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Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Oct. 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
  2. Voters in two states to elect state supreme court justices in November
  3. What’s the Tea?

Marianne Williamson is first 2020 presidential candidate to respond to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Author Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.

Williamson describes the effect that the book, A Course in Miracles, had on her life and why she thinks the United States needs “a season of moral repair.” She also discusses reparations, money in politics, and the quality Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have in common. 

Here are some of Williamson’s responses:

What legacy would you like to leave?

“A legacy of love that transforms politics and government to benefit We the People.”

What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?

“Overturn Citizens United. Limit money in politics.”

What do you support that the majority of your party opposes?

“I am the first presidential candidate to advocate for reparations, and the only one with a plan for how to do it. 

In many ways, America has continued the process of racial reconciliation begun in the 1960’s. Yet in other ways, we have actually slipped backward. Yes, there are no more colored bathrooms and separate drinking fountains. But we now have mass incarceration; racial disparity in criminal sentencing; lost voting rights; outright voter suppression; and police brutality often focused on black populations.

Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery. A debt unpaid is still a debt unpaid, even if it’s 150 years later. The legacy of that injustice lives on, with racist policies infused into our systems even to this day. From employment and housing discrimination, to equal access to quality education in underserved communities, to police brutality/prejudice, to lack of fair lending practices, to lack of access to quality healthcare, to insecure voting rights, America has not yet completed the task of healing our racial divide.

For that reason, I propose a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years. An esteemed council of African-American leaders would determine the educational and economic projects to which the money would be given.”

– – –

We will continue to highlight noteworthy responses to the Candidate Connection survey in the Brew. Up next in Monday’s edition, Beto O’Rourke shares his vision for a 28th, 29th, and 30th Amendment. Williamson and O’Rourke are the first two noteworthy presidential candidates to complete the Ballotpedia Candidate Survey this cycle.

Our survey looks to find out what motivates candidates on both a political and personal level. It doesn’t simply contain issue questions. It’s designed to elicit responses from candidates on what they care about, what they stand for, and what they hope to achieve. With it, we aim to enlighten voters on the candidates’ political philosophy and provide candidates with the chance to show who they really are.

We’re looking forward to hearing from more 2020 presidential candidates. You can encourage them to participate! Send the candidate(s) you want to know more about a link to our Candidate Connection survey today.

The 5 vulnerable trifectas


Voters in two states to elect state supreme court justices in November 

In November, voters in two states—Kentucky and Louisiana—will fill vacancies on their state supreme courts, choosing new justices in special elections. In a third—Wisconsin—voters elected appeals court justice Brian Hagedorn to a seat on that state’s Supreme Court in April. All told, there are 344 state supreme court justices nationwide. Here’s a quick rundown of the elections in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Kentucky

Voters in Kentucky will select a state supreme court justice Nov. 5 to replace Bill Cunningham, who retired Jan. 31. The winner will serve the remainder of Cunningham’s term, which expires in January 2023. A full term on the court is eight years. 

Under Kentucky law, if there is a midterm vacancy on the state supreme court, the governor appoints a successor from a list of three names provided by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission. The justice Gov. Matt Bevin (R) appointed to the court in March to serve until the election—David Buckingham—is not running for the seat. 

Of the seven current members of the Kentucky Supreme Court, three judges were appointed by a Republican governor, one judge was appointed by a Democratic governor, and three judges were initially selected in nonpartisan elections. 

Louisiana

Voters in Louisiana will select a state supreme court justice to replace Greg Guidry, who was confirmed to a federal judgeship in June. Guidry won a second, 10-year term on the Louisiana court in 2018. The winner of this election will serve the remainder of his term, which expires in 2029.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is made up of seven justices who are elected in partisan elections from seven districts. In the event of a vacancy, the remaining justices appoint a temporary replacement until the special election. The supreme court justices appointed state appeals court judge Susan Chehardy to replace Guidry in July.

Four Republicans ran for this seat in the Oct. 12 primary election. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, the top two finishers—appeals court judges William Crain and Hans Liljeberg—will meet in the Nov. 16 general election. The Louisiana Supreme Court currently has five Republican and two Democratic judges.

Most states do not hold elections in odd-numbered years. Pennsylvania has judicial elections exclusively in odd-numbered years and Wisconsin elects judges every year. Louisiana and Washington may have judicial elections in both even- and odd-numbered years. None of the state supreme court justices in Pennsylvania or Washington are up for election in 2019.

What's the tea?

We’re continuing to survey Brew readers on whether they’ve ever participated or done certain things related to politics and policy—such as attending or speaking at governmental meetings or signing candidate or initiative petitions. We appreciate all your responses!

I don’t want to forget about the judicial branch, so here’s this week’s question: Have you ever served on a jury? I’ve never been picked for a jury. I was called for jury duty as recently as two months ago, but there weren’t any trials starting that week so I wasn’t chosen.

If you were like me and selected for jury duty, but didn’t actually serve on one, I would consider that a ‘no.’ If you were selected to a jury—even if the case was settled before you were asked to reach a verdict— let’s call that a ‘yes.’

Have you ever served on a jury?


 



Sanders holds first rally in three weeks Saturday

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 18, 2019: Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. On Saturday, Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks in Queens, New York. 
 

     Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Lis Smith

Lis Smith has worked in campaign communications for over a decade, including in the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Smith co-founded 50 State Communications in June 2016. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government and anthropology in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Martin O’Malley presidential campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2013 Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign (New York, N.Y.), chief spokeswoman
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, director of rapid response
  • 2010 Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gubernatorial campaign, communications director
  • 2009 Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2009 Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2008 Dan Seals (D-Ill.) U.S. House campaign, communications director
  • 2007 Bruce Lunsford (D-Ky.) gubernatorial campaign, traveling press secretary
  • 2006 Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2013-2015: O’PAC (Martin O’Malley political action committee), senior communications advisor
  • 2013-2015: Democratic Governors Association, senior communications advisor
  • 2011-2012: Democratic Governors Association, communications director

What he/she says about candidate:

What she says about Buttigieg: “I saw in him something that I’ve never, ever seen in someone, you know, where you sort of have that moment, this magic, and clearly he’s taken off.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Trump, throughout the election and the first three years of his presidency, has run a base strategy. Many presidents wouldn’t bother to come to Texas, but he spends a lot of time in Florida, Alabama, Texas and other Southern states revving up the base to make sure that his support does not dissipate. If he doesn’t hold his base, he is cooked.”

– Cal Jillson, Southern Methodist University political scientist

Democrats

  • Michael BennetJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer will speak at the Linn County Democratic Hall of Fame Banquet in Iowa Sunday.
  • Joe Biden spoke Thursday about the Violence Against Women Act and Trump administration at the Democratic National Committee’s 2019 Women’s Leadership Forum Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Cory Booker will campaign Sunday at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
  • In a CNN interview Thursday, Steve Bullock said he supported an impeachment inquiry that goes to the Senate.
  • Pete Buttigieg will speak at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Friday.
  • Julián Castro will make his tenth campaign trip to Nevada over the weekend, including an event with the Las Vegas chapter of the National Organization for Women.
  • Klobuchar will campaign across Iowa Friday through Sunday as part of her “All of America Bus Tour.”
  • The Los Angeles Times profiled Wayne Messam’s campaign Thursday. Messam said of his candidacy, “I’m still technically in the race.”
  • Beto O’Rourke will campaign in Alabama Friday and Saturday, including speaking at the Alabama Democratic Conference in Birmingham. More than 5,000 people attended O’Rourke’s rally in Grand Prairie, Texas, Thursday.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks Saturday in Queens, New York. The Sanders campaign is also launching a $1.3 million television ad buy in Iowa.
  • Joe Sestak is on the sixth day of his walk across New Hampshire with a stop in Raymond.
  • Steyer will campaign in Iowa Sunday and Monday, including a stop at the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Elizabeth Warren hired Elizabeth Henderson as Tennessee state director Thursday, making Warren the first candidate to have a state director in Tennessee. 
  • Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities. Click here to read her responses.
  • Andrew Yang spoke about foreign policy in an interview on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Republicans

  • Mark Sanford will campaign Friday in Illinois and Iowa as part of his “Kids, We’re Bankrupt and We Didn’t Even Know It” Tour.
  • Roughly 20,000 people attended Donald Trump’s Thursday night rally in Dallas, where he criticized the Democratic presidential candidates and spoke about the ceasefire in Turkey.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 18, 2015

Donald Trump discussed the September 11 terrorist attacks and George W. Bush, social media, the U.S. Department of Education, and foreign policy in an interview on Fox News Sunday.



Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 12-18, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Number

Notable Quotes of the Week

“Omission from November’s debate could effectively choke off a candidate’s visibility and fundraising and make it impossible for them to mount a realistic challenge. Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Klobuchar and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas are all on the cut line. … There’s no better way for those candidates to engineer the big moments they need than to tangle with one of the front-runners.”

– Stephen Collinson, CNN

“Premeditated attack strategies have a mostly losing record so far. The most successful of them—Kamala Harris’ biographical repudiation of Biden’s recording on busing—lent Harris only a short-lived boost as her moment of moral righteousness soon faded to equivocation.
John Delaney earned plenty of screen time in the second debate acting as the moderate counterweight to Warren, but moderate voters already had their preferred counterweight in Biden, and they also like Elizabeth Warren more than they like John Delaney. Tulsi Gabbard, similarly, took a hatchet to Harris in the second debate, a moment that may have hurt Harris but hardly helped Gabbard. And in the third debate, Julián Castro famously ‘insinuated’ that Joe Biden was losing his mind and was rewarded with a sharp collapse in his net favorability.”

– Jim NewellSlate

“The knives finally came out for Elizabeth Warren, but she parried them across all three hours of the debate. Warren demonstrated she can handle the pressure that comes with being the front-runner, even if it wasn’t always comfortable or particularly easy. And she did take some hits: from Buttigieg on Medicare for All, Andrew Yang on workforce automation and Klobuchar on, well, nearly everything.”

– Adam CancrynPolitico

Week in Review

Williamson first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Marianne Williamson is the first 2020 presidential candidate to complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about her personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.

Williamson describes the effect A Course in Miracles had on her life and why she thinks the United States needs “a season of moral repair.” She also discusses reparations, money in politics, and the quality Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have in common. 

Here are some of Williamson’s responses:

What legacy would you like to leave?

“A legacy of love that transforms politics and government to benefit We the People.”

What should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution say?

“Overturn Citizens United. Limit money in politics.”

What do you support that the majority of your party opposes?

“I am the first presidential candidate to advocate for reparations, and the only one with a plan for how to do it. 

