CategoryNewsletters

The Daily Brew: DNC rejects virtual caucuses in Iowa, Nevada

Today’s Brew highlights the DNC’s rejection of phone caucus plans + efforts to lower the voting age in California  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, Sept. 4, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Democratic National Committee rejects virtual caucusing for Iowa in 2020
  2. California Assembly approves two state amendments lowering voting age
  3. 79% of Ballotpedia survey respondents say a president’s running mate choice affects their vote

Democratic National Committee rejects virtual caucusing for Iowa in 2020

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has rejected the Iowa Democratic Party’s plans to conduct virtual caucuses in the state—which would allow people to participate by phone—from January 29 to February 3, 2020. The DNC recommended on August 30 that its Rules and Bylaws Committee reject Iowa’s virtual caucus plans, as well as similar plans developed in Nevada.

DNC leadership said in a statement, “There is no tele-caucus system available that meets our standard of security and reliability given the scale needed for the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the current cybersecurity climate.” Both states had proposed the virtual caucus option to comply with new DNC rules that required that states holding caucuses institute absentee voting to facilitate participation by those unable to attend in person.

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said he will work to find an alternative that addresses the DNC’s concerns. At an Aug. 30 news conference, he said, “We’re going to continue to work with the DNC to make sure that our caucuses are a success in 2020.” The DNC has said that it will give final approval to Iowa’s caucus plans on Sept. 13. 

The 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses had 171,517 participants, the second-highest number in the event’s history. The 2008 caucuses had 239,872 participants. The 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses had a record 182,000 participants.

Des Moines Democratic Party chairman John Smith stated, “We might have to drop the caucuses and do a primary in order to meet the DNC’s requirements.” If Iowa changes its caucus system to a primary, it could disrupt the rest of the Democratic nominating calendar. State law requires New Hampshire to hold the nation’s first presidential primary. Iowa’s caucuses are currently scheduled for February 3. The New Hampshire primary is set for February 11.

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California Assembly approves two state amendments lowering voting age 

The California State Assembly approved two constitutional amendments in August that would reduce the state’s voting age from 18 to 17. If approved by the state Senate, voters could decide both amendments at California’s next statewide primary in March 2020. 

One proposal—ACA 4—would allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in that year’s primaries and special elections. Sixteen states allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in that year’s primaries.

The other proposal—ACA 8—would make California the first state in the nation to lower the voting age from 18 to 17 for all elections. If approved by voters, ACA 8 will go into effect for the November 3, 2020, general election.

According to an Assembly Floor Analysis from the Office of the Chief Clerk of the California Assembly, “Because the US Constitution only addresses abridging the right to vote and this measure expands voting rights there appears to be no conflict with the federal constitution. In an opinion dated April 12, 2004, the Legislative Counsel opined that an amendment to the California Constitution to permit a person under the age of 18 to vote would not violate federal law.” 

Fifty-six Democrats and two Republicans voted for ACA 4. Twelve Republicans and one Democrat voted against it. Fifty-four Democrats and three Republicans voted for ACA 8. Thirteen Republicans and three Democrats voted against the measure. Both amendments needed a two-thirds majority—53 votes—to pass the state Assembly.  

A two-thirds majority in the state Senate—27 votes—is needed to pass a constitutional amendment. The 40-member state Senate is composed of 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans. California is one of 16 states that requires a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber during one legislative session to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot. 

The state Senate has not yet acted on either measure. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn Sept. 13.

Between 1995 and 2018, the California Legislature has asked voters to decide 32 constitutional amendments. Voters approved 27—or 84%—of those amendments.

Learn more→

79% of Ballotpedia survey respondents say a president’s running mate choice affects their vote

By this time next year, both major parties’ presidential tickets will be set after the Democratic National Convention takes place from July 13-16, 2020, and the Republican National Convention is held from Aug. 24-27, 2020. 

Last week’s What’s the Tea? question asked, When voting, how much does a presidential candidate’s running mate impact your decision? 

What's the tea?

Learn more→



Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: National Popular Vote in Colorado—voters to decide in 2020

Today’s Brew highlights the first veto referendum in Colorado in over 70 years + reviews how states set the start of the school year  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, September 3, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Colorado voters to decide in 2020 whether to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
  2. Forty states allow local school districts to set school starting dates
  3. FEC only has three members after vice chair resigns

Colorado voters to decide in 2020 whether to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Colorado voters will decide in November 2020 whether they want the state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The secretary of state certified a veto referendum August 29. It will be the first veto referendum to appear before Colorado voters since 1932. 

