CategoryNewsletters

Biden announces senior White House staff

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 18, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced nine appointees who will serve as White House senior staff on Wednesday. As previously reported, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Cedric Richmond, and Steve Richhetti will serve as deputy chief of staff, senior advisor, and counselor to the president, respectively.

The six other appointments are as follows:

Anthony Bernal, senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden

Anthony Bernal was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign and Jill Biden’s chief of staff. He has worked with the Bidens for more than a decade, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Jill Biden during the Obama administration.

Mike Donilon, senior advisor to the president

Mike Donilon was chief strategist for the Biden presidential campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Donilon was the managing director of the Biden Institute. He has worked on six presidential campaigns.

Dana Remus, White House counsel

Dana Remus was general counsel for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked as general counsel for the Obama Foundation. She was also the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel of ethics during the Obama administration. She clerked for Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration. She is a partner at Winston & Strawn and previously worked on the faculty of Columbia Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Julie Chavez Rodriguez was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked on the Harris presidential campaign as the national political director and traveling chief of staff. In the Obama administration, Chavez Rodriguez was a special assistant to the president and senior deputy director of public engagement.

Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office Operations

Annie Tomasini is Biden’s traveling chief of staff. She has worked for Biden for over a decade, including as his deputy press secretary during the Obama administration and as press secretary when Biden was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


News

  • NPR reported that John Jones, a former chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), is being considered for the position of director of the Office of Management and Budget. Jones also worked as an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He is vice president of government relations for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • The Biden Transition is vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for secretary of the interior, according to The Hill. If selected, she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Haaland’s district, New Mexico’s 1st, is rated Safe Democratic.
  • Biden hired former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki to lead a team overseeing the Senate confirmation process for his nominees. “The new team is also looking to shake up some of the conventions of the Cabinet nomination process, including the code of silence that has traditionally surrounded nominees. Instead, transition staff intend to introduce Biden’s Cabinet picks to the American people before their Senate hearings, which could include media blitzes to build up public support. There’s a risk, however, that the increased exposure could lead to embarrassing gaffes or missteps by nominees,” Politico reported.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS



Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Republicans gain in state legislative districts that intersect with Pivot Counties

Welcome to the Wednesday, Nov. 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Republicans to gain at least 30 state legislative seats in districts that intersect with Pivot Counties
  2. Alaska voters approve ranked-choice voting measure
  3. Rep. Cedric Richmond named member of Biden’s senior staff, will resign from Congress

Republicans to gain at least 30 state legislative seats in districts that intersect with Pivot Counties

Today we look at legislative races in the nation’s 206 Pivot Counties. Pivot Counties are the 206 counties that Ballotpedia identified as voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016. There are 705 legislative districts—in whole or in part—in these counties. 

Republicans will have at least 30 more state legislators representing these districts, and Democrats will have at least 22 fewer.

Because some of the districts are multi-member districts, there are 800 legislators in the 705 districts. As of Nov. 16, Republicans will control 473 seats, a gain of at least 30 relative to immediately after the 2018 elections and Democrats stand to control 266. Final control of 58 seats remains too close to call, and three seats will be held by third party or independent legislators. Even if Democrats win all 58 uncalled races, they would still lose a net 22 seats relative to their post-2018 totals. After the 2018 election, Republicans held 443 of these seats to Democrats’ 346.

The table and chart below show the partisan control of all state legislative seats intersecting with Pivot Counties through Nov. 16.

The 800 state legislators who represent districts containing all or part of a Pivot County include 231 state senators (11.9% of all state senators) and 569 state representatives (10.5% of all state representatives). The number of these state legislators increased from 2016 to 2020 due to mid-cycle redistricting in North Carolina.

Learn more

Alaska voters approve ranked-choice voting measure 

Yesterday, Ballotpedia called Alaska Ballot Measure 2, with election results at that time showing the measure passing 50.5% to 49.5%. 

Ballot Measure 2 makes several changes to Alaska’s election policies, including:

  • replacing partisan primaries with open top-four primaries for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices, 
  • establishing ranked-choice voting for general elections, including the presidential election, and
  • requiring persons and entities who contribute more than $2,000 that was derived from donations, contributions, dues, or gifts to disclose the sources of the contributions.

Alaska will become the first state to adopt top-four primaries for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices. Like the top-two systems in California and Washington, all candidates will run in a single primary election, regardless of a candidate’s party affiliation. The four candidates receiving the most votes will advance to the general election.

