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A look at the 14 statewide ballot measures related to election policy

Welcome to the Thursday, October 6, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Voters will decide 14 statewide ballot measures related to elections, voting, campaign finance, and term limits
  2. Here’s how you can help us promote our mission of free access to unbiased election information!
  3. Oregon voters to elect U.S. Representative in new 6th Congressional District

Voters will decide 14 statewide ballot measures related to elections, voting, campaign finance, and term limits 

This year, voters in 37 states will decide 137 statewide ballot measures. Those measures cover a variety of topics, from abortion to marijuana and beyond.  Today, let’s look at the 14 ballot measures in 10 states related to elections, voting, campaign finance, and term limits.

Elections and voting policy measures

Ten ballot measures address electoral systems and voting policies.

  • Nevada: Nevadans will decide whether to follow Maine and Alaska in using a form of ranked-choice voting for congressional and certain state offices. Nevada Question 3 would establish an open top-five primary system and ranked-choice voting for general elections. 
  • Alabama: Voters will decide on Amendment 4, which would prohibit changes to laws regulating elections within six months of general elections. 
  • Arizona: Voters are deciding on two measures on election and voting. Proposition 131 would create the office of lieutenant governor. Arizona is one of five states without a lieutenant governor. Proposition 309 would add requirements for Arizona citizens casting a mail-in ballot, as well as change voter ID requirements for in-person voters.
  • Connecticut: Connecticut voters will decide a constitutional amendment to allow no-excuse early voting. Connecticut is one of five states that has not enacted the policy in some form.
  • Kansas: Voters will decide on an amendment requiring the election of county sheriffs in counties that haven’t abolished the office as of January 2022 and provide that sheriffs may be recalled from office.
  • Louisiana: The Legislature sent a constitutional amendment to the Dec. 10 ballot that would add that “No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state.” 
  • Ohio: Similar to Louisiana’s constitutional amendment, voters will be deciding on an amendment that would specifically prohibit local governments from allowing noncitizens or those who lack the qualifications of an elector to vote in local elections.
  • Michigan: Voters will decide on Proposal 2. Proposal 2 would add several voting policies to the Michigan Constitution, such as nine days of early voting, allowing for voter ID or a signed affidavit to vote, and requiring military and overseas ballots postmarked by election day to be counted.
  • Nebraska: Voters will decide Initiative 432, which would require a photo ID to vote. Twenty-one states require a photo voter ID to vote in person. Fourteen states require a non-photo ID to vote in person. Nebraska is one of 15 states without an ID requirement.

Campaigns and campaign finance

  • Arizona: Voters will decide Proposition 211, which would require that persons or entities that make an independent expenditure of $50,000 or more on a statewide campaign or $25,000 or more on a local campaign must disclose the names of the people or businesses who originally earned the money being spent.
  • Louisiana: voters will decide on a measure to allow classified service/civil service employees to publicly support the election campaigns of individuals in their immediate family when off duty.

Term limits

  • Michigan: Michigan Proposal 1 would ​​change the term limits for state legislators from three 2-year terms (6 years) in the state House and two 4-year terms (8 years) in the state Senate to 12 combined years in the Legislature. It would also require that elected state legislative and state executive officials must file annual financial disclosure reports.
  • North Dakota: Constitutional Measure 1 would limit the governor to two four-year terms and limit state legislators to serving eight years in the state House and eight years in the state Senate. Currently, North Dakota does not have any term limits on the governor or state legislators.

Click below to read more about this year’s ballot measures.

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Voters are hungry for trustworthy, unbiased information—particularly about the local races and measures that directly affect their lives. To help us meet the urgent demand for coverage of all elections, we need 75 new members into the Ballotpedia Society before November 8.

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Oregon voters to elect U.S. Representative in new 6th Congressional District

Today is the 28th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Oregon, the Beaver State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas

On the ballot in Oregon 

Voters in Oregon will elect one U.S. Senator and six U.S. Representatives, along with the offices of governor and labor commissioner.

Sixteen out of 30 seats are up for election in the Oregon State Senate, and all 60 seats are up for election in the Oregon House of Representatives. Voters will also elect candidates for the state supreme court and intermediate appellate courts.

At the municipal level, we’re covering elections in Portland, Salem, and Multnomah County.

There are two open U.S. House districts in Oregon and 24 open seats in the state legislature. Oregon Senate District 18 is up for special election. 

Redistricting highlights

After the 2020 census, the number of U.S. House districts in Oregon increased from five to six.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Oregon:  

To use our tool to view Oregon’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Oregon redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators—Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden— are Democrats.
  • Oregon’s U.S. House delegation includes four Democrats and one Republican.
  • Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, with 18 Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Oregon State Senate and 36 Democrats and 23 Republicans in the Oregon House of Representatives. 
  • Oregon has been a Democratic trifecta since 2013.
  • Oregon has a Democratic triplex. The Democratic Party controls the offices of governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 10 state legislative seats in Oregon, or 13% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running in 92% of all state legislative races. Six state legislative seats (8% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Democratic candidate and are likely to be won by a Republican.

Republicans are running in 95% of all state legislative races. Four seats (5% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Republican candidate and are likely to be won by a Democrat.

Key races

  • Oregon gubernatorial election, 2022: Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), Betsy Johnson (I), and R. Leon Noble (L) are running. Kotek, Drazan, and Johnson have led in fundraising and media coverage. Kotek is the former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, Drazan is the former Oregon House minority leader, and Johnson is a former Oregon state senator. Johnson served in the state Senate as a Democrat. Incumbent Governor Kate Brown (D) is term-limited. As of Sept. 1, 2022, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated this election a toss-up.
  • Oregon’s 5th Congressional District election, 2022: Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D) and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) are running. Incumbent Kurt Schrader (D) lost in the Democratic primary on May 17, 2022. As of Sept. 1, 2022, The Cook Political Report rated this election a toss-up. 
  • Oregon’s 6th Congressional District election, 2022: Andrea Salinas (D) and Mike Erickson (R) are running. This district was one of seven new U.S. House districts created as a result of apportionment after the 2020 census. Click here to read more.

Ballot measures

There are four measures on the ballot this year in Oregon, including:

  • Measure 111: Amends the Oregon Constitution to add that the state “ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”
  • Measure 112: Repeals language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishments and authorizes an Oregon court or a probation or parole agency to order alternatives to incarceration for a convicted individual.
  • Measure 113: Excludes state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism.
  • Measure 114: Enacts a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit-to-purchase a firearm and prohibits ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In Oregon, a total of 275 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. One hundred thirty-one ballot measures were approved, and 144 ballot measures were defeated.

Voting

  • Oregon conducts its elections largely by mail. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for those voting in person on Nov. 8.
  • When registering to vote via the online registration platform, voters must provide a driver’s license or state ID card number driver’s license or state ID card number.
  • Oregon exclusively uses a vote-by-mail system. As such, there is no need for explicit absentee or early voting procedures.
  • To register to vote in Oregon, one must be a resident of Oregon, a United States citizen, and at least 16 years old. Voters must be at least 18 years old by the day of the election in order to receive a ballot. The deadline to register is 21 days before an election. For more information about voter ID requirements in Oregon, click here.
  • In Oregon, voters may return their ballots to the office of the county clerk by mail or in person. A business reply envelope is provided to people who vote by mail. Oregon permits individuals to return ballots in-person to the county clerk’s office on behalf of an elector. The county clerk may only count a ballot if it is returned in the proper envelope, if that envelope is signed by the correct elector, and if the signature is verified.Use the Ballot Search tool provided by the Oregon Secretary of State office to check the status of your ballot.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!  

Click below to learn more about Oregon’s elections. 

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Hall Pass: Your Ticket to Understanding School Board Politics, Edition #33

Ballotpedia's Hall Pass

Welcome to Hall Pass, a newsletter written to keep you plugged into the conversations driving school board politics and governance.

In today’s edition, you’ll find:

  • On the issues: The debate over sex and gender education and whether it is related to sexual abuse in schools 
  • School board filing deadlines, election results, and recall certifications
  • Here’s who approves K-12 curriculum in public schools in all 50 states
  • Extracurricular: education news from around the web
  • Candidate Connection survey

Reply to this email to share reactions or story ideas!