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an interstate agreement to award each member state’s presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. It would go into effect if states representing at least 270 electoral college vote to adopt it. Fifteen states and Washington, D.C.,—representing a total of 196 electoral votes—have joined the NPVIC. 

The Colorado legislature approved a bill—which was signed by Governor Jared Polis (D)—joining the state to the NPVIC earlier this year. It passed the legislature along party lines, with all yes votes coming from Democrats and all Republicans voting against it. Colorado is one of 14 Democratic trifectas. Thirteen of the 15 states to join the NPVIC and Washington, D.C., were controlled by Democratic trifectas at the time. Two—Hawaii and New York—were controlled by divided governments. 

 Most states currently use a winner-take-all system for awarding their electoral votes in the Electoral College. Under this method, the presidential candidate that receives a plurality of the popular vote in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes. In five of 58 presidential elections, the winner of the electoral college did not receive the most popular votes. This occurred most recently in the 2016 presidential election as Donald Trump received 304 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton had more total votes nationwide. 

Protect Colorado’s Vote—a group that opposes Colorado joining the NPVIC—reported submitting over 227,000 signatures on August 1 to trigger the veto referendum. The secretary of state determined that enough signatures were valid—124,632 were required—to qualify the measure for the November 3, 2020, ballot. 

From 1912 to 1932, Colorado voters decided 13 veto referendums. Of those, 10 were successful in overturning the targeted legislation and three resulted in the law being upheld. Since 1906, 521 veto referendums have appeared on the ballot across the country in 23 states. During that time, voters repealed 340—65.3%—of the targeted laws.

Status of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Learn more

        

 

Forty states allow local school districts to set school starting dates 

It’s the Tuesday after Labor Day, and in some states, today marks the first day of school. I live in New Jersey and we’re one of those states. It caused me to think about how states determine when public schools can begin classes.

Forty states allow local school districts to decide school start dates. Seven states mandate that schools cannot start earlier than a specific day in August. The remaining three states—Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia—require that school starts after Labor Day statewide.

Voters in two states—North and South Dakota—have decided ballot measures governing when school districts can begin classes. Voters in North Dakota rejected a 2014 initiative 55.6% to 44.4% that would have required public school to start after Labor Day.

South Dakota voters approved a citizen initiative—Initiative 2—in 1984 requiring public schools to start the school year after Labor Day. It was approved by a margin of 282 votes, 50.1% to 49.9%. In 1993, the state legislature altered Initiative 2 and repealed the requirement that the school year could start no earlier than the first Tuesday after the first Monday in September. This law allowed local school boards to determine school year start dates. 

Voters in South Dakota rejected a citizen initiative in 2006 that would have prohibited school districts from beginning classes earlier than the last day of August. It failed 56.9% to 43.1%.

The Maryland legislature passed a bill—and then overrode a gubernatorial veto of that bill— in April allowing local school boards to set the start of the school year. Previously, the first day of school had to be after Labor Day.

Learn more→

FEC lacks quorum after vice-chair resigns

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) lacks enough members to legally perform audits, litigate cases, promulgate new rules, issue advisory opinions, or enforce campaign finance violations. This is because the agency only has three voting members after Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen (R)—who had served on the body for 11 years—resigned August 31.

The FEC is an independent federal agency responsible for disclosing campaign finance information, enforcing limits and prohibitions on contributions, and overseeing public funding of presidential elections. The minimum number of members that must be present to make the agency’s decisions valid—known as a quorum—is four.  

The FEC has six members who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They each serve six-year terms, with two seats up for appointment every two years. No more than three members can be of the same political party, and there is a four-vote minimum for any proposal to be passed. 

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub (D) issued a statement last week stating that FEC staff will continue to make campaign finance documents available to the public and issue recommendations regarding campaign finance complaints. However, it will be unable to vote on the recommendations until a quorum is established. Weintraub urged President Trump to nominate new commissioners and encouraged the U.S. Senate to confirm the nominees.

Trump nominated Republican attorney James E. Trainor III to serve on the commission in 2017 but the nomination was returned to the president at the conclusion of the 115th Congress in January.

Learn more→

 



Union files suit challenging provisions of Wisconsin Act 10

On Aug. 26, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 and two of its members, Karen Erickson and Heath Hanrahan, filed a suit in U.S. District Court challenging Wisconsin Act 10, legislation enacted in 2011 that made multiple changes to the state’s public-sector labor relations laws.

Who are the parties to the suit?
Plaintiffs Erickson and Hanrahan are municipal employees of Marinette County, Wisconsin. Their union, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139, represents approximately 9,500 workers in Wisconsin. The defendant is James Daley, chairman of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

What’s at issue?
Act 10 prohibits municipal employers from negotiating with a union over “any factor or condition of employment except wages.” The law prohibits employers from deducting union dues from municipal employees’ paychecks. Act 10 also establishes annual recertification elections for municipal employee unions. In these elections, a union must receive at least 51 percent of the votes of all employees in the bargaining unit in order to be certified as the exclusive representative of those employees.