In the general election, voters will elect state and federal candidates using ranked-choice voting (RCV). For state executive, state legislative, and congressional elections, voters will rank the four candidates who advanced from their top-four primaries. If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, he or she will be declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated, and voters who selected that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The process continues until two candidates remain. The candidate with the largest number of votes in the final round is the winner.

Alaska becomes the second state to approve ranked-choice voting statewide after Maine approved it in 2016. Eight states contain jurisdictions that have implemented RCV at some level, and another five states contain jurisdictions that have adopted but not yet implemented RCV in local elections.

Ballot Measure 2’s system of top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting general elections will be first used in 2022, which includes the gubernatorial, U.S. House, and a U.S. Senate election in Alaska. 

Learn more

Rep. Cedric Richmond named member of Biden’s senior staff, will resign from Congress

President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced Nov. 17 that U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) would become Senior Adviser to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. When the appointment takes effect, Richmond will resign from his district in the House of Representatives.

Richmond was first elected to the House in 2010 and was re-elected Nov. 3, receiving 64% of the vote in Louisiana’s majority-vote system. Richmond chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from November 2016 to December 2018. Before joining Congress, Richmond was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2000 to 2011.

Vacancies in the House of Representatives are filled by special election, and Richmond’s resignation will trigger the first special election of the 117th Congress. Richmond did not say when his resignation would become official. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said, “I will consult with Congressman Richmond about the timing of his resignation from Congress and with the Secretary of State and other leaders in his district about the best time for a special election to fill his seat when it is vacant.” Although the special election can be set on any date, Louisiana holds municipal primary elections on March 22, 2021, and municipal general elections on April 24, 2021.

The final partisan composition of the House of Representatives after the Nov. 3 elections has not been determined. A consensus of five media outlets have called enough races to confirm that Democrats will retain their majority.

In 2017, four U.S. House members—Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.)—resigned to take positions in President Trump’s administration. In 2009, four U.S. House members—Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), John McHugh (R-N.Y.), Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)—resigned to take positions in President Barack Obama’s (D) administration. The party of the outgoing representative won seven of the eight special elections triggered by those resignations. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) won a special election in November 2009 for McHugh’s seat.

Learn more



Biden names campaign manager O’Malley Dillon deputy chief of staff

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 17, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.​​​​​​

Appointments and Nominations

Jen O’Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign manager, will be deputy chief of staff in Biden’s White House. O’Malley Dillon is a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and a founding partner of the Democratic consulting firm Precious Strategies. She led Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign before joining Biden’s.

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) will leave Congress to join Biden’s White House as a senior adviser focused on public engagement. He will conduct outreach to grassroots organizations, public interest and advocacy groups, the business community, and climate change activists. Richmond was a national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign. 

Richmond’s congressional district, Louisiana’s 2nd, is rated Solid Democratic. Vacancies are filled by special election.

Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president

Steve Ricchetti, a longtime Biden aide, will serve as counselor to the president—a role currently held by Hope Hicks and Derek Lyons in the Trump administration. Ricchetti worked for Biden during the Obama administration, serving as his chief of staff in 2013.


News

  • Biden and Harris will receive a non-governmental national security briefing on Tuesday from diplomatic, intelligence, and defense experts. “The briefing is clearly part of the incoming administration’s effort to pressure the General Services Administration to ascertain the election so that Biden can start receiving intelligence briefings,” NBC News reported.
  • The Biden transition team has begun reviewing potential judicial nominees, according to The Huffington Post. The U.S. Senate votes to confirm federal judicial nominees. Republicans will hold at least 50 seats in the U.S. Senate and Democrats 48. Two Georgia Senate races, which have runoffs on January 5, 2020, will determine control of the chamber.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 17, 2020

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states and summarize major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Today we look at:

  • New coronavirus restrictions in Washington
  • An expanded mask mandate in West Virginia
  • State-level mask requirements
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • Travel restrictions
  • 1918 pandemic story
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

Want to know what we covered in our previous edition on Nov. 12? Click here.