On the issues: The debate over sex and gender education and whether it is related to sexual abuse in schools

In this section, we curate reporting, analysis, and commentary on the issues school board members deliberate when they set out to offer the best education possible in their district.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed House Bill 1557 into law on March 28, 2022. The law prohibits discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation between teachers and students in grades K-3. Critics of the legislation have said Republican supporters are using unfounded fears of child sexualization to discriminate against LGBTQ students. Some supporters of such bills have said that school employee discussions with children about sexuality and gender identity can constitute sexual misconduct and create greater physical risks for students. 

Michelle Goldberg writes that discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools are normal and do not seek to sexualize children or increase sexual harassment or abuse risks. She says efforts to ban such conversations discriminate against LGBTQ students.

Christopher Rufo writes that sexual harassment and abuse are not uncommon in schools and says Goldberg and other writers dismissed legitimate concerns related to the protection of children. Rufo says conversations related to gender and sexuality should only occur with parental approval to prevent predatory behavior.

The Right’s Disney Freakout | Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times

“The most notorious of these new laws is Florida’s H.B. 1557, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for kids below fourth grade, and any such instruction that is not ‘age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate’ for older students. … To justify the law, the right has taken to accusing anyone who opposes it of wanting to expose young kids to explicit material in order to prime them for abuse. … This is, of course, not the first time that gay and gender-nonconforming people have been framed as a moral threat to children. In 1977, Anita Bryant, a former beauty queen and spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, started the anti-gay Save Our Children campaign. ‘Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit,’ she said. ‘And to freshen their ranks, they must recruit the youth of America.’ In recent years, the Republican Party has largely eschewed such language, appearing to make their peace with the presence of gays, lesbians and transgender people in public life. Now such rhetoric is back, and it’s potentially explosive.”

No Conspiracy Theory | Christopher Rufo, The City Journal

“The New York Times, for example, accused conservatives of having a “freakout” about imaginary “grooming” in public schools, and the Washington Post dismissed concerns about sexual abuse by teachers as a “QAnon conspiracy.” … Today, if the Department of Education statistics stayed constant, one could estimate that 5 million students are currently being sexually harassed, manipulated, and abused in America’s public school system. Parents have good reason, therefore, to fear “grooming” in public schools. … The parents’ movement, which has recently mobilized against critical race theory, should not hesitate to add this issue to its list of concerns. Families should be skeptical of introducing sexuality into the classroom at young ages, especially if teachers are permitted to keep those conversations a secret. A better policy would be to mandate total transparency and require that teachers notify and gain the approval of parents before engaging in any sexual conversation with children. Additionally, families should have better tools to report abuse and public schools should have mandatory screening, training, and reporting requirements for all staff.”

Here’s who approves K-12 curriculum in public schools in all 50 states

School board elections have increasingly become battlegrounds for debates over curricula, curriculum transparency, and the books allowed in school libraries. School board candidates have listed concerns over curriculum as a reason for running for office. 

But who approves public school curriculum? The answer, as usual, is—It depends. According to Ballotpedia research on K-12 curriculum authority, in most states, local districts approve K-12 curriculum. However, in roughly a quarter of states, school boards are granted the authority to oversee and approve curriculum.

Depending on the state, state-level entities, such as state boards of education and state education agency leaders, or local entities, such as school districts and local schools, may play a role in the development and approval of K-12 curriculum. 

Here’s the breakdown:

  • In 34 states, state laws task local districts with approving K-12 curriculum. 
  • In 12 states, school boards, sometimes in conjunction with state entities, approve K-12 curriculum.
  • In Rhode Island, Texas, North Carolina, and Alaska, state entities, like the state board of education or the commissioner of education, approve K-12 curriculum. 

In Oklahoma, where local districts approve school curriculum, state law § 70-11-103.6a-F says:

“School districts shall exclusively determine the instruction, curriculum, reading lists and instructional materials and textbooks, subject to any applicable provisions or requirements as set forth in law, to be used in meeting the subject matter standards. School districts may, at their discretion, adopt supplementary student assessments which are in addition to the statewide student assessments.”

In California, on the other hand, Education Code § 60000(c) gives school boards authority over curriculum:

“The Legislature further recognizes that the governing boards of school districts have the responsibility to establish courses of study and that they must have the ability to choose instructional materials that are appropriate to their courses of study.”

In at least 21 states, state-level entities make recommendations to local districts about curriculum or curriculum frameworks. In Missouri, for example, state code § 160.514(5) says: 

“The state board of education shall develop written curriculum frameworks that may be used by school districts. Such curriculum frameworks shall incorporate the academic performance standards adopted by the state board of education pursuant to subsection 1 of this section. The curriculum frameworks shall provide guidance to school districts but shall not be mandates for local school boards in the adoption or development of written curricula as required by subsection 6 of this section.”

Texas is one of four states where a state-level entity develops and approves curriculum. In Texas, that entity is the State Board of Education. Districts are permitted to supplement the State Board of Education’s curriculum and requirements. According to the Texas Administrative Code § 74.1, “A school district may add elements at its discretion but must not delete or omit instruction in the foundation and enrichment curriculum specified in subsection (a) of this section.”  

Depending on the state, K-12 curriculum may reflect or incorporate state content standards—educational learning and achievement goals that state education officials either require or recommend that local schools include in instruction. We covered state content standards in a previous edition of Hall Pass.

Click here to learn more about K-12 curriculum authority, requirements, and statutes in your state. 

Extracurricular: education news from around the web

This section contains links to recent education-related articles from around the internet. If you know of a story we should be reading, reply to this email to share it with us! 

Take our Candidate Connection survey to reach voters in your district

Today, we’re highlighting survey responses from the Nov. 8 general election for the Paradise Valley Unified School District’s At-large member race in Arizona. The Paradise Valley Unified School District is the seventh largest district by enrollment in Arizona, with an estimated 29,109 students. It is located in northeast Phoenix and north Scottsdale.

Five candidates are running in the nonpartisan race. Sandra Christensen, Eddy Jackson,and Tony Pantera completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Incumbent Susan Matura, who was first elected in 2018, and Sheryl Evenson did not complete the survey.  

Here’s how Christensen answered the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“I am passionate about curriculum transparency. The success of a student depends not only on qualified teachers, but also the content and quality of school curriculum. Transparency builds trust in the community. Our education tax dollars should be invested wisely on the future of our youth. Parents and PVUSD community members have the right to know what investments are being made using our tax dollars.”

Click here to read the rest of Christensen’s  responses.

Here’s how Jackson answered the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?


“Preserving and defending individual freedom”

Click here to read the rest of Jackson’s responses.

Here’s how Pantera answered the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“It has been increasingly difficult to hire teachers and other support staff within the district. This shortage found in just about every position, makes it hard to full fill the PVUSD promise. We need policies in place that encourage highly qualified individuals to want to choose a career in education. These policies go beyond just paying staff a living wage, although that is critical. We must also support our staff and let them know that their school board will do whatever it takes to help them do their jobs.

We must lobby those who make decisions in regard to this. This includes being forthcoming with the community about budgeting. Transparency in this helps them to see that even being as efficient with the funds the district receives, it is not enough to encourage people to want to work in education.   

We must tell those who create laws regarding teaching to quit piling more restrictive and punitive measures on teachers and staff. They need laws that not only protect children, but also encourage adults to make the decision to work in a school district. We need laws that don’t invite excessive litigation thus siphoning off monies that could go to schools to fight legal battles.

Public schools need to be public. We should not have monies going to schools that not ALL students in the district can attend. Not all students can attend a private school even if they have a voucher nor can they if they do not comply with a particular school’s statement of faith.”

Click here to read the rest of Pantera’s responses.


If you’re a school board candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. If you’re not running for school board but there is an election in your community this year, share the link with the candidates and urge them to take the survey!



Help make neutral, nonpartisan election information free for all: Join the Ballotpedia Society today!

Welcome to the Wednesday, October 5, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

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

  1. Ballotpedia needs you! Join the Ballotpedia Society to promote our mission of free access to unbiased election information
  2. President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 43% in September, highest since January
  3. Kansas has only gubernatorial election with a Democratic incumbent running in a state that Donald Trump (R) won in 2020 

Ballotpedia needs you! Join the Ballotpedia Society to promote our mission of free access to unbiased election information

Election Day is barely a month away. And voters are looking for the information they need to understand who and what is on their ballot. 


But for many of them, there’s just not enough information available for them to make informed, confident decisions.

It’s a huge problem, which is why we’re asking you to join the Ballotpedia Society right away to help solve it.

Last year, more than 48 million people turned to Ballotpedia for information on politics and policy. And that was in an electoral “off year,” too! You can bet that even more will visit in 2022 and 2024. 

