisconsin

Welcome to the Wednesday, January 11, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Former justice, three circuit court judges vying for open seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court
  2. A recent history of minority party and coalition control of state legislative chambers
  3. Biden currently leads PredictIt’s 2024 presidential general election market

Former justice, three circuit court judges vying for open seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court

Jennifer Dorow, Daniel Kelly, Everett Mitchell, and Janet Protasiewicz are running in the nonpartisan primary for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Feb. 21. The nonpartisan general election is April 4.

Justice Patience Roggensack, whose term expires on July 31, 2023, is retiring. 

While supreme court elections are officially nonpartisan, the court is considered to have a 4-3 conservative majority. With Roggensack—a member of the court’s conservative majority—retiring, this election will determine ideological control of the court. In 2020, liberals gained a seat when Jill Karofsky defeated then-Justice Daniel Kelly—who Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed to the court—55.2% to 44.7%.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Corrinne Hess, “[Mitchell and Protasiewicz] are running as liberal candidates. Kelly and Dorow are running as conservative candidates.”

Dorow joined the Waukesha County Circuit Court in 2012 after being appointed by Walker. In her campaign announcement, Dorow said, “We must replace Justice Roggensack with a judicial conservative who will fairly and faithfully apply the law as written to the facts of the cases that come before the court.”

Kelly, who served on the supreme court from 2016 to 2020, said, “If an activist were to win next April, Wisconsin’s public policy would be imposed by four lawyers sitting in Madison instead of being adopted through our constitutional processes. I won’t let that happen on my watch.”

Mitchell, who was first elected to the Dane County Circuit Court in 2016, said, “[P]reserving the integrity and independence of the court has never been more important. … Wisconsinites deserve a justice who has the highest respect for the Wisconsin Constitution and is committed to ensuring that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is an instrument of balance and justice rather than partisan divide.”

Protasiewicz was first elected to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2014. Protasiewicz said, “We must restore confidence that judges aren’t just trying to reach their favored outcomes, but actually applying the law and the constitution. I’m running to restore integrity to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and get politics out of the courtroom.”

University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse political analyst Anthony Chergosky said after Dorow entered the race, “We could have a primary election where two liberal justices emerge as the top two. We could have a primary election where two conservative justices emerge as the top two…We are experiencing a campaign that just got injected with a lot of unpredictability.”

Reporters have identified abortion policy, election administration, and legislative redistricting as some of the issues the court could address following the election.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are the only states holding supreme court elections this year. 

In 2020, we released Ballotpedia Courts: State Partisanship, a study to discern the partisan balance on each of the country’s 52 courts of last resort. Of the 341 justices we studied, 52.5% recorded Republican Confidence Scores, 33.1% recorded Democratic Confidence Scores, and 14.4% recorded Indeterminate Confidence Scores. Click here to read that study.

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A recent history of minority party and coalition control of state legislative chambers

The beginning of the year following an even-year election cycle means recently-elected state and federal legislators are holding leadership elections. On Jan. 7, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was elected speaker of the U.S. House on the fifteenth vote. The last time a U.S. House speaker election required multiple ballots was in 1923, when Rep. Frederick Huntington Gillett (R-Mass.) was elected speaker on the ninth try. Overall, 15 U.S. House speaker elections have required more than one ballot to determine a winner. 

State legislators are also picking their leaders. Usually, the majority party selects its leaders on a partisan basis. But that doesn’t always happen. One leadership election with an unexpected result happened in Pennsylvania on Jan. 3, when the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives voted to make Rep. Mark Rozzi (D) speaker. Although Democrats won a majority following the Nov. 8 elections, Republicans gained a functional 101-99 majority because of the death of one Democrat and the resignations of two others. Elections to fill those vacancies will take place Feb. 7

In Ohio on Jan. 3, all 32 House Democrats supported moderate Republican Rep. Jason Stephens for speaker. Stephens was elected 54-43, despite Rep. Derek Merrin (R) winning a House GOP caucus vote for speaker in November 2022 and being widely expected to become the next speaker. 