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Michigan (divided government): On Nov. 15, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week ban on indoor dining and in-person high school and college instruction across the state beginning Nov. 18. She also announced that events at movie theaters, concert halls, and other indoor entertainment venues had been canceled.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the Ohio Department of Health had issued new restrictions on weddings and funerals. Beginning Nov. 17, the order prohibits dancing or congregating and requires guests to be seated at all times. Masks must also be worn unless eating or drinking. On Nov. 13, the Ohio Department of Health had signed a health order that strengthened enforcement of the state’s existing mask order. The updated order included new requirements for retail stores, requiring they post signage and ensure six feet of distance between customers. The order also included details on how the state will enforce the face-covering order, including through inspections, notices, and temporary closures.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that face coverings would be required on state property, and bars and restaurants would have to close by 11 p.m. for indoor service beginning Nov. 19.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued statewide restrictions effective Nov. 18 through Dec. 2. The order limits restaurants to delivery and curbside pickup services. Social gatherings will be limited to six people or less. Gyms and all indoor and outdoor recreational facilities (including zoos, pools, and museums) will be closed. Religious services will be limited to 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. The order will not change restrictions on personal care service businesses like barbershops.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Sunday, Nov. 14, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that all counties would need to reimpose some coronavirus restrictions. Effective Nov. 16, social gatherings with members of a different household are prohibited unless those individuals quarantine for 14 days or quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test. Additionally, outdoor social gatherings are limited to five people from outside the household. The new restrictions also include the closure of gyms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and capacity restrictions on retail stores. Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18, restaurants and bars will be closed to indoor service, while outdoor service will be limited to a maximum of five people. 

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Alaska (divided government): Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) issued eight new health orders, effective Nov. 16. Included in the orders is updated guidance for interstate, intrastate, and international travel.
  • California (Democratic trifecta): The California Department of Public Health expanded the state’s mask requirements. The new guidance requires individuals to wear masks whenever they are outside of their homes unless they are outdoors and can maintain six feet of social distancing. Masks are not required while eating or drinking, driving in a car with household members, or working in a private office space. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also moved 28 counties back to the purple (most restrictive) phase of reopening, which prohibits indoor service at state-defined non-essential businesses like gyms and restaurants.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Nov. 13, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an executive order extending the state’s coronavirus restrictions through the end of the month, including a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people. 
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) issued a mask order extending the state’s requirements. Under the new rules, masks are required in all public settings except outdoors while social distancing can be maintained. The order also requires businesses to deny service to people who refuse to wear a face covering. Businesses that do not enforce the rules are subject to fines and closures. 
  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) moved the state backward in reopening from Stage 3 to modified Stage 2. Under the new rules, indoor and outdoor gatherings larger than 10 people are prohibited. Religious and political gatherings are exempt from the limit but must maintain social distancing. 
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that county-level coronavirus restrictions would go into effect on Nov. 15. For counties in the state’s orange level of concern, gatherings are limited to 50 people, and large events need the approval of the local health department. Gatherings in counties classified as “red” are limited to 25 people.  
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Nov. 16, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced an indoor face-covering requirement for all individuals over the age of two in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Reynolds also announced that indoor gatherings will be limited to 15 people, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30. 
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced Massachusetts is no longer exempt from the state’s travel restrictions, effective Nov. 16. Travelers from Massachusetts have to quarantine for 14 days or present a recent negative test upon arriving in Maine. 
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 13. Indoor and outdoor private gatherings are limited to 10 people from a maximum of three households, and capacity at bars and restaurants is limited to 50%. Additionally, wedding and funeral receptions are limited to 50 people beginning Nov. 27 and 25 people beginning Dec. 11.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an order lowering indoor gathering limits from 25 to 10 people, effective Nov. 17. Starting Nov. 23, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 150 people, down from 500. The state also issued guidance for long-term care facility holiday visitation.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) issued a statewide order Nov. 13 requiring nonessential businesses to stop all in-person activity, effective Nov. 16-30. Restaurants are limited to delivery and curbside pickup. Religious services and state-defined essential retail spaces are not allowed to exceed the lesser of 25 percent occupancy or 75 total individuals. Gatherings of up to 5 people from different households are still allowed. For a full list of restrictions on business and individual activities, click here to view Lujan Grisham’s full executive order.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an order requiring restaurants and bars statewide to close for dine-in service (including outdoor dining) by 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 13. The order requires gyms to close at the same time and limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people.
  • North Carolina (divided government): The state’s limit on indoor gatherings was reduced from 25 to 10 people on Nov. 13. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Friday, Nov. 13, Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued a series of new coronavirus restrictions that were scheduled to take effect Nov. 14. The restrictions include a ban on in-person service at bars, a requirement that restaurants close by 10 p.m. each night, and a prohibition on multi-household social gatherings or holiday celebrations. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, Nov. 13, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued an executive order lowering the limit on indoor and outdoor public and private gatherings from 250 to 25 and requiring Virginians five and older to wear a face covering in public settings. Additionally, the order prohibits the serving of alcohol after 10:00 p.m. The order took effect Sunday, Nov. 15.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Nov. 13, Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order requiring all individuals to wear a mask in indoor public spaces unless eating or drinking. Individuals who are alone in a room are exempt from the requirement. Previously, Justice’s mask mandate had allowed for the removal of masks in cases where social distancing was possible. 