The plaintiffs allege these provisions of Act 10 violate the free-speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs also argue that previous court decisions upholding these provisions of Act 10 should be reconsidered in light of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision. This contrasts with the ways in which Janus has been invoked in other suits to challenge union-backed laws and practices (e.g., dues-deduction authorization windows, paid time off for union activities, etc.).

What comes next?
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. A judge has not yet been assigned to the case. The case name and number are International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 v. Daley, 2:19-cv-01233-DEJ.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map August 30, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 30, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart August 30, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • California AB314: This bill would require employers to grant employees paid time for certain union activities.
    • Senate Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled Aug. 30.


DNC to reject Iowa and Nevada virtual caucus plans

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 30, 2019: The Democratic National Committee will reject Iowa’s and Nevada’s virtual caucus plans. Shirley Shawe spent $500,000 on an ad against Joe Biden.


     Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

 

Noland Chambliss is an independent consultant with experience in organizational identity development and strategic communications. He graduated from Vassar College in 2006 with a degree in political science.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer and deputy field director

Other experience:

  • 2016 – present: Independent consultant
  • 2015 – present: The Dream Corps, board member
  • 2016-2018: SYPartners, strategist
  • 2012-2015: Change.org, strategic communications team and director of external affairs
  • 2009-2011: Chief of staff to Van Jones

Notable Quotes of the Day

“I don’t think the fact that [Kirsten Gillibrand] was talking about equal pay, sexual assaults in the military, or reproductive rights turned off any Democratic voters. I just think no candidate can only be focused on one gender.”

– Patti Solis Doyle, 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign manager

“She could never get enough oxygen. None of the candidates, outside just a few, really can. She just never got a look — a real look — from anybody outside the people she personally met. But the DNC qualifications squeezed the amount of time any of these candidates can actually do that.”

– Jeff Link, Democratic consultant

Democrats

  • The Democratic National Committee will reject Iowa’s and Nevada’s virtual caucus plans because of security concerns. The states will need to find an alternative solution to be in compliance with new party rules on expanding access to voting.
  • Michael Bennet will campaign in Iowa Sunday with stops at Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.
  • Shirley Shawe, whose son’s business was hurt following a dispute in the Delaware Chancery Court system, spent $500,000 on an ad criticizing Joe Biden for defending the bankruptcy court system. It will begin airing this week in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Delaware.
  • Bill de Blasio spoke at the Nevada AFL-CIO annual convention Thursday.
  • On Monday, Cory Booker will campaign in Nevada and speak at Rep. Steven Horsford’s Labor Day Cookout.
  • Steve Bullock will campaign in Iowa from Friday through Sunday.
  • Pete Buttigieg senior adviser Lis Smith described the three phases of Buttigieg’s campaign in an interview with BuzzFeed News. The third and current phase, according to Smith, is building up campaign organization in the early primary states.
  • Julián Castro will continue to campaign in South Carolina Friday, with stops in Charleston and Beaufort. 
  • John Delaney released a statement about his decision to remain in the race after not qualifying for the third debate. It included 10 principles he said would be absent from that debate.
  • Tulsi Gabbard said she would not run as an independent candidate if her Democratic bid was unsuccessful. She will hold a town hall in Georgia Friday and campaign in Iowa over the weekend.
  • Kamala Harris issued a disability policy plan on Thursday, covering Medicare for All, long-term and in-home services, and senior-level White House positions for individuals with disabilities.
  • Amy Klobuchar announced she is opening five new field offices in New Hampshire in the coming weeks.
  • Beto O’Rourke issued his trade plan Thursday, which would eliminate Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods, allow for defensive currency intervention, and invest in job training programs to increase competitiveness.
  • Tim Ryan’s national organizing director, Zach Fang, has left Ryan’s campaign and joined Andrew Yang’s in the same role.
  • Bernie Sanders will campaign in South Carolina Friday and New Hampshire and Maine Sunday.
  • Tom Steyer released his tax returns from 2009 to 2017, showing he earned $1.2 billion and he and his wife paid $264 million in federal taxes and $141 million in state taxes.
  • Elizabeth Warren will make her fifteenth trip to New Hampshire on Monday, where she will hold a house party in Hampton Falls.
  • Marianne Williamson will campaign in Georgia over the weekend.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump canceled a scheduled trip to Poland to remain in the United States as Hurricane Dorian approaches landfall on the East Coast. 
  • Joe Walsh said he thought that “there is certainly room for a viable third-party challenge next year” if he did not win the Republican nomination.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 30, 2015

The Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen planned to endorse Clinton the following week.