We’ve tracked similar situations, where bipartisan coalitions have defied expectations when a party wins or maintains a majority in an election. Here are a few examples recent examples: 

  • Ohio: In the January 2019 Ohio House speaker’s race, Rep. Larry Householder (R) defeated incumbent Speaker Ryan Smith (R). Householder was supported by 26 Republicans and 26 Democrats, while Smith was supported by 34 Republicans and 11 Democrats (Republicans won a 61-38 majority in the elections on November 6, 2018). According to the Plain-Dealer, Householder won over Democratic votes by promising to oppose right-to-work legislation that would prohibit union membership as a condition of private sector employment.
  • Alaska: Following the 2016 election, Republicans in the Alaska House won a 21-17-2 majority. But when it came time to select a speaker for the upcoming legislative session, three Republicans and two independents joined with the 17 House Democrats to back Bryce Edgmon—a Democrat. As a result, a member of the minority party won the chamber’s top position. The Republicans who joined the coalition received significant leadership positions. Republican Gabrielle LeDoux was named chair of the rules committee. Paul Seaton was named a co-chair of the finance committee along with Democrat Neal Foster, and Louis Stutes was named majority whip for the coalition. The chair of the Alaska GOP, Tuckerman Babcock, sent a letter to LeDoux, Stutes, and Seaton inviting them to leave the Republican Party.
  • Tennessee: In 2009, Republicans had a 50-49 majority in the Tennessee House. Almost every Republican in the chamber backed their Republican colleague, Jason Mumpower, for speaker. But the 49 Democrats banded together with Republican Kent Williams to make him speaker. Tennessee Republicans extended their majority in 2010 and elected Beth Harwell as speaker in 2011.

You can read in-depth about the more than 20 examples since 1994 of minority and coalition control of state legislative chambers at the link below. 

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Biden currently leads PredictIt’s 2024 presidential general election market

Let’s turn to the 2024 presidential election. 

As of January 9, 2023, PredictIt’s 2024 presidential market shows President Joe Biden (D) holding a lead at $0.34, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) at $0.31, and former President Donald Trump (R) at $0.16. No other candidate has more than a $0.10 share price. The share price, which rises and falls based on market demand, roughly corresponds to the market’s estimate of the probability of an event taking place. 

Trump is the only candidate of this group to have officially announced his presidential campaign.

The Democratic presidential primary market shows Biden leading the pack at $0.64. The only other candidate to have more than a $0.10 share price is California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) at $0.13.

DeSantis currently leads in the Republican presidential primary market at $0.44, followed by Trump at $0.28. No other candidate has more than a $0.10 share price. 

Learn more about PredictIt markets in the 2024 presidential election at the link below. 

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68 legislative districts were renamed or eliminated via redistricting

Welcome to the Monday, January 9, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Sixty-eight legislative districts in five states were either renamed or eliminated after the 2020 census
  2. Legislators in 12 states to be sworn in between Jan. 9 and Jan. 17 
  3. Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

Sixty-eight legislative districts in five states were either renamed or eliminated after the 2020 census

During redistricting, states redraw their legislative boundaries to reflect population changes. Usually, that means district boundaries get shifted around, with some districts growing, some shrinking, and some ending up in different parts of the map entirely. In five states following the 2020 census, however, redistricting authorities—such as the legislature or a commission—eliminated or renamed 68 districts. 

Forty-six of the 68 renamed or eliminated districts are in Vermont, which is one of three New England states—along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire—that include the town as part of the legislative district name. Those three states use district names that refer to both the town and a number, such as “New Hampshire House of Representatives Rockingham 17.” Population shifts in these states may result in one town or area needing more or fewer districts than after the last census.

Here is a list of states and the number of renamed or eliminated legislative districts in each:

  • Maryland (11)
  • Massachusetts (1)
  • North Dakota (2)
  • New Hampshire (8)
  • Vermont (46)

Maryland, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont are among nine states that use multi-member districts. This may also result in renaming during redistricting if legislators change a district from single-member to multi-member, or vice versa. For example, when North Dakota redrew its maps after the 2020 census, it converted North Dakota House of Representatives District 4 from a multi-member district that elected two members into a District 4A and 4B that elected one member each. The same thing happened with House of Representatives District 9. The state’s other 45 multi-member House districts remained the same.

The total number of state legislators nationwide changed slightly, from 7,383 before the 2022 elections to 7,386. The overall number of legislators remained the same in 49 states. Wyoming was the only state to change the size of its legislature after the 2020 census, creating one new Senate seat and two new House seats during redistricting. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wyoming changed its number of legislators five times between 1964 and 1992.

It is relatively uncommon for states to change their numbers of legislators during redistricting. New York added a state senator after both the 2010 and 2000 censuses. After the 2000 census, North Dakota and Rhode Island reduced the number of legislators in both chambers. 