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Nov. 12 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Iowa adopted a statewide public mask mandate, which we discussed above.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,213 lawsuits, in all 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 381 of those lawsuits. 

Noteworthy lawsuit:

  • Beshear v. Acree: On Nov. 12, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) COVID-19 emergency orders. Writing on behalf of a unanimous court, Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes said, “The governor’s orders were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens.” The court ruled Beshear’s actions were “consistent with decades of Kentucky precedent, which we will not overturn.” Beshear said he was “grateful not for a win but for the safety of Kentuckians.” Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne (R) said, “It appears that the court’s opinion provides further evidence of the great need to better define emergency powers granted by previous legislatures.”
    • Background: In June, three Northern Kentucky businesses sued Beshear, arguing the governor’s orders, including a statewide mask mandate and indoor occupancy restrictions, violated the state constitution and statutory rulemaking procedures. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) intervened on behalf of the plaintiffs. Boone County Circuit Court Judge Rick A. Brueggemann granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the orders. Following a subsequent loss at the appellate level, Beshear appealed to the state supreme court. 

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 25 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since Nov. 10, four states have implemented travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • Maryland – On Nov. 10, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued a travel advisory asking Maryland residents to avoid non-essential travel to other states, especially states with a COVID-19 positivity rate greater than 10%. Residents or out-of-state travelers who arrive in Maryland from a state that meets that threshold are asked to get tested and self-quarantine until the results come back.
  • Vermont – On Nov. 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued an order requiring all visitors to Vermont to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Visitors can end their quarantine after seven days if they do not have symptoms and can produce a negative COVID-19 test. Visitors engaged in essential travel are exempt from the quarantine requirement.
  • Washington – On Nov. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a travel advisory asking out-of-state travelers or returning residents to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The advisory also asks Washington residents to limit non-essential travel. 
  • Maine – On Nov. 13, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced travelers from Massachusetts would no longer be exempt from the state’s quarantine or test requirements. The exemption was removed Nov. 16.  

The 1918 influenza pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Dec. 6, 1918, The Deseret Evening News reported on mask politics in Utah’s Salt Lake County.    

“Vigorous enforcement of the health order requiring the wearing of influenza masks in Salt Lake county outside the limits of incorporated cities, is already under way, says Dr. T.J. Howlls, county physician. 

Dr. Howells expressed impatience this morning that the wearing of masks had not been made compulsory in Salt Lake City.

“Much of our county influenza is traceable to Salt Lake City,” said Dr. Howells. “We regard Salt Lake as the menacing source of spread of the disease for the county.

Dr. Howells said that he is not urging the use of the masks as preferable to vaccination but is urging both. The mask, he points outs, is more quickly adopted universally. It can be adopted by an entire population overnight, while to vaccinate all requires much time at best.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Thirty-two members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-two federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred twenty-one state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least three local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since Nov. 10, four state senators, one state representative, three U.S. House members, one governor, and one mayor-elect have announced positive COVID-19 test results. One senator has announced a self-quarantine.  

Details:

  • On Nov. 9, Nebraska state Sen. Mike Groene (R), who represents District 42, announced he had contracted COVID-19 in late October.
  • On Nov. 10, Fresno, CA Mayor-elect Jerry Dryer announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 11, Iowa state Rep. Ashley Hinson (R), who represents District 67, announced she had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 12, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 13, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 13, Alaska state Sen. Josh Revak (R), who represents District M, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 13, Minnesota state Sen. David Senjem (R), who represents District 25, announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 15, Minnesota state Sen. Paul Gazelka (R), who represents District 9, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 16, Minnesota state Sen. Jerry Relph (R), who represents District 14, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 16, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 16, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 17. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced he would self-quarantine and await his test results after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. 


Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Introducing Ballotpedia’s state supreme court partisanship study

Welcome to the Tuesday, Nov. 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Introducing Ballotpedia’s supreme court partisanship study
  2. Three states split presidential and gubernatorial vote in 2020
  3. Alaska state Legislature elections could influence trifecta status, legislature majorities

Introducing Ballotpedia’s supreme court partisanship study

Today, I’m excited to brief you on our newly published State Supreme Court Partisanship Study. 

First, some background. Each state has at least one supreme court, or court of last resort. Oklahoma and Texas each have two such courts, one for civil appeals and one for criminal appeals. The study – a culmination of eight months of research and compilation of raw data – supplies Partisan Confidence Scores for 341 active state supreme court justices on all 52 courts of last resort. 

We gathered a variety of data on each justice and, based on that data, placed each justice into one of five categories indicating our confidence in their affiliations with either the Democratic or Republican Parties. These categories are Strong Democratic Confidence, Mild Democratic Confidence, Indeterminate Confidence, Mild Republican Confidence, and Strong Republican Confidence. Click here to learn more about our methodology.

To be clear – the study does not specifically describe the partisan affiliation of judges. We call our scores Confidence Scores because we believe they provide insight into the degree of confidence we have in each justice’s political leanings because of their previous partisan activity.

Here are some of the key findings from the study:

  • Of the 341 justices studied, we assigned Republican scores to 178 (52.2%), Democratic scores to 114 (33.4%), and Indeterminate scores to 49 (14.4%).
  • Twenty-seven states (54%) have a majority of justices with Republican scores. Fifteen state supreme courts (30%) have a majority of justices with Democratic scores. Eight state supreme courts (16%) do not have a majority of justices with Democratic scores or Republican scores.
  • 39.9% of the population live in a state which has a majority of justices with Democratic scores on the court. 51.1% of citizens live in a state which has a majority of justices with Republican scores on the court. 9% of citizens live in a state with a split court, or a court with a majority of justices with indeterminate partisan leanings. 

Stay tuned for future Brew editions, where we’ll dive deeper into the study’s findings. 

Learn more

Three states split presidential and gubernatorial vote in 2020

Here’s another post-election results analysis for you. Of the 11 states that elected a governor this year, voters in three states (New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Vermont) voted for presidential and gubernatorial candidates of different parties. Voters in at least one other state voted for a presidential candidate opposite its current trifecta status. 

A state government trifecta occurs when one party holds a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Heading into the 2020 elections, Republicans had 21 state government trifectas, and Democrats had 15. The 14 remaining states had divided government, where neither party had a trifecta.

Following the 2020 elections, Republicans were projected to gain trifecta control in Montana and New Hampshire. The trifecta status of Alaska was not yet determined. If control of Alaska does not change, Republicans will have 23 trifectas (a net gain of two), Democrats will have 15 trifectas, and 12 states will have divided governments (a net loss of two). If Republicans gain a trifecta in Alaska, they will have 24 trifectas to Democrats’ 15 with 11 divided governments.

This year, New Hampshire and Vermont re-elected their Republican governors while also voting for Joe Biden. North Carolina re-elected its Democratic governor while voting a second time for Donald Trump.

Both Montana and West Virginia voted for Donald Trump a second time while also electing a Republican governor. In Montana, Greg Gianforte (R) was elected governor after losing to incumbent Steve Bullock (D) in the 2016 election. In West Virginia, Jim Justice (R) was re-elected. Justice was first elected as a Democrat in 2016 and joined the Republican Party the following year.

In 2016, when all 11 states also held gubernatorial elections, five states split their presidential and gubernatorial votes. Montana, North Carolina, and West Virginia elected Democratic governors while also voting for Donald Trump (R). New Hampshire and Vermont elected Republican governors while also voting for Hillary Clinton (D).

Joe Biden (D) won all 15 states with Democratic trifectas as well as Arizona, which has a Republican trifecta. As of Nov. 16, the results of the presidential election in Georgia, a Republican trifecta, remained too close to call. Four of the five outlets Ballotpedia tracks had called the state for Joe Biden.

Donald Trump (R) won the other 19 Republican trifecta states. Of the 14 states with divided government heading into the election, six voted for Donald Trump and eight for Joe Biden.

Republicans gained trifectas in two states that had divided government before the election: Montana (which voted for Donald Trump) and New Hampshire (which voted for Joe Biden). As of Monday, Republicans stood to also gain a trifecta in Alaska, which voted for Donald Trump, although that state’s final trifecta status remained too close to call.

Learn more

Alaska state Legislature elections could influence trifecta status, legislative majorities

Speaking of trifectas, here’s an update from Alaska.