In many ways, America has continued the process of racial reconciliation begun in the 1960’s. Yet in other ways, we have actually slipped backward. Yes, there are no more colored bathrooms and separate drinking fountains. But we now have mass incarceration; racial disparity in criminal sentencing; lost voting rights; outright voter suppression; and police brutality often focused on black populations.

Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery. A debt unpaid is still a debt unpaid, even if it’s 150 years later. The legacy of that injustice lives on, with racist policies infused into our systems even to this day. From employment and housing discrimination, to equal access to quality education in underserved communities, to police brutality/prejudice, to lack of fair lending practices, to lack of access to quality healthcare, to insecure voting rights, America has not yet completed the task of healing our racial divide.

For that reason, I propose a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years. An esteemed council of African-American leaders would determine the educational and economic projects to which the money would be given.”

Largest presidential primary debate in U.S. history

Twelve Democratic presidential candidates debated Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Gabbard and Steyer were the only candidates in this group who did not participate in the third Democratic debate in Texas on Sept. 12. With 12 candidates on stage, it was the largest single presidential primary debate. Republicans held the previous record with 11 candidates on stage during the September 2015 debate.

The candidates discussed impeachment, healthcare, tax policy, foreign policy, gun violence, antitrust laws, fitness, abortion, and the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Warren had the most speaking time at 23 minutes. Tom Steyer spoke the least at 7.2 minutes.

For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.

In the 24 hours following the debate, the Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar campaigns each reported they raised more than $1 million.

Major rallies this week

Twenty thousand people attended Donald Trump’s Thursday night rally in Dallas at the American Airlines Center. Trump spoke for 87 minutes about the Democratic presidential field, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the ceasefire in Turkey.

More than 5,000 people attended Beto O’Rourke’s counter-rally Thursday in Grand Prairie, Texas. He discussed Trump, immigration, healthcare, gun policy, and veterans issues.

Bernie Sanders will hold his first campaign rally in three weeks Saturday in Queens, New York. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to formally endorse him at the event.

Steyer pours $26 million into television ads

Tom Steyer has spent more than $26 million on 53,000 television ads since beginning his campaign in July, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. That is more than six times as many ads as the rest of the Democratic field combined aired. Twenty thousand of Steyer’s ads aired in Iowa.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Lis Smith has worked in campaign communications for over a decade, including in the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Smith co-founded 50 State Communications in June 2016. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government and anthropology in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Martin O’Malley presidential campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2013 Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign (New York, N.Y.), chief spokeswoman
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, director of rapid response
  • 2010 Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gubernatorial campaign, communications director
  • 2009 Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2009 Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2008 Dan Seals (D-Ill.) U.S. House campaign, communications director
  • 2007 Bruce Lunsford (D-Ky.) gubernatorial campaign, traveling press secretary
  • 2006 Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2013-2015: O’PAC (Martin O’Malley political action committee), senior communications advisor
  • 2013-2015: Democratic Governors Association, senior communications advisor
  • 2011-2012: Democratic Governors Association, communications director

What she says about Buttigieg: “I saw in him something that I’ve never, ever seen in someone, you know, where you sort of have that moment, this magic, and clearly he’s taken off.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 15-18, 2015

  • October 15, 2015: Ben Carson and Donald Trump submitted a joint letter to CNBC saying neither would agree to attend the month’s debate if opening and closing statements were not permitted and the event ran longer than 120 minutes. 
  • October 16, 2015: Hillary Clinton outraised and outspent all other 2016 presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. She raised more than $29 million and spent more than $25 million. 
  • October 17, 2015: Jeb Bush released a digital ad questioning Donald Trump’s ability to be commander-in-chief. 
  • October 18, 2015: Donald Trump discussed the September 11 terrorist attacks and George W. Bush, social media, the U.S. Department of Education, and foreign policy in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

Trivia

Which election featured the first presidential primary debate?



Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, October 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?
  2. Local Roundup
  3. Federal district courts block implementation of public charge rule

Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot measure readability scores—How easy is it to understand what’s on your ballot?

I installed some new software the other day, and for once, I tried to understand the end-user license agreement that I had to approve before it would complete the installation. Some of it made sense, but there were other sections where I was pretty lost. That’s probably the case with any legal document.

I thought that some voters might feel the same way when faced with ballot measures when going to vote. It’s hard to be an informed citizen when you have trouble understanding what you’re reading. I was excited when our Ballot Measures editor told me it was time to publish our readability index.  

For the third year in a row, we’ve taken ballot measure language and run it through industry-standard assessment tools to assign a readability rating. We ran the 2019 ballot titles and summaries for all 36 statewide ballot measures through formulas designed to measure the readability of text. 

Overall, the average estimated number of years of U.S. education required to understand the text of ballot measure titles decreased compared to the last two years. We found that in 2019, 15 years of formal U.S. education is needed to understand ballot measure titles. That number was between 19 and 20 in 2018 and 20 in 2017.

Our ballot measures team used two formulas, the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), to compute scores for the titles and summaries of ballot measures. The FKGL formula produces a score equivalent to the estimated number of years of U.S. education required to understand a text. The FRE formula produces a score between a negative number and 100, with the highest score (100) representing a 5th-grade equivalent reading level and scores at or below zero representing college graduate-equivalent reading level. Therefore, the higher the score, the easier the text is to read. Measurements used in calculating readability scores include the number of syllables, words, and sentences in a text. Other factors, such as the complexity of an idea in a text, are not reflected in readability scores. 