This rapid growth has made Ballotpedia the Encyclopedia of American politics. But we won’t be able to offer comprehensive coverage of all the races, policy issues, and concepts without YOUR help.

When you become a Ballotpedia Society member, you will be providing Ballotpedia with stable funding to ensure our work can continue without interruption.  

Election Day is right around the corner. Don’t delay!

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President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 43% in September, highest since January

Approval polls show President Joe Biden (D) at an average 43% approval at the end of September, the highest rating he’s received since January. Fifty-three percent of voters disapprove of his performance.

Biden last had a 43% approval rating on Jan. 12, 2022. The lowest approval rating he’s received was 38% on July 27, 2022. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.

Congress was at 28% approval and 61% disapproval at the end of September. The highest approval rating Congress has received during Biden’s term was 36% on July 16, 2021, and the lowest approval rating was 14% on Jan. 26, 2022.

At the end of September 2018, during the Trump administration, presidential approval was three percentage points lower at 40%, and congressional approval was nine percentage points lower at 17%.

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.

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Kansas has only gubernatorial election with a Democratic incumbent running in a state that Donald Trump (R) won in 2020 

Today is the 27th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Kansas, the Sunflower State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina, Iowa

On the ballot in Kansas

Kansas will hold elections for one U.S. Senate seat and four U.S. House seats in 2022. Incumbent Senator Jerry Moran (R) is seeking re-election, along with three Republican incumbents and one Democratic incumbent in the House.

Voters will have several state executive elections on their ballot this year, including elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and insurance commissioner. Five of the 10 seats on the Kansas State Board of Education will also be up for election this year.

All 125 seats in the Kansas House of Representatives are up for election. Twenty-three of those seats are open. Kansas state senators are elected to four-year terms, so all 40 seats in that chamber will be up for election in 2024.

Six of the seven justices on the Kansas Supreme Court are up for retention elections this year. A retention election is a type of election where voters are asked whether an incumbent judge should remain in office for another term. The judge, who does not face an opponent, is removed if a majority of voters decide against retention. 

Redistricting highlights

Kansas was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same as it had after the 2010 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Kansas:

To use our tool to view Kansas’ state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Kansas redistricting page

Partisan balance

Both of Kansas’ U.S. Senators are Republicans. Three of Kansas’ representatives in the U.S. House are Republicans, and one is a Democrat.

The Kansas Senate is made up of 11 Democrats and 29 Republicans. The Kansas House of Representatives is made up of 38 Democrats and 86 Republicans, with one vacancy. Kansas is one of 13 states with a divided government. Kansas’ trifecta status last changed in 2019, when Governor Laura Kelly (D) assumed office. The state was a Republican trifecta before Kelly’s election.

Kansas has a Republican attorney general and secretary of state, meaning the state’s triplex status is also divided.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 65 state legislative seats in Kansas, or 52% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs in a state legislative district, that party is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 63% of all state legislative races. Forty-six state legislative districts (37% of the total) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning a Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 85% of all state legislative races. Nineteen districts (15% of the total) do not feature a Republican candidate, meaning a Democrat is likely to win. 

Key races

  • Kansas gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2022: One-term incumbent Laura Kelly (D) is running for re-election against Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) and two other candidates. This is the only governorship Democrats are defending in 2022 in a state that Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.
  • Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Rep. Sharice Davids (D), Amanda Adkins (R), and Steve Hohe (L) are running. This is a rematch of the 2020 general election when Davids defeated Adkins 53.6% to 43.6%. The Cook Political Report’s PVI (Partisan Voter Index) for the old district was D+2, while the score for the redrawn district is R+1.
  • Kansas Treasurer election, 2022: Incumbent Lynn Rogers (D), Steven C. Johnson (R), and Steve Roberts (L) are running. Kelly appointed Rogers to the office in 2020 after former incumbent Jacob LaTurner (R) resigned to serve in the U.S. House.

Ballot measures

Kansas voters will decide two statewide measures on Nov. 8:

Kansas voters decided one statewide measure on August 2, 2022: the No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment, which would have amended the Kansas Constitution to state that there is no right to an abortion or public abortion funding. The measure was defeated 59% to 41%.

Twenty ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Fifteen ballot measures were approved, and five ballot measures were defeated.

Voting

  • On Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time. If the polls close while a voter is in line, he or she will still be permitted to vote.
  • Kansas requires voters to present photo identification while voting. Forms of accepted ID include a driver’s license, a concealed carry of handgun license, a passport, or a United States military identification document, among others. For a full list of accepted voter IDs in Kansas, click here.
  • Early voting is available to all voters. It begins on Oct. 19 and ends on Nov. 7.
  • Kansas’ voter registration deadline is Oct. 18 for in-person, by-mail, and online registration. Kansas does not allow same-day voter registration.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Kansas. Kansas refers to absentee voting as “advance voting.” An absentee ballot application must be received by Nov. 1. Absentee ballots can be returned in-person by the time polls close on election day. If returned by mail, the ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 8. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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Economy and Society, October 4, 2022: Texas joins investigation over S&P’s use of ESG in credit ratings

Economy and Society is Ballotpedia’s weekly review of the developments in corporate activism; corporate political engagement; and the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) trends and events that characterize the growing intersection between business and politics.


ESG Developments This Week

In Washington, D.C.

Senate Banking Committee’s ranking member goes after ESG ratings services

On September 20, Senator Pat Toomey (R), the Banking Committee’s Ranking Member, sent a letter to 12 ESG ratings firms, questioning what he described as their “lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, and use of biased sources.” The letter to Sustainalytics, for example, read as follows:

“I am writing to request information about Sustainalytics’s practices related to assigning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings to companies. My understanding is that these ratings are intended to help investors determine whether a company may be seen favorably from an ESG perspective.

The industry of ESG investing and related services has grown tremendously in recent years. According to Bloomberg, global ESG assets are projected to reach $50 trillion by 2025, accounting for one-third of total projected assets under management globally.1 ESG ratings firms, such as Sustainalytics, play a key role in this activity by evaluating the degree to which more than 10,000 companies meet certain qualitative standards. As a result, they have the ability to influence capital flows to many companies.

Notably, ESG ratings take into consideration information about companies that go beyond the extensive public disclosures firms are required to make under federal securities laws. For example, existing law requires that companies describe their business, properties, legal proceedings, and risk factors. Companies must also provide management’s discussion and analysis of the firm’s financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, and capital resources. Each of these disclosure areas are legally required to include any material climate change information so that the disclosures are not misleading under the circumstances. In determining a company’s ESG rating, however, many ESG ratings firms consider information that is not material or financially relevant under federal securities laws.”

Toomey proceeded to ask for documents from each company on proprietary methodologies and for answers to questions regarding compliance burdens their ratings might create for rated companies, veracity of the data they use, and any potential conflicts of interest.

Toomey gave the firms until September 28 to respond to his request.

In the States

Texas joins investigation over S&P’s use of ESG in credit ratings

On September 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxon (R) announced that he and his state had joined in a multi-state investigation of S&P and its use of ESG factors in creating credit ratings, an issue that was first highlighted in April by Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks (R). The press release from Paxon’s office read as follows:

“Attorney General Paxton joined a Missouri-led multistate investigation into S&P Global Inc. for potential violations of consumer protection laws. This is the second investigation by state attorneys general into a company providing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings, based upon alleged consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.  

S&P’s published ESG credit indicators, ESG scores, and ESG evaluations appear to politicize what should be a purely financial decision and may deceptively confound the distinction between subjective opinions and objective financial facts.   

“Too many consumers and investors have been hurt by the woke ESG movement’s obsession with radical social change and willingness to ignore the law,” said Attorney General Paxton. “We’re investigating S&P Global to find out if they’ve engaged in the types of destructive, illegal business practices that are so pervasive in the ESG movement. If so, they will have to answer for their actions.””

On Wall Street and in the private sector

CNBC: “There’s an ESG backlash inside the executive ranks at top corporations”

On September 29, CNBC released the results of its recent survey of corporate Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) regarding their beliefs and preferences about ESG. The results appeared to show frustration with and hostility to ESG practices and requirements:

“In public, U.S. corporations say the right things about environment, social and governance factors as part of their mindset. But how do executives really feel about the push to make ESG a core component of management philosophy?

Inside the C-suite, there is concern about the value of ESG metrics, while there is also support for recent political pushback against ESG by Republican leaders at the state level including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

That’s according to results from a new CNBC survey of chief financial officers at top companies in the U.S. which shows executive frustration with both regulators and asset managers when it comes to current ESG momentum….