After the 2020 census, West Virginia adopted a redistricting plan that changed the state House from having 47 single-member and 20 multi-member districts to having, instead, 100 single-member districts. While the numbers of districts changed, the number of House members remained the same at 100.

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Legislators in 12 states to be sworn in between Jan. 9 and Jan. 17 

The first few weeks of the new year following an even-year election cycle are filled with state legislative swearing-in ceremonies. Although some states swear-in members in November and December following Election Day, most states swear in their recently-elected legislators throughout January. 

So, here’s where we are, now that we’re a week into the New Year. Beginning Jan. 9 and extending through Jan. 17, an additional 12 states will hold swearing-in ceremonies for recently-elected legislators. 

  • Seven states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 9.
  • Two states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 10.
  • Two states will swear-in legislators on Jan. 11. 
  • Alaska will swear-in legislators on Jan. 17. 

Alaska will be the last state in 2023 to hold a scheduled swearing-in ceremony for state legislators (states will swear-in new legislators throughout the year on an ad-hoc basis as circumstances—like resignations or deaths—dictate). 

Between Nov. 8 and Dec. 7, 16 states held swearing-in ceremonies for state legislators. In Florida, Hawaii, and Tennessee, legislators assume office the day they are elected. The map below shows the swearing-in dates for all legislators elected on Nov. 8, 2022 (Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia did not hold state legislative elections in 2022). 

Click below to see more information on state legislative swearing-in dates. 

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Twenty-seven upcoming Article III judicial vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 27 announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships as of Jan. 5, 2022. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime appointments made by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Announced upcoming vacancies refer to positions that will be vacant at some point in the future with judges saying they will either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges continue to serve in their current positions.

Eight vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced when he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on Jan. 9, 2023, when United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge R. Guy Cole assumes senior status.

In addition to these 27 upcoming vacancies, there are 84 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 86 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Rachel Bloomekatz was nominated to replace Judge R. Guy Cole, who retires on Jan. 9, 2023. There are currently 6 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

President Biden has nominated 148 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Ninety-seven of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 46 nominees going through the confirmation process, 29 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, 10 are awaiting a committee vote, and seven are awaiting a committee hearing.

Click below to learn more about judicial vacancies. 

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94% of incumbents won re-election in 2022

Welcome to the Thursday, January 5, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. 94% of incumbents won re-election in 2022
  2. An update on Pennsylvania and Ohio House leadership elections 
  3. Learn about upcoming Virginia and Mississippi special elections with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

94% of incumbents won re-election in 2022

In the 2022 general elections, 94% of incumbents in Ballotpedia’s core coverage scope were re-elected—an increase from the 93% of incumbents who won in November 2020. In the 2021 general elections, 86% of incumbents were re-election.

On Nov. 8, 2022, we covered all congressional and state races, as well as local elections in America’s 100 most populous cities.

Here are the highlights from our analysis:

  • The incumbent win rate was at or above 90% in all but nine states: Alaska, California, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • The lowest overall incumbent win rate was in Virginia with 77%. Delaware, Massachusetts, and Mississippi were the only states with a 100% incumbent win rate.
  • Congressional incumbents had a 98% win rate. Forty-one states had a 100% win rate in congressional races.
  • State-level incumbents had a 96% win rate. Six states had a 100% win rate in state-level races.
  • State legislative incumbents had a 96% average win rate.
  • Local-level incumbents had a 90% average win rate. Thirteen states had a 100% win rate in local-level races.
  • Local legislative incumbents had an average incumbent win rate of 84%.

The map below highlights each state based on its incumbent win rate:

Click here to read more about incumbent win rates in 2022 elections. 

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An update on Pennsylvania and Ohio House leadership elections 

The U.S. House leadership elections have gotten a lot of attention recently (you can follow along with us here). But the House isn’t the only governing body determining its leadership for the coming years. In state legislatures across the country, lawmakers are voting for their chamber leaders. 

And in Pennsylvania and Ohio, we’ve seen some unexpected results in state House leadership elections. Let’s bring you up to speed.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Going into the November elections, Republicans held a 113-88 majority in the state House of Representatives (with two vacancies). Republicans have controlled the Pennsylvania state House since 2011

On Nov. 8, Democrats won 102 seats to Republicans’ 101. But three seats that Democrats won were guaranteed to become vacant at the start of the legislative session due to a death and two members resigning to assume higher office. Those vacancies gave Republicans a functional 101-99 seat majority going into the leadership elections on Jan. 3. 

