Category2022 elections

More U.S. House elections decided by MOVs of five percentage points or less in 2022 than in 2020

In 2022, 40 U.S. House elections were decided by margins of victory of five percentage points (pp) or less, up from 37 in 2020. 

Democrats won 22 of those races, up from 19 in 2020. Republicans won 18, the same number as in 2020.

California and New York each had five races decided by five percentage points or less — the most in the country. Three of Nevada’s four districts were decided by such margins.

In Nevada, Democrats won the three districts decided by 5 pp or less – more than in any other state. In New York, Republicans won four of five races decided by 5 pp or less – more than in any other state.

In 2020, California and Texas had the most districts decided by five percentage points or less, with four each, followed by Iowa and Pennsylvania, with three districts each.

Democrats were most successful in Pennsylvania, where they won all three districts decided by five percentage points or less. Republicans were most successful in California, where they won all four districts decided by such margins.

 

Compared to previous cycles, Democrats won more U.S. House races decided by five percentage points or less this year than in any other year since 2012. On the Republican side, the 18 races the party won this year are tied with 2020 as the second-most they have won since 2012.

The closest U.S. House election this year 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 votes cast. Boebert’s margin was 540 votes more than the closest 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.



Tallying error in Oakland, Calif., led to inaccurate election results

On December 28, 2022, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters acknowledged in a press release that the initial certified results were incorrect for the school director race in District 4 of the Oakland Unified School District in California.

Although Nick Resnick was certified as the winner of the race in November, Mike Hutchinson, who originally finished third, says he was later told by election officials that he won: “Without being cynical, I now believe in holiday miracles. So it was very shocking to wake up this morning and receive a phone call at 10:30 a.m. from the Alameda County head of elections informing me that I had actually won the election.” Hutchinson filed a petition in Alameda County Superior Court on December 29, 2022, asking a judge to overrule the prior certification and name him the official winner.

According to the press release from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters:

“The ROV learned that its RCV tally system was not configured properly for the November 2022 General Election. It should have been configured to advance ballots to the next ranking immediately when no candidate was selected for a particular round. … After reviewing the election data and applying the correct configuration, the ROV learned that only one outcome was affected: Oakland School Director, District 4, for the Oakland Unified School District. No other result for any RCV election in any jurisdiction was changed.”

California Ranked Choice Voting Coalition and FairVote, two organizations that supported the use of ranked-choice voting in California, discovered the error while auditing the election results. They found that county officials used the wrong method to tally votes that did not include a first choice candidate. Sean Dugar, consulting executive director of the California Ranked Choice Voting Coalition, said, “In Alameda County, the correct setting should have advanced the second choice to become the first choice … The algorithm and the election officials almost always get it right. In this instance, it was simply a button that was left checked in the menu option for the algorithm.”

Resnick’s attorney responded to the developments in a letter to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, saying, “We are not aware of any legal authority… which allows the registrar’s office to retabulate election results or take any other actions vis-a-vis the results of an election after it completes the official canvass and the results are certified by the local governing body.” 

As of January 2023, litigation was ongoing. Resnick was officially sworn into the position of District 4 Oakland school director on January 9, 2023.



Results of state executive endorsements in 2022 school board elections

Ballotpedia tracked 106 endorsements of school board candidates by state executive officials and candidates in 2022. Endorsements included official statements, appearances at campaign rallies, and direct participation in campaign ads and materials. The state executives and candidates to make endorsements were:

  • Arizona: Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) and Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Shiry Sapir (R)
  • California: Attorney general candidate Eric Early (R)
  • Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D), and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez (R)
  • Maryland: Gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox (R)

DeSantis was the only executive whose full slate of candidates won. Across all 106 endorsements, candidates had a 56.6% success rate.



2022 elections see second-highest nationwide midterm voter turnout since 2002

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

The 2022 elections saw the second-highest midterm voter turnout since 2002, according to data compiled by the United States Election Project. The turnout rate in 2022 was 46.8%. Since 2002, the highest midterm turnout rate was in 2018, at 50.3%, and the lowest was in 2014, at 36.7%.

At the state level, Oregon had the highest voter turnout in 2022, at 61.51%. Tennessee had the lowest turnout, at 31.34%. See the chart below for turnout rates in each state.