Only 25% of CFOs surveyed by CNBC support the SEC’s climate disclosure proposal, according to the survey. More than half (55%) of CFOs are opposed to the SEC climate rule, and 35% say they “strongly oppose” it….

A critical issue for CFOs with the new SEC climate disclosure is the lack of a clear correlation between the climate data and financial statements. The closest reporting analog CFOs have to this new approach is non-GAAP metrics that within industries have become accepted in the dialogue between Wall Street and management (if not always by the SEC). But non-GAAP metrics within an industry are different from a blanket assertion across industries like greenhouse gas emissions.  

“Proponents are saying we need to do something here because there are costs that are coming to companies in the economy if we don’t understand carbon transition better. Then the next question is ‘how do we understand it better?’ … The SEC is speculating that general GHG disclosure will facilitate that understanding. Requiring information with the expectation or hope that it will be meaningful to investors is an uncommon approach to disclosure mandates,” said Jay Clayton, former SEC chairman and a senior policy advisor at Sullivan & Cromwell….

CFOs…were more broadly in favor of the ESG pushback from states, according to the CNBC survey, with 45% of CFOs saying they supported the moves by states to ban investment managers that use ESG factors from state pension fund business. While 30% of CFOs said they were neutral on the issue, only 25% of CFOs said they opposed the state moves, and only 5% expressed “strong” opposition….

Another reason why CFOs at publicly traded companies may support pushback against the asset management community and firms like BlackRock has less to do with fund performance than proxy battles. As the large index fund managers have come to dominate investment flows and represent as much as one-third of the shareholder base of companies, they have been increasingly using that power to influence the outcome of shareholder votes on ESG issues, and on climate most prominently.”

Fox News op-ed questions the ethics of ESG

In an op-ed piece for Fox News, Allen Mendenhall, an associate dean and Grady Rosier Professor in the Sorrell College of Business at Troy University, made the case that the large asset management firms’ focus on sustainability and other ESG criteria are both doing a disservice to their clients and behaving unethically. He wrote:

“[T]he biggest asset managers – companies like BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – have gained voting rights in publicly traded companies and are pushing those companies into “wokeness.” Rather than divesting from the corporations that don’t satisfy vague ESG standards, the asset managers use their proxy power to change the corporations in leftward directions. 

This raises troubling questions: Aren’t the true owners of these companies the clients of the asset managers, the people whose money the asset managers are investing and supervising? When an asset manager aggregates hundreds of funds, which include companies in which it enjoys voting rights and companies that directly compete, how can the asset manager vote in the best interests of any one of these companies? Aren’t there conflicts of interest? 

The unethical character of companies like BlackRock is finally coming to light. 

Responding to warnings from Republican state attorneys general, BlackRock, earlier this month, denied that it “dictated” specific emissions targets to companies. Now New York Comptroller Brad Lander, the custodian and delegated investment adviser to the New York City Retirement Systems and a man of the left, decries the apparent contradiction: “BlackRock cannot simultaneously declare that climate risk is a systemic financial risk and argue that BlackRock has no role in mitigating the risks that climate change poses to its investments by supporting decarbonization in the real economy.””

New York Times guest essay: “One of the Hottest Trends in the World of Investing Is a Sham”

On September 29, the New York Times published a guest essay by Hans Taparia, a clinical associate professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, in which the professor insisted that ESG–“One of the Hottest Trends in the World of Investing”–is, in his words, a “sham.” Taparia argues that ESG could be of benefit to markets, investors, and stakeholders but that its practitioners are preventing that from happening. Taparia concludes that the system must be changed. “The current system,” he writes, “needs an overhaul. Reform may not be as kind to corporate America, but it would make it easier to invest in the future of our society and planet.”:

“Wall Street has been hard at work on a rebrand. Gone is the “Greed is good” swagger that embodied its culture in the 1980s. “Greed and good” may best summarize its messaging today as it seeks to combine high profits with lofty intentions.

“To prosper over time,” Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of the investment giant BlackRock, wrote in a remarkable public letter in 2018, “every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

At the heart of this rebranding is a new industry of funds, created by BlackRock and peers such as Vanguard and Fidelity, that purport to invest in companies that are good corporate citizens — that is, companies that meet certain environmental, social and governance criteria. These E.S.G. criteria are wide ranging, pertaining to issues such as carbon emissions, pollution, data security, employment practices and the diversity of corporate board members.

On the face of it, E.S.G. investing could be transformative, which is why it’s one of the hottest trends in the world of investing. After all, allocating more capital to companies that do good helps them grow faster and lower their cost of capital, creating an incentive for all companies to be more socially and environmentally conscious.

But the reality is less inspiring. Wall Street’s current system for E.S.G. investing is designed almost entirely to maximize shareholder returns, falsely leading many investors to believe their portfolios are doing good for the world.

For E.S.G. investing to achieve its potential, Wall Street players will have to change their system. More likely, the Securities and Exchange Commission will have to change it for them….

[C]ontrary to the spirit of E.S.G. investing (and likely unknown to most investors), the leading rating agencies are not scoring companies on their degree of environmental or social responsibility. Instead, they are measuring how much potential harm E.S.G. factors like carbon emissions have on companies’ financial performance….

McDonald’s, for instance, was given an upgrade of its E.S.G. rating last year by MSCI, which cited reduced risks to the company’s bottom line as a result of changes that the company made concerning packaging material and waste. But greenhouse gas emissions from the operations and supply chain of McDonald’s, which is one of the world’s largest buyers of beef, grew by 16 percent from 2015 to 2020. Those emissions are a direct cause of climate change, but because MSCI didn’t see them as posing a financial risk for McDonald’s, they didn’t negatively affect the rating.

This is hardly an isolated case.

This system works well for Wall Street. It keeps the raters in business because it ensures that their customers, the investment firms, have lots of stocks with which to construct portfolios. It enables financial institutions to present themselves as contributing to the well-being of society and the planet. And it allows them to charge higher fees to investors, because E.S.G. funds are seen as different from conventional index funds, in part because they tap into investors’ consciences.

But this system isn’t good for the world.”



$758.23 million raised in statewide ballot measures so far

Welcome to the October 4, 2022, Brew. 

By: Joel Williams

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

  1. A state ballot measure campaign finance update
  2. A preview of potential public-sector union SCOTUS cases
  3. Iowa’s Chuck Grassley—the nation’s 2nd-longest active-tenured U.S. Senator—running for re-election

$758.23 million raised in statewide ballot measures so far

This year, 137 state ballot measures were certified for the ballot, including 129 for Nov. 8. As of Oct. 1, Ballotpedia identified $758.23 million in contributions to support or oppose this year’s ballot measures. During the 2020 election cycle, $1.27 billion was raised to support or oppose 129 state ballot measures.

  • Of the contributions for this year’s ballot measures, 81.55% were in California, 4.78% were in Massachusetts, and 3.20% were in Colorado. 
  • In 2020, the top three states were California (61.58%), Illinois (9.96%), and Massachusetts (4.97%).
  • In 2018, the top three states were California (31.12%), Nevada (10.76%), and Florida (10.63%).

The chart below compares total contributions between 2018, 2020, and 2022, along with the amount associated with campaigns in California:

Supporters and opponents of California Proposition 27, which would legalize online sports betting, have raised a combined $383.82 million. Supporters and opponents of Massachusetts Question 1, which would impose an additional 4% tax on incomes of more than $1 million, have raised a combined $28.46 million. 

Campaigns supporting or opposing the following five ballot measures have received the most contributions:

Keep reading

SCOTUS has seven petitions to review public-sector union cases

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) kicked off its October 2022 term. Sign up for our Robe & Gavel newsletter to keep up with what’s going on. Here’s an excerpt from a story we ran on Friday in our Union Station newsletter about public-sector union cases SCOTUS is currently considering.

As of Sept. 29, appellants had filed seven petitions for writs of certiorari—requests for SCOTUS to review a lower court’s ruling—in public-sector union cases we’re tracking. SCOTUS began considering petitions for this term on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Here’s a map identifying those seven petitions and where they originated:

SCOTUS receives 7,000 to 8,000 petitions every year. For a petition to be granted, at least four of the nine justices must vote to hear the case. Between 2007 and 2021, the court issued opinions in an average of 75 cases per year.