 


Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 24-30, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election. 

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

There are nine new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, two Republicans, and one Green. In total, 832 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“The problem for Walsh — or any other conservative challenger — is that Trump remains extremely popular with GOP voters. The president’s approval rating among Republicans hovers in the high 80s, and there’s little evidence that his popularity has much to do with his strict adherence to the conservative economic ideals that (supposedly) animated the Tea Party. Walsh may have been part of the Zeitgeist ten years ago, but as many Republicans who have crossed Trump and paid an electoral price can tell you, cutting spending is out and loyalty tests are in.”

– Benjamin Hart and Chas DannerNew York Magazine

“Walsh, a radio show host since losing reelection in 2012 and a frequent guest on cable news, could be effective in reaching rank-and-file Republicans, since he speaks their language. For example, Walsh was a Tea Party Republican when the Tea Party was known for championing lower federal budget deficits. In contrast, under Trump, the deficit is exploding, expected to hit $1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. Walsh may be able to pick off some fellow Tea Party Republicans on that issue alone.”

– Dean Obeidallah, CNN

Week in Review

DNC rejects Iowa and Nevada virtual caucuses, primary calendar in question

The Democratic National Committee is expected to reject Iowa’s and Nevada’s virtual caucus plans Friday because of security concerns. Both states proposed a virtual option to comply with new party rules that require caucuses to be more accessible to all voters.

If Iowa cannot establish an alternative method of voting, it might be unable to hold a caucus and have to move to a primary system. This would likely eliminate Iowa’s place as the first nominating event of the year since New Hampshire law says that the state must hold the first primary of the presidential election cycle.

Who made the debate?

Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 2019: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate, which will take place at Texas Southern University. Linsey Davis, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and George Stephanopoulos will moderate the event. Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.

While other 10 candidates will have another shot to qualify with the same requirements for the October debate, some have questioned the polling criteria:

  • Michael Bennet campaign adviser Craig Hughes sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee asking why some polling organizations were excluded as qualifiers and why information about future debate requirements had not yet been released.
  • The Tulsi Gabbard campaign requested the Democratic National Committee revise the list of certified polling organizations used as debate qualifiers and make the criteria for poll selection more transparent.
  • Tom Steyer made a similar request, calling for the DNC to include at least one poll from Nevada.

Walsh third notable Republican to enter 2020 race

Former Illinois Rep. and radio host Joe Walsh announced Sunday that he was launching a primary challenge to Donald Trump.

“I’m running because he’s unfit. Somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative,” Walsh said in an interview on ABC News. 

Following Walsh’s announcement, Salem Radio Network canceled the national distribution of Walsh’s radio show.

Walsh also said he thought that there was “certainly room for a viable third-party challenge next year” if he did not win the Republican nomination.

Biden on the small screen

Joe Biden released a new campaign ad in Iowa defending the Affordable Care Act as part of a six-figure ad campaign in Iowa. In the clip, he shares his personal experience with the healthcare system when his wife and daughter died in a car accident and his oldest son, Beau, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Also on the air in Iowa—and New Hampshire and Delaware—is an attack ad against Biden criticizing him for defending the bankruptcy court system. Shirley Shawe, whose son’s business was hurt following a dispute in the Delaware Chancery Court system, spent $500,000 on the ad campaign.

Gillibrand fifth Democrat to end presidential campaign in August

Kirsten Gillibrand became the fifth Democratic presidential candidate in August to suspend her presidential campaign. She announced her departure after missing the cutoff for the third primary debate.

She said in an interview with The New York Times, “I think being able to have a voice on a debate stage, when other candidates have that, is really important. And without it, I just didn’t see our path.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Noland Chambliss is an independent consultant with experience in organizational identity development and strategic communications. He graduated from Vassar College in 2006 with a degree in political science.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer and deputy field director

Other experience:

  • 2016 – present: Independent consultant
  • 2015 – present: The Dream Corps, board member
  • 2016-2018: SYPartners, strategist
  • 2012-2015: Change.org, strategic communications team and director of external affairs
  • 2009-2011: Chief of staff to Van Jones

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 26-30, 2015

  • August 26, 2015: Hillary Clinton released her rural agenda, calling for public-private partnerships that would bring federal capital to rural areas and increasing the number of solar panels across the country to 500 million.
  • August 27, 2015: TIME reported that the Democratic National Committee had obtained the 2012 Obama campaign’s email data.
  • August 28, 2015: All five Democratic presidential candidates spoke at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Convention. 
  • August 29, 2015: Donald Trump campaigned in Nashville, Tennessee, where he won a presidential straw poll and spoke at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.
  • August 30, 2015: The Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen planned to endorse Clinton the following week.