Comparing 2022 turnout rates to 2018, the most recent midterm election, North Dakota saw the largest drop in turnout, going from 58.6% in 2018 to 42.9% in 2022. The largest increase was in South Carolina where turnout increased from 45.2% in 2018 to 54.2% in 2022.

Among the five states that saw the largest decrease in voter turnout, four states had Republican trifectas and one state had a Democratic trifecta at the time of the 2022 elections. North Dakota (-15.68%), Tennessee (-13.76%), Mississippi (-9.81%), and Alabama (-9.56%) had Republican trifectas. New Jersey (-11.64%) had a Democratic trifecta.

Of the five states that had the largest increase in voter turnout, three had Republican trifectas, one had a Democratic trifecta, and one had divided government. South Carolina (+9.04%), Indiana (+3.26%), and New Hampshire (+1.71%) had Republican trifectas. Hawaii (+1.76%) had a Democratic trifecta, and Pennsylvania (+3.28%) had a divided government.

See the charts below for the five largest decreases and increases in voter turnout between 2018 and 2022.

Additional reading:



Twelve delegations become more Republican and nine become more Democratic in the 118th Congress

As a result of the 2022 elections, the congressional delegations of 12 states will become more Republican because Republicans in those states gained seats, Democrats lost seats, or a combination of the two. The congressional delegations of nine states will become more Democratic because Democrats in those states gained seats, Republicans lost seats, or a combination of the two.

New York and Florida experienced the largest swings in total seats toward Republicans. In New York, Democrats lost four seats and Republicans gained three, while in Florida, Democrats lost three seats and Republicans gained four.

Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina experienced the largest swings in total seats toward Democrats. In Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, Democrats gained one seat and Republicans lost two seats, while in North Carolina, Democrats gained two seats and Republicans lost one.

Despite gaining two seats due to apportionment, the partisan split of Texas’ congressional delegation remained the same as each party won one of the newly created seats.

The 2022 election was the first election after the 2020 census, and the size of some state delegations changed as a result of the congressional apportionment process. Five states gained seats and will send larger delegations to the 118th Congress. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon gained one seat each, and Texas gained two seats. Seven states — California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — lost one seat each due to the 2020 census and will send smaller delegations to the 118th Congress.

Thirty-three states will send at least one new member to the 118th Congress, while 17 states will send the same members of Congress that represented them at the start of the 117th Congress.

Oregon will send the greatest percentage of new members to the 118th Congress: 37.5% of the Oregon delegation was not seated at the start of the 117th Congress.



Republicans increase control over state legislative districts overlapping with Pivot Counties and Reverse-Pivot Counties

After the 2022 elections, Republicans hold 540 (65.9%) state legislative seats overlapping a Pivot County, up from 507 (63.6%) after the 2020 elections. Democrats hold 280 state legislative seats (34.1%) overlapping a Pivot County, down from 290 (36.4%) after the 2020 elections. Pivot Counties are the 206 counties that voted for Barack Obama (D) in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and Donald Trump (R) in the 2016 presidential election.

Reverse-Pivot Counties overlapped with 104 state legislative seats (32 state senate seats and 72 state house seats). Democrats won 63 seats (60.6%) and Republicans won 41 (39.4%). Following the 2020 elections, 58 Democratic legislators (61.1%) represented districts overlapping a Reverse-Pivot County and 37 Republican legislators (38.9%) represented districts overlapping a Reverse-Pivot County. Reverse-Pivot Counties are the six counties that voted for John McCain (R) in the 2008 presidential election, Mitt Romney (R) in the 2012 presidential election, and Hillary Clinton (D) in the 2016 presidential election.

In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won 181 Pivot Counties and Joe Biden (D) won 25 Pivot Counties. The counties that Trump won in 2020 are Retained Pivot Counties, while those that Biden won are Boomerang Pivot Counties.



94% of incumbents won re-election in 2022 general election

Ballotpedia covered all state and federal races on Nov. 8, 2022, as well as local elections in America’s 100 largest cities by population. In the 2022 general election, an average of 94% of incumbents nationwide won their re-election bids.

Comparatively, in the 2021 general election, 86% of incumbents nationwide won their re-election bids. In the 2020 November election, 93% of incumbents were successful.

  • The incumbent win rate remained 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 to see 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 saw an average incumbent win rate of 84%.

The analysis below includes data compiled by Ballotpedia on the 7,619 incumbents who ran for re-election on Nov. 8, 2022. Some races remain uncalled.