Since SCOTUS’ 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Ballotpedia has tracked close to 200 public-sector union lawsuits in federal and state courts, 60 of which have been appealed to SCOTUS since the 2018-2019 term. So far, the court has not heard any of these subsequent appeals, although, in 2018, it sent one case back to the Eighth Circuit to be reconsidered in light of Janus. (The court denied a second appeal in the same case in 2020.)

Keep reading 

Iowa’s Chuck Grassley—the nation’s 2nd-longest active-tenured U.S. Senator—running for re-election

We are 35 days away from the Nov. 8 general elections—and 26 days into our 50 States in 50 Days series. Today we’re featuring Iowa, the Hawkeye State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio
Week Six: South Carolina

On the ballot in Iowa

At the federal level, Iowa voters will elect one U.S. Senator and all four of the state’s U.S. Representatives. Iowa voters will elect the state’s governor and lieutenant governor on a joint ticket. Five other state executive offices—attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and agriculture commissioner—are also up for election.

Thirty-four of the state Senate’s 50 seats are up for election in 2022. This includes all 25 odd-numbered districts and nine specific, even-numbered districts. Voters will elect state Senators in five even-numbered districts because redistricting resulted in either two incumbents or no incumbents living within the district’s new boundaries. Four other even-numbered districts are up for election this year because the incumbent living within that district’s boundaries was last elected in 2018. Any state Senators elected in even-numbered districts this year will serve a two-year term and be up for regular election in 2024. All 100 seats in the Iowa House of Representatives are up for election in 2022.

Two of the seven justices on the Iowa Supreme Court and two of nine justices on the Iowa Court of Appeals are running in retention elections. All four judges were originally appointed to their respective courts by Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

There are no open U.S. House races and 46 open-seat races in the Legislature this year. 

Redistricting highlights

Iowa was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was the same as it had after the 2010 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Iowa:

To use our tool to view Iowa’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Iowa redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of Iowa’s two U.S. Senators—Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley—are Republicans.
  • Three of the four members of the U.S. House from Iowa are Republicans.
  • Republicans have a 32-18 majority in the state Senate and a 60-40 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Republican, Iowa is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta. It has held this status since 2017.
  • Iowa’s governor and secretary of state are Republican, and its attorney general is a Democrat, meaning that it is one of nine states where neither party holds triplex control. All three offices are up for election in 2022.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 72 state legislative seats in Iowa, or 54% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are running in 70% of all state legislative races. Forty state legislative seats (30% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Democratic candidate, and Republicans are likely to win them.

Republicans are running in 76% of all state legislative races. Thirty-two seats (24% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Republican candidate, and Democrats are likely to win them.

Key races

  • United States Senate election in Iowa, 2022: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and Michael Franken (D) are running. Grassley was first elected in 1980. In 2020, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R) defeated Theresa Greenfield (D), 52% to 45%, for Iowa’s other U.S. Senate seat. Grassley has the second-longest tenure of any current U.S. Senator.
  • Iowa’s 1st Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) and Christina Bohannan (D) are running. Miller-Meeks was first elected to the U.S. House in 2020 in the state’s 2nd District by six votes out of 394,000 cast over Rita Hart (D). That was the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984. Daily Kos calculated that voters in the redrawn 1st District supported President Trump over President Biden in the 2020 presidential election, 50.5% to 47.6%. 
  • Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Cindy Axne (D) and Zach Nunn (R) are running. The Gazette‘s Liz Mathews said the race was “likely Iowa’s most competitive House election.” Although modified in redistricting, this is one of 13 U.S. House districts Democrats are defending that Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.

Ballot measures

Iowa voters will decide one statewide ballot measure on Nov. 8.  

The Iowa Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment would add a right to own and bear firearms to the Iowa Constitution and require strict scrutiny for any alleged violations of the right brought before a court. As of 2021, 44 other states had provisions guaranteeing a right to firearms in their constitutions.

In Iowa, a total of 16 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Nine ballot measures were approved, and seven ballot measures were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
  • All Iowa voters must present identification when voting. Accepted forms of ID include Iowa driver’s licenses, Iowa non-operator IDs, U.S. passports, and Iowa voter ID cards. Iowa automatically mails free voter ID cards to registered voters without valid Iowa Department of Transportation-issued IDs. If unable to provide an accepted form of ID, voters may instead have another registered voter attest to their identity or provide election day registration documents that prove their identity and residence. For more information about voting ID requirements in Iowa, click here.
  • Iowa allows early in-person voting at each county auditor’s office starting on Oct. 19 and ending on Nov. 7. All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Iowa. 
  • Voter registration can be done online, in person, or by mail by Oct. 24. Registration is permitted on Election Day with proof of identification. For more information or to register to vote in Iowa, click here.
  • All voters may request an absentee ballot from their county auditor’s office. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 24. Voters must use the return envelope provided, and ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Absentee ballots can be mailed or delivered in person to a voter’s county auditor’s office. To check the status of your ballot, click here.)

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

Keep reading



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins October Term 2022-2023

Welcome to the Oct. 3 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

It is the first Monday in October, dear readers, and we all know what that means. SCOTUS has returned from its summer recess to begin the 2022-2023 October Term in its new incarnation, as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson starts her first term on the court. Let’s gavel in, shall we?

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS accepted nine new cases to its merits docket on Oct. 3:

  • Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools
  • Gonzalez v. Google LLC
  • In re Grand Jury
  • Santos-Zacaria v. Garland
  • Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States
  • Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh
  • Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Inc.
  • Ohio Adjutant General’s Department vs. Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

Click here to learn more about these cases. 

To date, the court has agreed to hear 36 cases during its 2022-2023 term. Eighteen cases have been scheduled for argument.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

  • Merrill v. Milligan (Consolidated with Merrill v. Caster) concerns the Voting Rights Act and redistricting. A group of Alabama voters and organizations sued Secretary of State John Merrill (R) and the House and Senate redistricting chairmen, Rep. Chris Pringle (R) and Sen. Jim McClendon (R). The plaintiffs alleged the congressional map approved by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Nov. 4, 2021, weakened the electoral strength of Black voters. The plaintiffs asked the lower court to invalidate the enacted congressional map and order a new map with instructions to include a second majority-Black district. Click here to learn more about the cases’ background details. 
  • Arellano v. McDonough involves 38 U.S.C. § 5110 and the doctrine of equitable tolling. Under 38 U.S.C. § 5110, disability benefits can be awarded retroactively to the date of discharge if a veteran applies within one year of that date. Service-disabled veteran Adolfo Arellano was discharged from the U.S. Navy in October 1981. Approximately 30 years later, he applied for disability compensation benefits. Arellano challenged the effective date of his benefits, arguing the one-year deadline should have been tolled, or paused, because his disability prevented him from applying for benefits earlier. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals rejected the argument. Arellano appealed his case until it reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This court held in a divided 6-6 opinion that Arellano’s effective date was the date his application was received (June 2011), not retroactive to his date of discharge (October 1981). SCOTUS will review and decide when one qualifies for retroactive compensation. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

During the 2021-2022 term, the court agreed to hear 68 cases. Four cases were dismissed and one case was removed from the argument calendar.

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued any opinions since our previous edition. 

Between the 2007 and 2021 terms, SCOTUS issued opinions in 1,128 cases, averaging 75 opinions per year. During that period, the court reversed a lower court decision 805 times (71.4 percent) and affirmed a lower court decision 315 times (27.9 percent).

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Oct. 3: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Oct. 4: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Oct. 7: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to join the U.S. Supreme Court after taking her constitutional oath and her judicial oath on June 30, 2022, in the court’s West Conference Room.

Federal court action

Nominations

There have been no new nominations since our Sept. 12 edition.

The president has announced 141 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported 11 new nominees out of committee since our last edition. 

The following nominees were reported to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote on Sept. 15, 2022: 

The following nominees were reported on Sept. 30, 2022:

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed four nominees since our Sept. 12 issue. 

As of this writing, 84 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 83 vacancies, 81 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 57 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 33 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on Oct. 11 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter.



State law in four states requires partisan labels for school board elections

Welcome to the Monday, October 3, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

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

  1. Laws in four states require partisan labels for school board elections 
  2. Battleground preview—Pennsylvania gubernatorial election 
  3. 60% of all state legislative seats up for election in South Carolina do not have major party competition

Laws in four states require partisan labels for school board elections 

Ballotpedia’s Hall Pass newsletter covers school board politics and education policy, and it hits inboxes every Wednesday. The story below is adapted from research we featured in Hall Pass last week. 