Trivia

Since 1968, nine states have voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election. Which of the following states is not among them?

 



The Daily Brew: What 2018’s closest legislative races may tell us about 2020

Today’s Brew highlights an analysis of the closely-decided state legislative races from 2018 + previews California’s 2020 ballot measures  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, August 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 88 state legislative races in 2018 were decided by a margin of 0.5 percentage points or less
  2. How many ballot measures will California voters decide in 2020?
  3. What’s the Tea?

88 state legislative races in 2018 were decided by a margin of 0.5 percentage points or less

At Ballotpedia, our team of researchers never stops analyzing election data in search of trends and interesting facts. Today I wanted to share with you the work they did studying 2018’s state legislative races, where 87 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers held regular elections for 6,073 seats. 

In 2018, 88 regular state legislative races were decided by a margin of less than 0.5 percentage points. This includes 16 elections decided by 10 or fewer votes and two which were decided by a single vote. 

Eighteen of these 88 races took place in New Hampshire—which has a 400-member House of Representatives. As of the 2010 census, New Hampshire state House districts represent an average of 3,291 residents each.

Here are five more facts:

  • The average margin of victory in all 2018 state legislative races—defined as the difference between the vote share of the winning candidate and the runner-up—was 25.8 percentage points. By comparison, the average margin of victory across the 467 congressional elections—both House and Senate—was 29.2 percentage points.
  • The chamber which had the smallest average margin of victory was the South Dakota House of Representatives at 7.7 percentage points.
  • Major-party candidates won 17.8% of the seats up for election by margins of 10% or less; 573 of those seats were won by Republicans and 505 by Democrats.
  • The average nationwide margin of victory for seats won by Democrats was 26.8 percentage points. For Republicans, it was 22.3 percentage points.
  • In 2020, state legislative seats in 4,798 districts which held elections in 2018 will be up for election again. Republicans won seats in 2,454 of those districts in 2018, while Democrats won seats in 2,375. 

There is so much more data about 2018’s state legislative elections—broken down by state and chamber—that you can explore by clicking the link below.

Learn more

        

BP Analysis: Half of California’s 2020 initiatives will be filed in the next four months

Fall is the most active period in California for ballot initiative filings. So far, 27 citizen-initiated measures have been filed targeting the November 3, 2020, election. Based on historical data, about half of the state’s 2020 initiatives will be filed in the next four months.

So far, three statewide ballot propositions have qualified for the ballot. 

  • California voters will decide two citizen-initiated measures designed to amend or repeal criminal sentencing and supervision laws passed since 2011: the Criminal Sentencing Initiative and Cash Bail Referendum.
  • Voters will also decide on an amendment to Proposition 13, as we’ve covered in the Brew. Proposition 13 was passed in 1978 and requires governments to tax residential, commercial, and industrial properties based on the property’s purchase price. The new measure would tax commercial and industrial properties—subject to certain exemptions—based on market value. 

Before initiative proponents begin collecting signatures, they must file their measure with the attorney general and receive a ballot title and summary. This is the first time the public sees a potential initiative.  Based on data from the last three election cycles, the last four months of the preceding odd-numbered year have seen an average of at least 12 filings each month. In those cycles, an average of half of the citizen-initiated measures that qualified for the ballot were filed during this period between September and December. 

If the trend from the past three election cycles continues in 2020, then approximately half of the citizen-initiated measures that will be certified for the ballot have not yet been filed. 

One difference between previous election cycles and 2020 is the number of signatures required for an initiative. The 2018 voter turnout was 70 percent higher as compared with 2014. This changed the signature requirement for constitutional amendments to nearly 1 million signatures and for statutes to over 623,000. The state has suggested that initiative campaigns submit petitions by March 3, 2020.

Average filings

Learn more→

What's the tea?

Eleven years ago yesterday—on August 29, 2008—Republican presidential candidate John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate during a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio. Palin was the second U.S. woman to run on a major party ticket for president.

When voting, how much does a presidential candidate’s running mate impact your decision?

 



Ten 2020 Dems set to participate in seven-hour climate change town hall

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 28, 2019: Ten Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to participate in a seven-hour series of town halls focused on climate change on Sept. 4. Tulsi Gabbard returned to the campaign trail from active duty.


 

Notable Quote of the Day

“It’s tempting to create an alternative to the DNC debate, but by doing that, you’re basically creating a kiddie table. You’re acknowledging you couldn’t make it, and I don’t think that goes over with voters.”