Here are some highlights from Ballotpedia’s 2019 ballot language readability report: 

  • The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for the ballot titles of all 2019 ballot measures is 15 years of formal U.S. education. Scores ranged from 6 to 27 years. 

  • The average Flesch Reading Ease score for the 2019 ballot measure titles is 26. The scores ranged from -22 to 69.

  • The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for the ballot summaries or explanations of all the 2019 statewide ballot measures that were given a summary or explanation is 15 years of formal U.S. education. The average Flesch Reading Ease score for ballot measure summaries is 25.

  • The states with the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores for ballot titles or questions are Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maine with 9, 10, and 17, respectively. This means that they require less formal education to understand the meaning of the titles.

  • The states with the highest average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores for ballot titles or questions are Colorado, Kansas, and Texas with 27, 23, and 20. The titles from these states require greater levels of formal education to understand the meaning of the titles.

  • Average ballot title grades were lowest for language written by the Washington Attorney General (9) and initiative petitioners (10). Average ballot title grades were highest for language written by state legislatures (20).

How does this compare to prior years?

  • In 2017, there were 27 statewide measures in nine states. The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for ballot measure titles was 20. Scores ranged from seven to 42.

  • In 2018, there were 167 statewide measures in 38 states. The average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for ballot measure titles was between 19 and 20. Scores ranged from eight to 42.

Readability

Ballotpedia also measures the word length of ballot titles across states. The states with the longest ballot titles or questions on average are Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado; all of these except New Jersey did not feature additional ballot summaries or explanations. The states with the shortest ballot titles or questions on average are Texas, Maine, Louisiana, and Washington.


Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials and local ballot measures.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

Atlanta

Aretta Baldon defeated David Huntley—58% to 42%—in a special runoff election October 15 for a seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Baldon and Huntley had advanced as the top two finishers from a nine-candidate field in the general election September 17, with Baldon finishing first with 31% of the vote and Huntley second with 25%.

The seat became vacant after Byron Amos—who had served on the board since 2011—resigned in January 2019 to run for a seat on the Atlanta City Council. With only eight current board members, the school board has had at least one vote—a plan to rate district schools—end up in a 4-4 tie. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired term, which ends in 2021. 

Hickory, North Carolina

A spot in the general election for a seat on the Hickory City Council was determined by a coin toss after two candidates received the same number of votes for second place in the nonpartisan primary election October 9. Incumbent Danny Seaver finished first in the primary with 28 votes and Nathan Hefner and Daria Jackson both received 16 votes each. 

Under North Carolina law, tied elections with fewer than 5,000 votes cast are decided by random selection. In this instance, a coin toss was used to decide second place. Jackson called heads and the coin turned up tails, meaning Hefner advanced to the November 5 general election.

During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This includes covering elections in the state for 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts.


Federal district courts block implementation of public charge rule 

Three federal district court judges in New York, California, and Washington issued temporary injunctions on October 11 blocking a rule announced by the Trump administration that changes how the federal government screens immigrants who might become dependent on government services. A fourth federal judge in Chicago issued a similar injunction on October 14. The rule was set to take effect October 15. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the final version of the rule—known as the public charge rule—on August 12. It would change how the federal government screens immigrants who might become dependent on government services. Agencies may deny immigrants a visa or a green card under the rule if they have used food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies, or other public benefits.

The rule amends a guidance document issued in 1999 that stipulated that only public cash assistance or long-term institutionalization at government expense qualified as evidence that an immigrant was at risk of being a public charge and could be denied legal status. The new rule expands the factors agencies may consider when deciding those cases. 

Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, New York City, the government of Cook County, Illinois, and immigrant aid organizations formed coalitions that filed four separate lawsuits challenging the implementation of the rule.

The four judges that issued the injunctions ruled that the rule was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, failed to consider potential costs to state and local governments, and constituted an unsupported congressional delegation of authority to DHS, among other claims. All four justices were appointed by Democratic presidents—two by President Bill Clinton and two by President Barack Obama.

The White House and USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued separate statements on October 11 expressing disappointment with the decisions. “An objective judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law,” Cuccinelli stated. 

The Trump administration can appeal the district court rulings to the federal appellate courts. Administration officials had yet to announce an appeal as of October 16.

 



Trump rallies in Dallas Thursday, O’Rourke holds counter-rally in Grand Prairie

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 17, 2019: Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke hold rallies in Texas Thursday. Tom Steyer spent more than $26 million on TV ads since entering the race. blank    blankblank   


 Presidential poll highlights - Quinnipiac University (October 11-13, 2019)
Presidential poll highlights - Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University (October 9-13, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Historically, endorsements have been a good predictor of presidential primary outcomes, often rivaling early polls for how well they anticipate how the vote will eventually turn out. The theory behind the importance of endorsements, as perhaps best articulated in the book ‘The Party Decides,’ has come under attack in recent years, mostly because Donald Trump’s nomination in 2016 despite a lack of support from Republican endorsers was a poor data point for the theory (to put it kindly). In addition, some Democrats who received a number of endorsements earlier this year, such as Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, have not yet gained much traction in the polls. Nonetheless, the theory has a fairly good long-term track record. Incidentally, the theory is not necessarily that the endorsements directly influence voters — for instance, that a voter says to herself ‘Senator Such-and-Such is endorsing Governor So-and-So; guess I’m going to vote for So-and-So!.’ (Although, an endorser with as high a profile as Ocasio-Cortez could be an exception.) Rather, it’s that endorsements are a proxy for support from ‘party elites,’ and that party elites’ preferences tend to be a leading indicator of voter preferences.”

– Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet criticized the cost of the Medicare for All plans proposed by Sanders and Warren. “Democrats need to win back the nine million Obama-Trump voters to take the White House and Senate and keep the House. Nominating a candidate who supports Medicare for All is not a recipe to do that,” Bennet tweeted.

  • Joe Biden discussed the Turkish conflict in Syria and criticized Trump’s foreign policy during a speech in Iowa Wednesday.

  • Cory Booker introduced the Break the Cycle of Violence Act Wednesday, which would spend $90 million over 10 years in urban areas on focused deterrence and other intervention programs.

  • Booker will endorse Marie Newman over incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinksi Thursday in Chicago.

  • The Steve Bullock campaign organized a telephone news conference with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, former Story County Democrats Chairwoman Jan Bauer, and former Rep. Dave Nagle Tuesday on Bullock’s campaign in Iowa.

  • Pete Buttigieg raised more than $1 million in the 24 hours after the debate and passed 600,000 individual donors.

  • Julián Castro is attending a roundtable discussion on racial profiling in Des Moines and a forum in Davenport Friday.

  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed media coverage of her campaign in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Wednesday.

  • Amy Klobuchar raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours following the October debate.

  • Beto O’Rourke is holding a counter-rally in Grand Prairie, Texas, while Trump is in Dallas Thursday night.

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar endorsed Bernie Sanders Wednesday.

  • Joe Sestak is on his fifth day of walking across New Hampshire, traveling from Mont Vernon to Manchester.

  • Tom Steyer has spent more than $26 million on television ads since beginning his campaign in July, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. That is more than six times as many ads as the rest of the Democratic field combined aired. Twenty thousand of Steyer’s 53,000 ads aired in Iowa.

  • Elizabeth Warren will attend a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC Thursday.

  • Marianne Williamson wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing the content of the October debate and stating she would not drop out of the race. Williamson also discussed her campaign in an interview on Fox News Channel.

  • Andrew Yang will host an unmoderated Q&A online for 10 hours Friday on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube.

Republicans

Flashback: October 17, 2015

Jeb Bush released a digital ad questioning Donald Trump’s ability to be commander-in-chief. 



Vaping, ride-share taxes, minimum wage, and housing among 45 local measures on California ballots Nov. 5

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, Oct. 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Vaping, ride-share taxes, minimum wage, and housing among 45 local measures on California ballots Nov. 5
  2. Efforts to recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) fall short of ballot qualification
  3. SCOTUS to hear three cases Wednesday

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Vaping, ride-share taxes, minimum wage, and housing among 45 local measures on California ballots Nov. 5

I always enjoy reading our reports on local ballot measures because they offer insight into how people are engaging with the government closest to home. Today we’re bringing you a summary of the local ballot measures California voters will see this November. 

Voters in 13 California counties will decide on 45 local ballot measures. In the last three odd-numbered election years in the state, an average of 64 local measures appeared on November ballots: 62 in 2017, 60 in 2015, and 70 in 2013.

Local measuresHere’s a breakdown of the various topics on local ballots:

  • 14 parcel (real estate) tax measures

  • nine sales tax measures

  • four local hotel tax measures

  • four measures that would make city clerks, city treasurers, or both, appointed instead of elected

  • two marijuana tax measures

  • two local spending limit increases

  • two measures concerning development and land use

  • two local business taxes, including a tax on ride-share companies in San Francisco

  • two measures in San Francisco concerning housing costs (bonds and zoning/development regulations)

  • one campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements measure in San Francisco

  • one vaping authorization and regulation measure in San Francisco

  • one charter amendment in San Francisco concerning the city’s disability and aging services commission

  • one measure to increase the minimum wage for hospitality workers in Rancho Palos Verdes

See something we missed? If you know of a local measure on the Nov. 5 ballot in California not included in the above list, please email us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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Efforts to recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) fall short of ballot qualification

Two recall campaigns did not collect enough signatures to trigger a recall election that, if successful, would have removed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) from office. Supporters of each recall effort had until Oct. 14 to turn in 280,050 signatures.

  • The first recall petition, which was supported by the Oregon Republican Party, criticized Brown because she supported legislation during the 2019 legislative session related to a cap-and-trade program and a bill that grants driver’s licenses to immigrants residing in the country without legal permission.

  • The second recall petition, which was headed by Oregon First! PAC and the Flush Down Kate Brown group, criticized Brown over raising taxes, the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) program, Oregon’s sanctuary state status, and for the same driver’s license bill as the other recall petition.

These recall efforts were two of the six gubernatorial recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in 2019. Four others are currently underway in Alaska, California, Colorado, and New Jersey. From 2003 to 2018, Ballotpedia tracked 17 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two made the ballot and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003; Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won the election to replace him. In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) was the only other governor removed from office through a recall election. That happened in 1921.

Oregon became a Democratic trifecta in 2013. Democrats control the state House 38-22 and the state Senate 18-12. Brown was appointed governor in 2015, and she won a special election in 2016 with 50.7% of the vote. Brown was re-elected in 2018 with 50.1% of the vote. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

SCOTUS to hear three cases Wednesday

As we’ve mentioned in previous editions, the Supreme Court is back in session and in its second week of hearing oral arguments. Today, Oct. 16, the court will hear arguments in three cases:

Need to stay on top of the whirlwind world of the federal judiciary of the United States? You can read about this term’s cases and more by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, Bold Justice. 