Partisan school board elections are far from the norm. The vast majority of school districts—estimated at around 90%—hold nonpartisan elections, in which candidates run without a party affiliation affixed to their name on the ballot. As we told you last month, there are 13,194 K-12 school districts in the country. 

With general elections coming up on Nov. 8, we thought it would be a good time to dig into our research on where state law provides for partisan school board elections. Two questions guided this research: First, could we find a state law providing for partisan elections? Second, does state law give local governments the flexibility to hold partisan elections if they choose?

Here’s what we found:

  • In 41 states and the District of Columbia, state law requires nonpartisan elections for school boards.
  • Law in four states—Alabama, Connecticut, Louisiana, and, with some exceptions, Pennsylvania—automatically allow partisan school board board elections or party labels to appear on the ballot. These four states have a combined 878 school districts and 7,652 elected school board members. That’s about seven percent of all school districts in the country.
  • Laws in at least five states—Georgia, Rhode Island, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina—either explicitly allow for partisan or nonpartisan elections or gives local authorities enough control over elections to effectively allow the option. These five states have a combined 554 school districts and 3,342 elected school board members.

In North Carolina and Georgia, some districts hold partisan elections while others do not. As of 2018, at least 36 county school districts in North Carolina had adopted partisan elections. According to the Georgia School Board Association, in 2021, 109 of the state’s 180 school districts have non-partisan elections, leaving 71 with partisan elections. 

Tennessee joined Georgia and North Carolina in allowing—but not requiring—districts to hold partisan school board elections on Nov. 12, 2021, when Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed HB9072 into law. The law, which took effect immediately, says candidates can run as the representative of a political party if a county party committee “elects to conduct school board elections on a partisan basis.” In districts holding partisan elections, the law says “political parties may elect to nominate a candidate under party rules rather than by primary election.” 

According to Chalkbeat Tennessee, school board candidates in more than half of Tennessee’s counties ran in partisan races in the Aug. 4 primary.  

Click here to read a debate we featured in Hall Pass earlier this year on partisan school board elections. 

Click below to subscribe to Hall Pass!

Keep reading 

Battleground preview—Pennsylvania gubernatorial election 

​​We’re previewing pivotal battleground elections across the country up until election day. Today, let’s look at Pennsylvania, one of 36 states holding gubernatorial elections. Pennsylvania is also one of 13 states with divided government.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), and three other candidates are running in the general election for governor Nov. 8. Incumbent Tom Wolf (D) is term-limited.

Shapiro was elected attorney general in 2016. He served as Montgomery County Commissioner from 2011 to 2017 and in the state House from 2005 to 2011. Shapiro’s campaign has focused on two key messages: his record as attorney general and his potential ability as governor to veto legislation the legislature’s Republican majority passes. Shapiro said his experience in the criminal justice system and on cases related to LGBTQ issues, workers’ issues, and election security are things he would continue to pursue as governor. Shapiro’s campaign website highlighted abortion and absentee/mail-in voting as issues which he would veto legislation he disagreed with.

Mastriano was elected as a state senator from the Cumberland Valley in 2018. He served in the United States Army from 1988 to 2017. Mastriano has proposed a number of election policy changes, including eliminating no-excuse absentee/mail-in voting and drop boxes, enacting universal voter identification, and prohibiting the use of private donations or grants for election administration. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mastriano called on the legislature to pass a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Mastriano said he would rescind any remaining mask and vaccine mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic on his first day in office and work to pass a law banning similar future mandates.

How the state runs its elections has been one focus of each candidate’s campaign. Currently, the governor of Pennsylvania appoints a secretary of state charged with certifying election results, determining which voting machines the state uses, and ordering recounts and recanvasses of elections. Shapiro said, “[I will] appoint a pro-democracy Secretary of State to run our elections, expand pre-registration opportunities for young people, and implement same-day voter registration through Election Day.” Mastriano’s website said he would “Appoint a Secretary of State with experience in securing elections from fraud.”

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Christina Digiulio (G), Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Matt Hackenburg (L).

Each candidate has a running mate for lieutenant governor. Shapiro’s running mate is state Rep. Austin Davis, and Mastriano’s running mate is state Rep. Carrie DelRosso. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) ran for U.S. Senate rather than seek re-election.

Click below to read more about the gubernatorial election. 

Keep reading 

60% of all state legislative seats up for election in South Carolina do not have major party competition

We are 36 days away from the Nov. 8 general elections—and 25 days into our 50 States in 50 Days series. Today, at the halfway point, we’re featuring South Carolina, the Palmetto State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Ohio

On the ballot in South Carolina

At the federal level, South Carolina voters will elect one U.S. Senator and seven U.S. Representatives. 

At the state level, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are up for election. No state supreme court seats are up for election in 2022.

All 124 seats in the state House of Representatives are up for election. The 46 seats in the state Senate will not be up for election until 2024. 

Of the seven U.S. House seats up for election, none are open. Of the 124 state legislative seats up for election, 15 are open. 

Redistricting highlights

South Carolina was apportioned seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census. 

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in South Carolina:  

To use our tool to view South Carolina’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our  South Carolina redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators–Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott–are Republicans. 
  • Republicans represent six of the state’s U.S. House districts. Democrats represent one.
  • Republicans hold a 30-16 majority in the state Senate and a 81-43 majority in the state House of Representatives. The governor–Henry McMaster–is a Republican, making South Carolina one of the nation’s 23 Republican trifectas. South Carolina has been a Republican trifecta since 2003. 
  • South Carolina’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are Republicans, making it one of the nation’s 23 Republican triplexes. 

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 74 state legislative seats in South Carolina, or 60% of all seats up for

election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of

either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, the seat

is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running in 55% of all state legislative races. Fifty-six state legislative seats (45% of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Democratic candidate and are likely to be won by a Republican.

Republicans are running in 85% of all state legislative races. Eighteen seats (15%

of all state legislative seats) do not feature a Republican candidate and are likely to

be won by a Democrat.

Key races

  • South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2022: Governor Henry McMaster (R), Joe Cunningham (D), and Morgan Bruce Reeves (L) are running for governor of South Carolina. Cunningham’s 2018 U.S. House win in the state’s 1st congressional district made him the first Democrat to represent the district since 1978. This has drawn national media attention to the gubernatorial race, though analysts have rated it as solid/safe for Republicans. 
  • South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Nancy Mace (R), Annie Andrews (D), Joseph Oddo (A), and Alejandro Otman (I) are running to represent South Carolina’s 1st district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mace defeated the same primary opponent that lost this seat to the Democrats in 2018. 

Ballot measures

South Carolina voters will decide two statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8, 2022: 

A total of 54 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2018. Of that number, 45 ballot measures were approved, and nine were defeated.

Voting

  • On Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. An individual in line at the time polls close must be allowed to vote. 
  • South Carolina requires voters to present photo identification. For more information about voter ID requirements in South Carolina, click here
  • Early voting in South Carolina is available to all voters. Early voting starts on Oct. 24 and ends on Nov. 5.
  • The voting registration deadline in South Carolina is Oct. 7 if registering in person. The online deadline is Oct. 9, and the mail deadline is Oct. 11.
  • South Carolina does not allow same-day voter registration.
  • In order to qualify for an absentee by mail ballot in South Carolina, voters must provide a valid reason they cannot make it to the polls on Election Day. 
  • The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28. Ballots can be returned in person or by mail. Ballots must be received by Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. 
  • To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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ICYMI: Top stories of the week

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Help Desk: when states can begin processing and counting absentee/mail-in ballots

While all states have some form of absentee/mail-in balloting, some restrict when and why voters can cast such ballots. Upon receiving completed absentee/mail-in ballots, election officials must process the ballots before they can be counted. 

In 12 states, processing begins at some point on Election Day, though the exact time varies by state. In 22 states, processing can begin before Election Day, and in 10 states, processing can begin upon receipt. Click below to read more on the rules in the remaining six states.

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Ballotpedia presents 2022’s top 15 elections to watch

Ballotpedia’s editorial staff will cover roughly 15,000 races on Election Night—the most in the organization’s 15-year history. Our team has selected 15 elections from that coverage to make up our list of the most important, compelling, and competitive elections in the country.

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The answer to your general election questions

Election Day is only a few weeks away! Many readers will have questions about what to expect in elections at all levels of government, from casting ballots to certifying final results. Ballotpedia’s 2022 Election Help Desk is here with answers.

The Help Desk contains articles answering frequently asked questions about elections and election administration. Click below for the full guide.