– Erik Smith, Democratic consultant

Democrats

  • CNN announced that 10 Democratic candidates will participate in a seven-hour series of town halls focused on climate change on Sept. 4. The candidates who qualified to participate based on polling are Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

  • Candidates have until Wednesday to qualify for the September Democratic primary debate.

  • Biden met with a group of black journalists Tuesday to provide on- and off-the-record insight to his campaign. He discussed his ideal running mate, the primary debates, black voter support, and the Trump administration.

  • In an interview on WBUR’s Here & NowBill de Blasio spoke about inequality in New York City, the Eric Garner case, and mental healthcare among veterans.

  • Buttigieg spoke in front of the Uber headquarters in San Francisco about protections for gig workers and attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles Tuesday.

  • John Delaney will appear on Bloomberg TV Wednesday.

  • Tulsi Gabbard returned from active duty Tuesday after spending two weeks abroad with the Hawaiian Army National Guard.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand pledged to pass a national public service plan in her first 100 days as president.

  • In an interview with NPR Politics Podcast and Iowa Public Radio, O’Rourkediscussed white nationalism and white supremacy, border security, and the Trump administration.

  • Tim Ryan posted a video with Charlamagne tha God promoting his focus on mental health and encouraging supporters to contribute to his campaign.

  • Joe Sestak is campaigning in Iowa Wednesday through Friday, holding events on education, agriculture, and healthcare.

  • Tom Steyer toured an immigration center and met with supporters in San Diego Tuesday.

Republicans

  • The Republican National Committee began its “Carolinas Kick-Off Tour” Tuesday. The bus tour will include six stops in North Carolina and South Carolina over three days to promote next year’s convention.

  • In an interview with PBS NewsHourJoe Walsh discussed immigration, climate change, and LGBT policy.

Flashback: August 28, 2015

All five Democratic presidential candidates spoke at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Convention. 

blank

 



Gillibrand is fifth Democrat this month to suspend presidential campaign

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 29, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand suspended her presidential campaign. Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in September.


 Daily Presidential News Briefing Poll Highlights (August 24-26, 2019)
Daily Presidential News Briefing Poll Highlights (August 20-25, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Donald Trump is in general election mode while we’re still in primary mode. We see it in Ohio. He’s absolutely carpet-bombing Ohio online. We’re doing our best to respond.”

– David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party chair

Democrats

  • Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debatein Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 2019: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

  • Michael Bennet campaign adviser Craig Hughes sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee asking a series of questions about the debate criteria, including why some polling organizations were excluded as qualifiers and why information about future debate requirements had not yet been released.

  • Biden is finishing his two-day tour of South Carolina Thursday.

  • The Police Benevolent Association, which represents the New York City Police Department, voted no confidence in Bill de Blasio and called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove him.

  • Booker will campaign in Oklahoma Thursday.

  • Castro will be in Columbia, South Carolina, attending a roundtable on gun violence Thursday.

  • Tulsi Gabbard criticized the debate criteria in an interview on FOX News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand suspended her presidential campaign Wednesday. She discussed her decision in an interview with The New York Times.

  • Harris posted a digital ad about her Iowa bus tour as part of a six-figure advertising campaign in the state.

  • Klobuchar spoke about gun violence policy Wednesday during a speech at the Nevada State AFL-CIO Convention.

  • Tim Ryan discussed labor, trauma, and mindfulness in an interview with Lion’s Roar.

  • Tom Steyer hired several new top staffers, including Abdul Henderson as deputy campaign manager for battleground states, Doug Rubin as senior adviser, and Jenna Narayanan as a senior finance adviser.

  • Marianne Williamson is campaigning in South Carolina Thursday.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump announced that he will make his first reelection campaign trip to the Bay Area on Sept. 17. Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion’s national convention in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

  • In an interview with VoxBill Weld discussed his fiscal and climate policies as differences between him and Trump.

Flashback: August 29, 2015

Donald Trump campaigned in Nashville, Tennessee, where he won a presidential straw poll and spoke at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.

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The Daily Brew: September’s Democratic presidential debate lineup is set

Today’s Brew highlights the latest debate news and previews today’s presidential update webinar + reviews the latest local political news from around the U.S.  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, April 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ten candidates qualify for September’s Democratic presidential debate
  2. Local Roundup
  3. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announces he’s retiring at the end of 2019

Ten candidates qualify for September’s Democratic presidential debate

The Democratic National Committee announced the 10 candidates who qualified for the party’s third presidential debate in Houston on September 12. They are as follows:

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

Candidates were required to provide verifiable evidence that they received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Candidates were also required to have received 2% support or more in four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—publicly released between June 28 and August 28. 