And in case you’re wondering: Why Bold JusticeThe story behind the name is a fun, quick read.

 



Dems spar over healthcare costs and gun policy in fourth debate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 16, 2019: Twelve Democratic presidential candidates debated Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to formally endorse Bernie Sanders on Saturday. blank    blankblank   


 Presidential Facebook ads, 2019-2020 (October 7-13, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“The knives finally came out for Elizabeth Warren, but she parried them across all three hours of the debate. Warren demonstrated she can handle the pressure that comes with being the front-runner, even if it wasn’t always comfortable or particularly easy. And she did take some hits: from Buttigieg on Medicare for All, Andrew Yang on workforce automation and Klobuchar on, well, nearly everything.”

– Adam Cancryn, Politico

Debate Night

Twelve Democratic presidential candidates debated Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

The candidates discussed impeachment, healthcare, tax policy, foreign policy, gun violence, antitrust laws, fitness, abortion, and the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Warren had the most speaking time at 23 minutes. Tom Steyer spoke the least at 7.2 minutes.

For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.


Democrats

  • Michael Bennet will campaign in New Hampshire Wednesday, marking his ninth visit to the state.

  • Joe Biden is holding a community event Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.

  • Julián Castro will attend a community block party Thursday hosted by Urban Dreams, Creative visions, and NAACP Des Moines in Iowa.

  • Steve Bullock said in a statement about the debate, “Six debates in and the Democratic Party is still failing to speak to the challenges middle class families face every day. When 40% of Americans wouldn’t have $400 to spare in the event of an emergency, we need to be talking about serious solutions that will make people’s lives better in the here and now — not a decade down the line, and not after a hypothetical political revolution.”

  • Pete Buttigieg is speaking Wednesday at Iowa State University’s campus in Ames.

  • John Delaney will campaign in an RV across Iowa Wednesday through Friday.

  • Kamala Harris will make her third trip to Iowa this month with stops in Dubuque, Tipton, Davenport, and Clinton Wednesday through Friday.

  • Amy Klobuchar will visit all 10 counties in New Hampshire Wednesday and Thursday as part of her “For All of America” tour.

  • Wayne Messam raised $5 in the third quarter of 2019, according to his FEC filing. His campaign Tuesday said there was a computer glitch but did not provide another fundraising figure.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to formally endorse Bernie Sanders on Saturday.

  • Joe Sestak is on his fourth day of walking across New Hampshire. He will make stops in Londonderry, Peterborough, and Mont Vernon.

  • Marianne Williamson held an event Tuesday night in Encinitas, California

Republicans

  • Mark Sanford will campaign in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh Wednesday as part of his “Kids, We’re Bankrupt and We Didn’t Even Know It” Tour.

  • The Donald Trump campaign, authorized joint fundraising committees, and Republican National Committee have a cumulative $158 million in cash on hand after the third quarter of 2019.

  • Joe Walsh raised roughly $130,000 in the third quarter of 2019, not including a $100,000 loan the candidate made to his own campaign.

Flashback: October 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton outraised and outspent all other 2016 presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. She raised more than $29 million and spent more than $25 million. 

 



12 Dems take stage tonight in largest presidential primary debate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

October 15, 2019: Twelve Democratic presidential candidates will meet on stage Tuesday in the fourth primary debate of the 2020 election cycle. Hawaii and Kansas will use ranked-choice voting in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. blank    blankblank   


 

Which election featured the first presidential primary debate?

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Omission from November’s debate could effectively choke off a candidate’s visibility and fundraising and make it impossible for them to mount a realistic challenge. Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Klobuchar and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas are all on the cut line. … There’s no better way for those candidates to engineer the big moments they need than to tangle with one of the front-runners.”

– Stephen Collinson, CNN

“Premeditated attack strategies have a mostly losing record so far. The most successful of them—Kamala Harris’ biographical repudiation of Biden’s recording on busing—lent Harris only a short-lived boost as her moment of moral righteousness soon faded to equivocation.
John Delaney earned plenty of screen time in the second debate acting as the moderate counterweight to Warren, but moderate voters already had their preferred counterweight in Biden, and they also like Elizabeth Warren more than they like John Delaney. Tulsi Gabbard, similarly, took a hatchet to Harris in the second debate, a moment that may have hurt Harris but hardly helped Gabbard. And in the third debate, Julián Castro famously ‘insinuated’ that Joe Biden was losing his mind and was rewarded with a sharp collapse in his net favorability.”

– Jim NewellSlate

Democrats

  • The Democratic National Committee approved proposals from the state parties in Hawaii and Kansas to use ranked-choice voting in the 2020 presidential primary.

  • Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang will participate in the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday in Westerville, Ohio. Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, and Marc Lacey will moderate the event.

  • Michael BennetBidenSteve BullockButtigiegHarris, and Sanders participated in the second UFCW presidential candidate labor forum in Iowa Sunday.

  • BennetBullockJohn DelaneyKlobucharO’RourkeJoe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson answered questions on retirement issues in a survey produced by Yahoo Finance and the Funding Our Future Campaign.

  • ButtigiegKlobucharTim RyanSteyer, and Yang attended the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual state dinner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center Sunday.

  • In an ethics plan released Monday, Biden proposed establishing a constitutional amendment to eliminate private dollar funding of federal campaigns, strengthening whistleblower laws, and establishing a commission on federal ethics.