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Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November

Voters in 36 states will decide on 129 ballot measures on Nov. 8, covering issues ranging from abortion to marijuana to election laws. 

Five measures were decided earlier this year, and three more are slated for December, bringing the total number of statewide ballot measures for 2022 to 137.

This total—137—is more than the number of measures in 2020, which was 129. But it is lower than the preceding decade’s (2010-2022) average of 164.

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Election Legislation Weekly Digest: September 30, 2022

Here is our weekly round-up on election-related legislation. In it, you’ll find the following information: 

  • Noteworthy bills: Here, we identify and report on the contents and legislative status of noteworthy bills. 
  • Recent activity: Here, we report on the number of bills acted on within the past week. 
  • The big picture: Here, we look at the bills in the aggregate. 
    • Legislative status: How many bills have been introduced, voted upon, or enacted into law?
    • Concentration of activity: What states have seen the highest concentration of legislative activity?
    • Partisan affiliation of sponsorship: How many bills have been sponsored by Democrats vs. Republicans? 
    • Subject: What subjects are most commonly addressed in the bills? 

Noteworthy bills

This part of our report highlights recent activity on specific noteworthy bills. A bill is noteworthy if it meets one or more of the following criteria: 

  • It has been enacted into law. 
  • It is poised to be enacted into law. 
  • It is the subject of significant debate in the legislature. 
  • It is the subject of significant commentary by activists, journalists, etc. 

Michigan HB6071: This bill would make the following changes to state laws regarding polling locations:

  • Prohibits the use of a polling station in a building belonging to a candidate.
  • Removes conflicting language regarding establishment of polling place locations.
  • Authorizes the use of a privately owned banquet hall or similar facility if another suitable location is not available, but the facility may not belong to a candidate or a sponsor of a political committee.
  • Outlines procedures for using the facility.
  • Authorizes a legislative body to establish a central polling place and outlines related procedures.

Legislative history: The state Senate approved the final version of the bill by unanimous vote on Sept. 28. Later that same day, the state House approved the bill by a vote of 97-7. It now awaits gubernatorial action.

Political context: Michigan operates under a divided government. Republicans control majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, but the governor (Gretchen Whitmer) is a Democrat. 

Recent activity

Since September 23, 15 bills have been acted on in some way (representing a 114.3 percent decrease as compared to last week’s total of 7 bills). These 15 bills represent 0.6 percent of the 2,520 bills we are tracking. Of these 15 bills, 6 (40.0 percent) are from states with Democratic trifectas and 9 (60.0 percent) are from states with divided governments. 

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

  • 3 bills were introduced (or saw pre-committee action).
    • Democratic trifectas: 1.
    • Divided governments: 2.
  • 1 bill advanced from committee (or saw post-committee action).
    • Divided governments: 1.
  • 2 bills passed one chamber (or saw pre-adoption action in the second chamber).
    • Divided governments: 2.
  • 4 bills passed both chambers (or saw pre-enactment action).
    • Divided governments: 4.
      • MI HB4491: Elections: election officials; authority for county clerks to remove deceased individuals from the qualified voter file; provide for. Amends sec. 509o & 510 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.509o & 168.510).
      • MI HB6071: Elections: polling places; polling place locations; expand.
      • MI SB0008: Elections: absent voters; definition of United States Department of Defense verified electronic signature; provide for. Amends 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.1 – 168.992) by adding sec. 18a. 
      • MI SB0311: Elections: absent voters; electronic return of absentee ballots by military voters using Department of Defense Common Access Cards; allow. Amends sec. 759a of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.759a) & adds sec. 18a. 
  • 3 bills were enacted.
    • Democratic trifectas: 3.
      • CA AB1631: Elections: elections officials.
      • CA AB2815: Elections: vote by mail ballot drop-off locations.
      • CA SB1131: Election workers: confidentiality.
  • 2 bills died.
    • Democratic trifectas: 2.

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. 

The big picture

To date, we have tracked 2,520 election-related bills. This represents a marginal decrease as compared to last week’s total (owing to the exclusion of one irrelevant bill). These bills were either introduced this year or crossed over from last year’s legislative sessions. 

Legislative status 

The pie charts below visualize the legislative status of the bills we are tracking. The following status indicators are used: 

  • Introduced: The bill has been pre-filed, introduced, or referred to committee but has not otherwise been acted upon.
  • Advanced from committee: The bill has received a favorable vote in committee. It has either advanced to another committee or to the floor for a vote. 
  • Passed one chamber: The bill has been approved by one legislative chamber.
  • Conference committee: Differing versions of the bill have been approved by their respective chambers and a conference committee has been appointed to reconcile the differences. 
  • Passed both chambers: The bill has cleared both chambers of the legislature. 
  • Enacted: The bill has been enacted into law, by gubernatorial action or inaction or veto override. 
  • Vetoed: The bill has been vetoed. 
  • Dead: The bill has been defeated in committee or by floor vote. 

The pie charts below visualize the legislative status of bills in Democratic and Republican trifectas, respectively. 

Concentration of activity

The map below visualizes the concentration of legislative activity across the nation. A darker shade of yellow indicates a higher number of relevant bills that have been introduced. A lighter shade of yellow indicates a lower number of relevant bills. 

Partisan affiliation of sponsor(s)

The pie chart below visualizes the partisan affiliation of bill sponsors.

The bar chart below visualizes the correlation between the partisan affiliation of bill sponsors and trifecta status (e.g., how many Democratic-sponsored bills were introduced in Democratic trifectas vs. Republican trifectas).

Bills by topic

The chart below presents information on the total number of bills dealing with particular topics. The number listed on the blue portion of each bar indicates the number of Democratic-sponsored bills dealing with the subject in question. The number listed on the red portion of the bar indicates the number of Republican-sponsored bills. The purple and gray portions of the bar indicate the number of bipartisan-sponsored bills and bills with unspecified sponsorship, respectively. Note that the numbers listed here will not, when summed, equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics.



In their own words – what candidates are saying in Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Welcome to the Friday, September 30, 2022, Brew. 

By: Dave Beaudoin

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

  1. Hear from Iowa secretary of state and Oregon Court of Appeals candidates in their  own words
  2. Download the latest episode of our weekly podcast, On the Ballot
  3. Ohio voters to decide three toss-up congressional races this year

Hear from Iowa secretary of state and Oregon Court of Appeals candidates in their own words

If you’re a regular reader of the Daily Brew, then you’ve seen previous stories about our Candidate Connection survey. We created it to help solve the ballot information problem because we believe everyone deserves meaningful, reliable, trustworthy information about their candidates. The survey allows voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them and what their priorities are.

In races where all candidates completed the survey, voters (like you!) get a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the candidates’ backgrounds, objectives, and experiences. 

Iowa Secretary of State

Both candidates running in the Nov. 8 general election for Iowa Secretary of State — incumbent Paul Pate (R) and Joel Miller (D) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Iowa’s secretary of state serves as the state commissioner of elections, maintains corporations’ records, registers trademarks, commissions notaries public, and preserves original documents. 

This is one of 27 secretaries of state up for election in 2022. The partisan control before the election in those 27 races is 14 Republicans and 13 Democrats. Iowa is one of 26 states with a Republican secretary of state and one of 9 states with a divided government triplex. 

Here’s how Pate and Miller answered the following question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

Pate

  • “Continuing to protect the sanctity and security of Iowa’s elections are my top priorities. while increasing voter registration and participation. Iowa was recently named one of the top three states in the nation for election administration. I’d like us to be #1. We’ve made it easy to vote but hard to cheat. Under my watch, that will continue.
  • Under my watch, Iowa has set record highs for voter registration and participation multiple times. Iowa is a national leader in both. We implemented Iowa’s online voter registration system in 2016, making it faster and easier to register than ever. We also created the Safe at Home address confidentiality program, so survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, stalking and assault can vote without fear of their address becoming public.”

Miller

  • “Make Voting Easy Again! But to do so, Iowans must #FirePaulPate. Why? 
  • Pate pocket vetoed two proposed amendments to the Iowa Constitution by failing to publish them in official newspapers. Pate blamed the mistake on staff and fired a top appointee. Legislature took away Pate’s duty to publish amendments.
  • Pate negligently inactivated 17-year-olds not eligible to vote in the November 2020 election. Pate blamed the Legislature for making the law. Legislature changed law to prohibit Pate from inactivating 17 year-olds in the future. 
  • Pate silent on voter suppression contained in 2021 election law changes. No leadership. Did not register For/Against/Neutral on law during debate or after passage.”