Democrats had planned to nominate Rep. Joanna McClinton (D) as speaker, but the vacancies left them unable to secure a majority vote. After a motion to adjourn failed in a 100-100 vote tie in the late afternoon of Jan. 3, Rep. Jim Gregory (R) nominated Rep. Mark Rozzi (D) for speaker. Members of the chamber voted 115-85 to elect Rozzi as Speaker of the House—a vote that included 16 Republicans. 

In nominating Rozzi, Gregory said, “As we are gathered in this chamber today, we must look at our razor-thin majorities, and the likelihood of shifting majorities throughout this session.”

Rozzi said he would govern as an independent: “I pledge to caucus with neither the Republicans nor the Democrats. My staff will be made up of people from both parties. I pledge my allegiance and my loyalty to no interest in this building, to no interest in our politics. I pledge my loyalty to the people of the commonwealth.”

House Democrats said Rozzi will remain a Democrat. Republican leadership said, “Upon Rozzi becoming an Independent, the partisan makeup in the House will be 101 Republicans, 98 Democrats, and one Independent.” We’ve reached out to Rozzi’s office to verify if he will change his party affiliation. We will update you once we get a response. 

Three vacancies, to be filled through special elections, are:

  • District 32: Incumbent Anthony DeLuca (D) died on Oct. 9. His name remained on the ballot, and he was re-elected, creating a vacancy on Jan. 3 when members were sworn in.
  • District 34: Incumbent Summer Lee (D) won re-election but was also elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Lee resigned on Dec. 7, 2022, in preparation for the office change.
  • District 35: Incumbent Austin Davis (D) won re-election but also won election as Lieutenant Governor. Davis resigned on Dec. 7, 2022, in preparation for the office change.

The special election for the 32nd District is scheduled for Feb. 7. The elections for the 34th and 35th Districts were also scheduled for Feb. 7, but they’re on hold pending a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court hearing. Republicans challenged the date, arguing McClinton did not have the authority to schedule the elections. 

According to CNAlysis, all three vacant districts voted for President Joe Biden (D) by margins of more than 15 percentage points in 2020. 

Ohio House of Representatives

Going into the Nov. 8 elections, Republicans controlled the Ohio House of Representatives 64-35. Following the election, Republicans increased their majority to 67-32. Ohio has a Republican trifecta

Rep. Derek Merrin (R) won a House GOP caucus vote for Speaker of the House in November, and many anticipated he would win the official vote for speaker in January. However, on Jan. 3, Rep. Jason Stephens (R) was elected speaker in a 54-43 vote. All 32 House Democrats supported Stephens. Stephens is considered a moderate Republican.

Democratic Minority Leader Allison Russo said, “They needed our votes and we took the opportunity to make sure that we were going to be working with the speaker who we felt at the end of the day would work with us on the issues we could agree on.” 

Stephens said, “It is evident to us that this body, the Ohio House, has seen a lot of transition and change in the last few years. But with this new year, I encourage all of us to focus on what unites us.”

Click here to read more about minority and coalition control of state legislative chambers. You can read more about control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and upcoming special electrons at the link below. Click here to learn more about Ohio House of Representatives election results. 

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Learn about upcoming Virginia and Mississippi special elections with On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, takes a closer look at the week’s top political stories.

This week’s episode is a look at special elections. Staff writer Joel Williams walks host Victoria Rose through the ins and outs of special legislative elections and the statistics on how often they occur. Then, Joel previews the special elections set to take place next week for Mississippi’s House District 23 and Virginia’s House Districts 24 and 35 and Senate District 7. 

Episodes of On the Ballot come out Thursday afternoons, so if you’re reading this on the morning of Jan. 5, you’ve still got time to subscribe to On the Ballot on your favorite podcast app before this week’s episode drops! 

Click below to listen to older episodes and find links to where you can subscribe.

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2022 sees second-highest level of recall activity since 2012

Welcome to the Wednesday, January 4, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. 2022 has second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking
  2. California voters approved 69% of local ballot measures
  3. President Joe Biden ends the year with a 43% approval rating, the second-highest rating he received in 2022

2022 has second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking in 2014

Way back in June of last year, we walked you through our mid-year recall report. Now that 2022 is behind us, let’s take a look at the highlights from our year-end report on last year’s recall efforts.  