  • Buttigieg released a digital ad in Iowa Tuesday critical of Medicare for All. It features political analysts discussing the healthcare proposals of Sanders and Warren.

  • Sanders proposed requiring corporations with at least $100 million in revenue and all publicly traded companies increase employee ownership stakes by providing 2 percent of stocks to their workers until at least 20 percent of the company is employee-owned. His corporate accountability plan released Monday also called for having workers directly elect 45 percent of the board of directors.

  • Sestak began airing his first ad in New Hampshire Sunday, which focuses on his military and congressional career.

Republicans

  • Mark Sanford discussed foreign policy and the Trump administration’s policy on Syria and Turkey in a CNN interview Sunday.

  • Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and campaign manager Brad Parscale will host a “Keep America Great” panel Tuesday in San Antonio, preceding Donald Trump’s Thursday rally in Dallas.

  • Joe Walsh is campaigning Tuesday in Davenport, Iowa.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

Flashback: October 15, 2015

Ben Carson and Donald Trump submitted a joint letter to CNBC saying neither would agree to attend the month’s debate if opening and closing statements were not permitted and the event ran longer than 120 minutes. 

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Twelve Democratic presidential candidates to debate in Ohio

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, October 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Twelve Democratic presidential candidates to debate in Ohio
  2. Louisiana Republicans maintain state legislative control after Saturday’s primary
  3. 62% of Brew readers have attended a borough, town, or city council meeting

Twelve Democratic presidential candidates to debate in Ohio

The fourth Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, which is primarily located in Franklin County. Ohio has nine Pivot Counties, which are counties that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012. Franklin County is one of eight counties that voted for the Democratic nominee in each of the last three presidential elections. Sixty-five counties in Ohio voted for the Republican nominee in the last three presidential races.  

The following 12 candidates will participate: 

    •    Joe Biden
    •    Cory Booker
    •    Pete Buttigieg
    •    Julián Castro
    •    Tulsi Gabbard
    •    Kamala Harris
    •    Amy Klobuchar
    •    Beto O’Rourke
    •    Bernie Sanders
    •    Tom Steyer
    •    Elizabeth Warren
    •    Andrew Yang

Here are five facts about tonight’s debate: 

  • Gabbard and Steyer are the only candidates who did not also participate in the third Democratic debate in Houston on Sept. 12.

  • This debate will feature the most candidates on stage of any single presidential primary debate. The Republican Party held the previous record when 11 candidates debated at one time on September 16, 2015.

  • CNN and The New York Times are hosting the event. Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, and Marc Lacey are the moderators.

  • Candidates who did not qualify for this debate can still qualify for the next one, which has different polling and fundraising criteria. The Democratic National Committee announced this week that the fifth primary debate will take place in Georgia on November 20.

  • The previous Democratic debate was held on September 12 in Houston and featured 10 candidates. Since then, one Democratic candidate—Bill de Blasio—has withdrawn from the race.

In other presidential debate news, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced last week the schedule of next year’s presidential and vice presidential debates ahead of the general election. 

Three 2020 presidential debates have been scheduled: 

  • Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, 

  • Oct. 15 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and 

  • Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

A vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7, 2020, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. 

The CPD also said in a press release that it will invite candidates to participate in these debates who meet three eligibility requirements. They must (1) be constitutionally eligible to run for president, (2) provide evidence of ballot access in enough states to win an Electoral College majority, and (3) demonstrate 15 percent support in national polling.


Louisiana Republicans maintain state legislative control after Saturday’s primary 

Our Brew story Monday covered the outcome of Saturday’s gubernatorial primary in Louisiana. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced to the November 16 general election as the top two finishers out of six candidates. 

One other statewide executive office will be decided in the general election as none of the four candidates received a majority of the vote. Incumbent Kyle Ardoin (R) finished first in the secretary of state primary with 41% and will face Gwen Collins-Greenup (D), who finished second with 34%. Ardoin and two other Republicans received a combined 66% of the vote; Collins-Greenup was the only Democrat in the race. Ardoin defeated Collins-Greenup in a 2018 special election—59% to 41%—after Ardoin assumed office in May 2018 following the resignation of Tom Schedler (R). Ardoin is one of 25 Republican secretaries of state nationwide.

All 39 Louisiana’s state Senate seats were up for election. Although four seats advanced to a general election, partisan control of each is already determined in those districts—three had a pair of Republicans advance while the fourth had a pair of Democrats. Republicans will have a 27-12 majority—a net gain of two seats—which gives them one seat more than the 26-seat threshold required to override gubernatorial vetoes.

Here are Saturday’s other key results:

  • Six statewide executive offices, including the lieutenant governorship and attorney general’s office, were won outright by Republican incumbents.  

  • Voters decided all eight seats on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education—currently under a 6-2 Republican majority. Seven races were decided with none resulting in a change in party control. The results of the District 6 seat—an open seat previously held by Kathy Edmonston (R)—is considered too close to call. 

  • In Louisiana’s state House elections, Republicans are assured of winning at least 63 seats, Democrats 33 seats, and one was won by an independent. This includes races that were decided in the primary as well as those where both of the top two finishers are from the same party. Control of eight seats will be determined in the November 16 general election. A veto-proof majority in the state House requires 70 seats. In Louisiana, congressional and state legislative districts are drawn by the state legislature during redistricting.