Eleven candidates did not qualify for this debate. Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson all achieved the fundraising threshold but did not meet the polling threshold. The other eight candidates—Kirsten Gillibrand, Michal Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, Wayne Messam, Tim Ryan, and Joe Sestak—did not meet either threshold in time to qualify. Gillibrand announced late yesterday that she was ending her presidential campaign.

ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate, which will take place at Texas Southern University. Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.

We’re also excited to announce the launch of a brand new Learning Journey on Iowa and New Hampshire’s role in the presidential nominating calendar. Our Learning Journeys give you a series of daily emails with information, examples, and exercises to help you broaden your knowledge of U.S. government and politics. This Learning Journey guides you through the history of why Iowa and New Hampshire are so important in presidential elections and how the results of the early primaries can affect the rest of the presidential election cycle. I’m really looking forward to taking this one myself—click here to get started.

And to catch up on all the presidential news from the past few months, join Emily Aubert and me for today’s quarterly presidential briefing webinar at 11 a.m. Central time. Emily is one of the primary authors of our daily and weekly Presidential News Briefing newsletters and she and I will discuss who’s in and who’s out in both parties, upcoming debates, and how the early state contests are shaping up. You won’t want to miss this as we examine the current state of the 2020 presidential race and what’s likely to happen next. Click the link below to reserve your spot!

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Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we love local elections. We provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers like city clerk and treasurer. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as special districts, county officials, and local ballot measures. With more than 585,000 elected officials nationwide, nearly all elections happen at the hyper-local level.

Here’s a quick summary of the local news we covered this week:

Phoenix

Phoenix residents rejected two citizen initiatives—Propositions 105 and 106—at an August 27 special election. Proposition 105 would have terminated funding for future light rail expansion in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and allocated revenue from the transportation tax towards other infrastructure projects. Proposition 106 would have required the city to limit budget growth and devote a greater portion of its budget to pay down its $4.5 billion pension debt. 

St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg held primary elections August 27 for three seats on its eight-member city council. Two districts featured incumbents running for re-election and both received a majority of votes in their races. The top two vote recipients in each of the primaries advanced to the general election, which is scheduled for November 5. St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population. 

Tucson, Arizona

City Councilwoman Regina Romero defeated two other candidates August 27 to win the Democratic mayoral primary. Romero received 50% of the vote and second-place finisher Steve Farley—who endorsed Romero after the primary—had 38%. Romero is vying to be Tucson’s first female mayor and will face independent candidate Edward Ackerley and Green Party write-in candidate Mike Cease in the general election November 5. No Republican candidate filed to run. Incumbent Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D) did not seek a third term.


U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announces he’s retiring at the end of 2019 

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced yesterday that he was resigning as of the end of 2019 due to health concerns. In a statement, Isakson said, “With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve. It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.”

He is the first senator to announce his resignation during the 116th Congress and is the fifth senator—four Republicans and one Democrat—not seeking re-election in 2020. 

Fourteen U.S. House members—11 Republicans and three Democrats—have announced they will not seek re-election in 2020. Two—one Republican and one Democrat—are running for seats in the U.S. Senate and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) is running for governor.

Under Georgia law, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will appoint Isakson’s replacement until a special election is held on November 3, 2020, to fill the remainder of Isakson’s term—which would have expired in January 2023. In that special election, all candidates will appear on the ballot regardless of party. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff in January 2021. Since the seat currently held by Sen. David Perdue (R) is also up for election, both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats will be on the ballot in November 2020. 

Isakson’s announcement comes two days after Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) stated on August 26 that he was resigning in September due to family considerations. On his Facebook page, Duffy said, “With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now.” Upon Duffy’s resignation, a special election will be held to elect a new representative in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

Isakson was first elected to the Senate in 2004 to replace retiring incumbent Zell Miller (D). He won re-election campaigns in both 2010 and 2016. 

In 2018, 52 members of the House and three U.S. Senators did not seek re-election. Forty House members and five Senators did not seek re-election in 2016.

 

 



The Daily Brew: In Mississippi governor’s race, it’s Hood (D) vs. Reeves (R)

Today’s Brew highlights the results of Mississippi’s Republican gubernatorial primary runoff + legal developments regarding ballot initiatives in Colorado and Michigan  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, August 28, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Reeves wins Mississippi Republican gubernatorial primary runoff
  2. Colorado signature distribution requirement upheld, Michigan redistricting measure faces legal challenge
  3. Forty percent of our survey respondents don’t feel prepared when voting on ballot measures

Reeves wins Mississippi Republican gubernatorial primary runoff

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeated former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. to win yesterday’s Republican primary runoff for governor of Mississippi. As of 10 p.m. Central time, Reeves had received 54% of the vote to Waller’s 46% with 95% of precincts reporting. 