Throughout 2022 we tracked 250 recall efforts against 419 officials. This is the second-highest number of recall efforts since we began tracking this statistic in 2012. Only 2021 had more recall activity, with 357 recall efforts against 545 officials. 

  • In 2022, 56 officials (or 13.4% of all officials included in recall efforts) were removed from office via the recall process. Since 2012, an average of 15.5% of all officials targeted by recall efforts have been removed from office. 
  • Michigan had the most officials facing recall efforts for the second time since we began tracking this figure. Michigan saw 125 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had 68 officials subject to recall. California led the nation in recalls five times between 2016 and 2021.
  • City council members faced more recalls than any other type of officeholder in 2022. City council members took the top spot from 2016 until 2021. In 2021, school board members were most likely to face a recall campaign.
  • Since 2020, we’ve tracked recalls related to government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified 34 such campaigns this year, or about 14% of recall efforts. That’s less than 2020 and 2021, when 37% of the recall efforts we tracked were pandemic-related.

Here are a few notable 2022 recall efforts:

  • Recall organizers filed a notice of intent to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León in October 2022. The petition cited de León’s participation in an October 2021 meeting in which organizers said de León made racist comments about Councilman Mike Bonin’s son. De León apologized for his participation in the meeting but said he would not resign.
  • Organizers initiated an attempt to recall Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola (D), after he switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic in August 2022. Recall supporters criticized Priola over his support of a gas tax and legislation that would provide safe injection sites for drug users. They did not mention the party switch in the recall petition.
  • An effort to recall three of the seven members of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools school board in Oregon did not qualify for the ballot after organizers did not turn in the required number of signatures by the November 2022 deadline. The effort began after the school board voted 4-3 to approve a resolution prohibiting concealed guns on school property.
  • In February 2022, voters recalled recalling San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga. Recall supporters had said they were frustrated district schools remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also referenced the time the board spent voting to rename 44 buildings in the district instead of focusing on opening schools.

Click below to read our full report on 2022’s recall efforts.

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California voters approved 69% of local ballot measures

Let’s continue our review of 2022 local politics, this time with an eye toward California’s local ballot measures. 

California voters decided 572 local measures at six different elections. Voters approved 396 (69%) and rejected 176 (31%). Four hundred seventy measures were on the Nov. 8 ballot.

There were 147 fewer local ballot measures than in 2020. That year, 719 local measures were on the ballot. There were 726 in 2018 and 832 in 2016. Overall, the average number of measures during the last three even-year election cycles decreased an average of 25%. 

Fifty-four of California’s 58 counties had local measures on the ballot in 2022. Los Angeles County had the most with 97. Four counties—Glenn, Modoc, Sierra and Tehama—had no measures on the ballot. Marin County had the most with 27.

The 2022 local ballot measures in California covered a range of topics. Of the 572 measures: 

  • 249 were related to taxes
  • 142 were related to bonds and budgets
  • 103 were related to government and elections
  • 40 were related to housing and zoning
  • Eight were related to marijuana
  • three were related to business
  • Three were related to wages
  • There were 24 miscellaneous measures.

Seventy of the 249 tax measures concerned sales taxes. Voters approved 44 and rejected 26. 

Additionally, there were 123 local school bond measures on the ballot making up 21% of all local ballot questions. Eighty-seven were approved and 36 were defeated. This is the lowest number of local school bond measures on the ballot since 2010.

Click below to read the full analysis of California’s 2022 local ballot measures.

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President Joe Biden ends the year with a 43% approval rating, the second-highest rating he received in 2022

Let’s turn from local politics to federal politics, and see where President Joe Biden’s (D) and Congress’ approval ratings stood at the end of 2022. 

  • Biden: Approval polling averages showed Biden at 43% approval. Fifty-three percent of voters disapproved of his performance. Biden’s highest approval rating in 2022 was 44% on Nov. 2, and the lowest was 38% on July 27. This is also the lowest approval rating of Biden’s presidency. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.
  • Congress: Congress had a 28% approval and 62% disapproval at the end of December. This was Congress’ highest approval rating of the year. Its lowest rating was 14% on Jan. 26. This was also the lowest approval rating of the 117th Congress. Congress’ highest approval rating during the Biden presidency was 36% on July 16, 2021.

At the end of 2018 during the Trump administration, presidential approval was also  43%, and congressional approval was nine percentage points lower at 19%.

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

Learn more about our polling indexes at the link below. 

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