  • Since Republicans have maintained control of both houses of the state legislature, trifecta control of state government will be at stake in the gubernatorial election. The state will maintain divided government if Edwards wins re-election. If Rispone wins, Louisiana will become a Republican trifecta.

  • Louisiana voters approved two constitutional amendments and rejected two, according to unofficial election night results. 

62% of Brew readers have attended a borough, town, or city council meeting

Over the last few weeks, our What’s the Tea? questions have been part of a series asking Brew readers whether they’ve ever participated or done certain things related to politics and policy, such as attending or speaking at governmental meetings or signing candidate or initiative petitions. 

Remember that our weekly survey question appears in the Brew every Friday, and we don’t tabulate responses until Monday afternoon. So if you don’t get a chance to answer the survey until the weekend, go ahead and respond then – it’s not too late to hear from you! 

Survey results

 

 



Gov. Edwards (D), Rispone (R) advance to general election in Louisiana

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, October 14, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gov. Edwards (D), Rispone (R) advance to general election in Louisiana
  2. California governor vetoes pay-per-signature ban 
  3. Washington State Supreme Court chief justice announces retirement

Gov. Edwards (D), Rispone (R) advance to general election in Louisiana

Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from Louisiana’s primary election Saturday as the top two finishers out of six candidates. Edwards received 46% of the vote and Rispone received 27%. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 24% of the vote. The general election will be held November 16. 

Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates in any race appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the primary vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a general election.

Edwards campaigned on what he considers the accomplishments of his administration. Rispone emphasized his background as a businessman, referring to himself as a conservative outsider and job creator.  

President Donald Trump (R) and the Louisiana Republican Party endorsed both Rispone and Abraham. Trump held a campaign rally with both candidates in the state Friday. Several polls leading up to the primary showed either Rispone and Abraham tied within the margin of error for second place or Rispone with a small advantage.

Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. He defeated U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) in the general election in 2015 with 56% of the vote. Trump won the state—58% to 38%—in 2016. Louisiana’s previous governor—Bobby Jindal (R)—received 65.8% of the vote in the primary to win re-election in 2011.

According to unofficial vote totals, 1,343,478 total votes were cast in Saturday’s primary. This was  230,002 more than the 1,113,476 votes cast in the 2015 primary. The distribution of 2019 primary votes by party—based on unofficial vote totals—was 51.8% for the three Republican candidates, 47.4% for the two Democrats, and 0.8% for one independent candidate.

Of the five gubernatorial elections in Louisiana between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two—in 2003 and 2015—proceeded to general elections. 

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California governor vetoes pay-per-signature ban 

Twenty-six states allow citizen-initiated ballot measures, and supporters must gather a specific number of signatures to get a measure on the ballot. In California, for example, initiative supporters will need to collect 623,212 signatures—or 5% of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election—to place an initiated state statute or veto referendum on the ballot in 2020 and 2022.  

Nineteen of the 26 states with statewide initiatives or referendums allow ballot measure campaigns to pay signature gatherers based on the number of signatures collected, a practice known as pay-per-signature. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed a bill October 7 that would have banned pay-per-signature for citizen initiatives in the state. Newsom’s two immediate predecessors—Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Jerry Brown (D)—vetoed similar bills after the state legislature passed laws prohibiting pay-per-signature in 2011 and 2018. California is one of 14 Democratic trifectas, with Democrats controlling the legislature and the governor’s office. 

The 2019 bill—Assembly Bill 1451—would have:

  • required at least 10 percent of the required signatures for an initiative or referendum petition to be collected by volunteer (unpaid) circulators; 

  • changed the timeline for local elections officials to verify signatures for initiative and referendum petitions; 

  • required petitions to include information about whether the circulator is paid or volunteer; and 

  • made other changes regarding signature verification, circulators, and petition rules. 

Supporters of pay-per-signature say it is a cost-effective method for collecting signatures, making the process more accessible to efforts without significant funding. Opponents of pay-per-signature say the process encourages signature gatherers to forge signatures or illegally misinform voters.  

Pay-per-signature bans exist in seven states. The most recent states to ban paying circulators on a per-signature basis were Florida in 2019 and Arizona in 2017. The map below shows the current status of pay-per-signature nationwide:  

Status of pay per signature

Washington State Supreme Court chief justice announces retirement

There have been 19 supreme court vacancies in 2019 where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Earlier this month, we learned of the first such vacancy which will occur in 2020. 

Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst announced on October 3 that she would retire for health reasons on January 5, 2020. Fairhurst was first elected to the Washington Supreme Court in 2002 and re-elected in 2008 and 2014. She became the chief justice in 2016. 

Vacancies on the Washington State Supreme Court are filled by gubernatorial appointment. Whomever Gov. Jay Inslee (D) appoints will serve until Fairhurst’s term was due to expire—in January 2021. This will be Inslee’s second nominee to the nine-member court. 

Washington Supreme Court justices are regularly determined by nonpartisan elections and serve six-year terms. Currently, six judges on the court were elected and three were appointed by Democratic governors. 

Each state has its own supreme court, which serves as the court of last resort. Two states—Oklahoma and Texas—actually have two different state supreme courts, one for civil appeals and one for criminal appeals. Like the U.S. Supreme Court, these courts hear and decide appeals of lower trial and appellate courts in cases at the state level. The number of justices on each court varies between five and nine in each state. There are 344 state Supreme Court justices nationwide.  

Of the 19 state supreme court vacancies that have occurred this year in states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies. One vacancy occurred in a state—Virginia—where the legislature appoints replacements.

 



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