No candidate received a majority of the vote to win the August 6 Republican primary outright. Reeves finished first with 49% of the vote and Waller was second with 33%. The third-place finisher—state Rep. Robert Foster—received 18% and endorsed Waller after the primary. Reeves was endorsed by incumbent Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and former Gov. Haley Barbour (R). 

Reeves, who is in his second term as lieutenant governor after serving two terms as state treasurer, said that his experience in state government would make him an effective chief executive. Waller said during the campaign that he would win more support from Democratic and independent voters than Reeves would in the general election.  

Reeves will face Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in the November 5 general election. In order to win election as governor of Mississippi, a candidate must win both the statewide vote and a majority of the 122 state House districts. If no candidate does both, the state House decides the winner. 

Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate the general election as “Leans Republican” and Cook Political Report rates the contest as “Likely Republican.” Ronnie Musgrove was the last Democrat elected governor of Mississippi. He defeated Rep. Mike Parker (R) 49.6-48.5% in 1999.

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Colorado signature distribution requirement upheld, Michigan redistricting measure faces legal challenge 

Sometimes when voters approve a ballot measure, the legal challenges are just beginning. Over the past two years, we’ve followed about 100 ballot measure-related lawsuits. Here are two instances from last week: 

Colorado

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier district court ruling August 20 and upheld a distribution requirement for initiated constitutional amendment petitions in Colorado. Plaintiffs argued that the distribution requirement provisions violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

In 2016, Colorado voters approved Amendment 71—sometimes referred to as the Raise the Bar initiative—requiring initiative petitioners to spread out signature-gathering efforts across all of the state’s 35 senate districts. The measure also enacted a 55% supermajority requirement for any constitutional amendment other than those designed to only delete language. 

ColoradoCareYes and the Coalition for Colorado Universal Health Care filed a lawsuit against the distribution provisions in 2017. A federal district court overturned the distribution requirement although it was left in place for 2018 measures while the case was under appeal. 

The appeals court panel ruled 2-1 to reverse the U.S. District Court’s ruling, leaving the distribution requirement in place. The majority wrote that “[n]o equal protection problem exists if votes are cast in state legislative districts that were drawn based on Census population data.” The majority based its decision on Evenwel v. Abbott (2016), in which the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a state or local government could draw legislative districts based on total population.

Michigan

The Michigan Republican Party filed a lawsuit in federal court August 22 seeking to block Proposal 2, which transferred the power to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts from the state legislature to a 13-member independent redistricting commission. Voters approved Proposal 2 in 2018 with 61% voting in favor of the constitutional amendment.

Proposal 2 would create a redistricting commission of 13 registered voters randomly selected by the Secretary of State—four each who self-identify as affiliated with the two major political parties and five who self-identify as unaffiliated with major political parties. It also established new redistricting criteria including geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population and specified that redistricting shall not provide disproportionate advantage to political parties or candidates.

Michigan voters do not specify their political affiliation when registering to vote. Proposal 2 requires applicants for the redistricting commission to attest under oath regarding their partisan affiliation but does not require the state department to confirm individuals’ partisan affiliation. 

Laura Cox, chairperson of the state Republican Party, said Proposal 2 violated the party’s freedom of association, arguing that the amendment prevented parties from selecting their own members to serve on the redistricting commission. The complaint also stated that the measure could allow Democrats to self-affiliate as Republicans “in an effort to alter the party’s selection process and weaken its representation on the commission by individuals who genuinely affiliate with MRP [Michigan Republican Party].”

Six states have enacted laws for independent redistricting commissions for congressional districts. In Arizona, California, Colorado, and Idaho, registered voters can select to affiliate with a political party on their voter registration forms. Like Michigan, Washington does not have a party-affiliation option on voter registrations. The Washington process involves legislative leaders of the two major parties each selecting a member of the redistricting commission, and the four leader-appointed members appointing a fifth member. 

Learn more about the Colorado measure→  

Learn more about the Michigan measure

Forty percent of our survey respondents don’t feel prepared when voting on ballot measures

And while on the subject of ballot initiatives, our What’s the Tea? question last week asked for your thoughts about voting on ballot measures:

What's the tea results

Ballotpedia covers all statewide ballot measures and local ballot measures in California and in the 100 largest U.S. cities by population. If you’re seeking more information about a question on your ballot, our coverage is a great place to learn more about it.

Click here for our comprehensive coverage of ballot measures