The table below shows the win rate for each state and office type:

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



Ballotpedia’s analysis of 2022 local ballot measures in top 100 largest cities and state capitals

There were 382 local ballot measures in 39 different states on the ballot for voters in the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and state capitals. Of the measures, 348 (91.10%) were approved, and 34 (8.90%) were defeated.

Of the 382 local ballot measures within the top 100 cities and state capitals in 2022, 20 (5.23%) were citizen-initiated ballot measures. Initiatives are placed on the ballot through signature drives. The remaining 362 (94.76%) were referred to the ballot by local legislative bodies, such as county boards, city councils, school boards, and special district boards.

In 2022, Ballotpedia covered local measures that appeared on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and in state capitals not among the 100 largest cities. This included citywide measures and countywide, special district, and school district measures. Ballotpedia also covered all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures in the country. California local ballot measures are not included in the top-100 report aside from those included in the top 100 largest cities.

Among the top 100 largest cities, California (75 measures – 19.63%), Texas (55 measures – 14.40%), and Ohio (21 measures – 5.50%) were the three states with the most local measures covered.

The 2022 local ballot measures addressed a variety of topics from bond issues and taxes to local marijuana and local housing. Sixteen measures (4.19%) concerned elections, campaigns, and term limits. Thirteen measures (6.4%) concerned local law enforcement. Eighty-four (21.99%) concerned city, county, or district governance; local budgets; and public officials. Eighty-five measures (22.25%) concerned local taxes, and 113 measures (29.58%) were bond issues.

There were 113 local ballot measures that proposed the issuance of bonds in the top 100 largest cities and capitals in 2022 (including city, county, and school district bonds). The measures proposed a total of $32 billion in bonds. Voters approved 107 of the measures amounting to $31.34 billion. Voters rejected 6 ballot measures amounting to $697.6 million.

Ballotpedia also covered thirteen local ballot measures in four states — California, Colorado, Florida, and Washington — designed to move municipal election dates from odd to even-numbered years and to coincide with statewide elections, all of which were approved. Voters in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, approved measures to adopt ranked-choice voting for certain elections.



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

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

Heading into 2023, signature requirements for citizen-initiated measures will change 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 November 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 six states: Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, and Arkansas.

And signature requirements decreased in 12 states following the election: Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, and Wyoming.

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 will update on January 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. 

Arizona had the largest percent increase (+7.70%) in the number of signatures required. 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.

California had the largest decrease in the raw number of signatures required, with the requirement for initiated constitutional amendments decreasing from 997,139 to 874,641 for 2024 and 2026. Arizona had the largest increase in the raw number of signatures required, with the requirement for initiated constitutional amendments increasing from 356,467 to 383,923 for 2024 and 2026.

Wyoming had the largest percent decrease (-28.84%) in the number of signatures required. 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.

Signature requirements have not changed 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.



2022 sees second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking

In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 247 recall efforts against 414 officials. This is the second-highest number of recall efforts since Ballotpedia began tracking this statistic in 2014. Only 2021 had more recall activity—with 357 recall efforts against 545 officials.

Michigan was the state with the most officials facing recall efforts for the second time since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure. Michigan saw 125 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had 68 officials subject to recall. From 2016 to 2021, California had the most officials subject to recall in five of the six years.

City council members drew more recall petitions than any other type of officeholder in 2022. City council members took the top spot from 2016 until 2021, when school board members were most likely to face a recall campaign.

Since 2020, Ballotpedia has tracked recalls related to government responses to the pandemic. Ballotpedia identified 34 such campaigns this year, or about 14% of recall efforts. This represents a decline from 2020 and 2021, when 37% of the recall efforts Ballotpedia tracked were related to the pandemic.

Notable recalls across 2022 included the following:

  • An effort to recall George Gascón from his position as the Los Angeles County District Attorney did not qualify for the ballot, after organizers fell short of submitting the 566,857 signatures that were required for an election to be scheduled. Recall supporters criticized Gascón for his policies towards recidivist violent offenders and reduced sentences for committers of certain violent crimes.
  • 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, according to organizers, 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. Proponents of the recall effort 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.

    Editor’s note: a previous version of this story erroneously reported that Michigan saw 123 officials subject to a recall campaign. It has been corrected to reflect that 125 officials in Michigan were subject to a recall campaign.