In 2018, Pate defeated Deidre DeJear (D), 53% to 45%, to win re-election to a second term.

Oregon Court of Appeals

Darleen Ortega and Vance Day are running in the nonpartisan general election for Position 3 on the Oregon Court of Appeals. This intermediate appellate court in Oregon hears all civil and criminal appeals from the state’s circuit courts. Oregon Court of Appeals justices serve six-year terms and are elected statewide. The Position 3 race is the only one of five state appeals court elections this year that is contested. In the May 17 primary, Ortega finished first with 62% and Day received 38%.

Here are excerpts from Ortega’s and Day’s responses to the question: What characteristics or principles are most important for an elected official?

Ortega

Even for those of us who come from historically marginalized communities, elected office is a place of privilege that insulates us from the experiences of most citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. I think it’s especially important for an elected official to make the extra and ongoing effort needed to put herself in a position to listen to the perspectives of the most vulnerable, who have the hardest time being heard inside systems like the legal system where I do my work. I need to allow what I learn about their experiences to motivate me to stay curious about what I don’t know, about the injustices that I won’t readily see, and also to help me to maintain the necessary urgency to stay engaged even when I can’t see a way to make things better. It’s only by staying engaged in that way that I can hope to do my job with integrity and to move the system toward justice.

Day

These are the most important qualities for a judge:

– The ability to master the law, the facts of the case, and the implications of a decision. Undergirding this must be the humility to learn continually and listen conscientiously. – The ability to work collegially, constructively, and respectfully with other judges, attorneys, plaintiffs and defendants, and staff. – The ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously both orally and in writing. – The ability to work hard and for the long haul. – A deep respect and deference for the rights and freedoms of the individual to self-govern while adhering to the principles of individual accountability and personal responsibility under the law. – A sincere desire to listen to and understand citizens’ concerns regarding the preservation of their liberty under our Constitutions. – Character, as defined by the words of renowned College Basketball Coach John Wooden, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

As of Sept. 29, we’ve posted Candidate Connection survey responses for 92 races nationwide where all candidates running completed our survey — including for six U.S. House districts and three statewide races. Is an election on your ballot one of them?  

Click below to view all races with a 100% survey response rate, and if you’d like to learn more about the candidates on your ballot, ask them to fill out the survey.

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Download the latest episode of our weekly podcast, On the Ballot 

In the latest episode of our weekly On the Ballot podcast, host Victoria Rose talked with our editor-in-chief, Geoff Pallay, about Ballotpedia’s 15th anniversary and highlighted some of the noteworthy milestones in our history.

The podcast also delved into the voter registration data that states collect, including what information is made available to the public or perhaps sold. States don’t just differ in election administration and voter registration policies. They also track voter data differently. Some don’t even track voters’ party affiliation–in fact, 19 states do not do so. But otherwise, you can generally visit a state’s elections division to look up how many voters belong to each party. 

You can find the latest episode of On the Ballot by clicking the link below, along with all our recent episodes. And learn how to subscribe so you never miss an update!

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Ohio voters to decide three toss-up congressional races this year

Nearly halfway there – Today is the 24th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Ohio, the Buckeye State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona

On the ballot in Ohio

At the federal level, one of Ohio’s U.S. Senate seats and all 15 of its U.S. House districts are up for election this year.

Voters will also decide 11 state executive offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and five seats on the state board of education.

Seventeen of the 33 seats in the state senate and all 99 seats in the state house are up for election.

Incumbents are not running for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat and for one of the 15 U.S. House districts up this year, leaving those seats open. Thirty-one of Ohio’s 116 state legislative districts also have open seats.

Three of the seven seats on the state supreme court are up for election. Two members of the court are running against one another for the position of chief justice, while two other members are running for re-election.

These will be Ohio’s first fully partisan elections for state supreme court and intermediate appellate courts. In previous election years, these offices had partisan primaries but nonpartisan general elections. Starting this year, general elections for those offices are also partisan.

Redistricting highlights

Ohio lost a single U.S. House district in the round of apportionment following the 2020 census, going from 16 districts in 2020 to 15 this year.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Ohio:

To use our tool to view Ohio’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our Ohio redistricting page.

Partisan balance

  • One of Ohio’s U.S. senators, Sherrod Brown, is a Democrat. The other, Rob Portman, is a Republican.
  • Twelve of Ohio’s 16 members in the U.S. House are Republicans. The other four are Democrats.
  • Republicans have a 25-8 majority in the state Senate and a 64-35 majority in the state House. Because the governor, Mike DeWine, is also a Republican, Republicans have a trifecta in Ohio. Republicans have had a trifecta in Ohio since winning the governorship and state house in 2010.
  • The attorney general, Dave Yost, and the secretary of state, Frank LaRose, are both Republicans. Because the governor is also a Republican, Ohio is a Republican triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 41 state legislative seats in Ohio, or 35% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that candidate is all but guaranteed to win.

Democrats are running in 76% of all state legislative races. Twenty-eight state legislative seats (24% of all state legislative seats up) do not have a Democratic candidate, meaning the Republican is likely to win.

Republicans are running in 89% of all state legislative races. Thirteen state legislative seats (11% of all state legislative seats up) do not have a Republican candidate, meaning the Democrat is likely to win.

Key races

  • U.S. Senate election in Ohio, 2022: Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R) are running. Incumbent Rob Portman (R), first elected in 2010, is retiring. Ohio is one of three states holding elections for U.S. Senate this year to have a Democratic Senator and a Republican Senator, alongside Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It is the only state of the three that Donald Trump (R) won in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Ohio’s 1st Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Steve Chabot (R) and Greg Landsman (D) are running. Chabot, first elected in 1994, won re-election 52%-45% in 2020. Redistricting following the 2020 census tilted this district more towards Democrats. The Cook Partisan Voter Index, a measure of the district’s partisan lean relative to the national average, shifted from R+4 under the old district lines to D+2 under the new lines. 
  • Ohio’s 9th Congressional District election, 2022: Incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D) and J.R. Majewski (R) are running. Kaptur, first elected in 1982, won re-election 63%-37% in 2020. The 9th district tilted more towards Republicans in the post-2020 round of redistricting. The District’s Cook Partisan Voter Index shifted from D+9 under the old lines to R+3.
  • Ohio’s 13th Congressional District election, 2022: Emilia Sykes (D) and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R) are running. Incumbent Tim Ryan (D) is running for the U.S. Senate, leaving the seat open. According to Daily Kos, Joe Biden (D) won 51%-48% over Donald Trump (R) within the borders of the new 13th District during the 2020 presidential election. The Cook Partisan Voter Index for the new district is R+1. 
  • Ohio Supreme Court elections, 2022: Three of the seven seats on the Ohio Supreme Court are up for partisan election. Incumbents Pat Fischer (R) and Pat DeWine (R) are running for re-election against Terri Jamison (D) and Marilyn Zayas (D), respectively. Incumbents Jennifer Brunner (D) and Sharon Kennedy (R) are running for chief justice. The governor will appoint an associate justice to replace the winner of that election. Republicans currently have a 4-3 majority on the court.

Ballot measures

Ohio voters will decide two statewide measures on Nov. 8.

  • Issue 1 would require that courts take factors including public safety, the seriousness of an offense, and the accused’s criminal record and likelihood of returning to court when setting bail.
  • Issue 2 would prohibit local governments from allowing noncitizens or individuals who otherwise lack the qualifications of an elector to participate in local elections.

Sixty-three measures appeared on statewide ballots in Ohio between 1985 and 2018. Thirty-eight measures were approved, and 25 were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Ohio requires voters to announce their full name and current address and present identification before voting. For more information about voter ID requirements in Ohio, click here.
  • Early voting starts Wednesday, Oct. 12, and runs through Monday, Nov. 7.
  • The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 11. Registration can be completed in person, by mail, or online. Mail-in registration forms are valid as long as they are postmarked Oct. 11 or earlier. Ohio does not permit same-day voter registration.
  • All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Ohio. Absentee ballots may be requested at any point within 90 days of the election up until noon on Saturday, Nov. 5. A returned absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than Monday, Nov. 7, and received by the elections board no later than Friday, Nov. 18. Absentee ballots may be submitted via mail or in person, although only the voter themself or a family member may return an absentee ballot in person. Absentee ballots contain an identification statement the voter must sign in order for the ballot to be considered valid.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!  

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