As of Monday, Republicans led in both legislative chambers, although several races remained too close to call. Local political observers suggest that minority coalitions had the potential to form in both chambers. Republicans won a 12-seat majority in the state Senate, with one election in a Republican-held district too close to call. However, observers reported that policy disputes in the Republican caucus left the possibility of a minority coalition open. Republicans won at least 19 seats in the state House, with 12 going to Democrats and one to an independent. Control of the eight remaining seats was too close to call.

In 2018, Republicans had a majority in the state Senate, gained control of the state House, and won the governorship. Although Republicans won a 23-16 majority of House seats in the 2018 election, divisions within the house caucus prevented them from taking formal control of the chamber and achieving a state government trifecta. A bipartisan coalition eventually organized a majority in which the two parties divided leadership and committee positions. Although they lost one seat in the Alaska state Senate, Republicans maintained a 13-7 majority.

Even with a majority in the Senate, Republicans could fail to unify, with some members possibly joining with the seven Democratic senators to form a coalition like the one created in the House in 2018. Eleven votes are necessary to name a new Senate leader and control the legislative process. In the House, the outcome of uncalled elections could affect the composition of the bipartisan coalition formed in 2018, and Republicans would have to form a united governing majority in both the House and Senate to achieve a trifecta.

Click the link below to follow along with us as we track results.
Learn more



Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: The makeup of the federal judiciary

Welcome to the Monday, Nov. 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Under Trump, Republican-appointed majorities in circuit courts doubled
  2. Wyoming amendment concerning municipal debt for sewage systems fails due to non-votes
  3. Upcoming elections

Number of federal circuit courts with a majority of judges appointed by Republican presidents has doubled in Trump administration

From time to time, we’ve written in the Brew about the pace and status of judicial confirmations by the Trump administration. As 2020 draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the past four years.

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, the number of federal circuit courts with Republican-appointed majorities has doubled from four to eight. Trump has appointed 52 judges to the 13 federal circuit courts. There are 179 U.S. Court of Appeals judgeships overall.

In January 2017, there were 90 judges appointed by Democrats, 74 judges appointed by Republicans, and 14 vacancies across the circuit courts. In November 2020, there were 80 judges appointed by Democrats, 97 judges appointed by Republicans, and one vacancy.

Of the five circuits that did not flip from majority Democratic-appointed to majority Republican-appointed, all but one kept the same partisan balance. The Ninth Circuit went from an 18-9 split (with two vacancies) before Trump took office to a 16-13 split (with no vacancies). The other four are the First, Tenth, D.C, and Federal Circuits.

All four circuits that were majority Republican-appointed when Trump took office added to that majority. The Fifth Circuit moved from R+5 to R+7, the Sixth Circuit from R+5 to R+6, the Seventh Circuit from R+2 to R+6, and the Eighth Circuit from R+6 to R+9.

Trump made the most appointments (10) to the Ninth Circuit. He made six appointments each to the Fifth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits. The only circuits without a Trump appointee as of November 2020 were the First Circuit and the Federal Circuit.

Overall, Trump had made 220 federal judicial appointments through Nov. 1 of this year. This is the highest number up to that date in a president’s first term since Jimmy Carter (D), who appointed 260 federal judges in that time period. Bill Clinton (D) follows Trump, having appointed 203 judges during the same time. 

Learn more

Wyoming amendment concerning municipal debt for sewage systems fails due to non-votes

We’ve been tracking and updating you on the November 2020 ballot measure results as they come in. Here’s an interesting one that may have been buried under all the others.

A Wyoming measure designed to remove the limit on debt a municipality could incur for sewer projects failed after 11% of the ballots cast either left the measure blank or filled in both “for” and “against.” The measure failed since it required approval from a majority of voters casting a ballot at the election, which means leaving Amendment A blank was the equivalent of voting against it. 

  • Total ballots cast at the election: 278,503 (100%)
  • Total votes for Amendment A: 126,589 (45.45%)
  • Total votes against Amendment A: 120,808 (43.38%)
  • Undervotes and overvotes on Amendment A: 31,106 (11.17%)

In other words, the measure received a plurality of votes cast, but it required a majority based on the total number of ballots cast for it to be approved. 

Five other states besides Wyoming have the requirement that a majority of voters must approve a constitutional amendment. Four—Utah, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Illinois—require constitutional amendments to be approved by a majority of all voters at the election, and one (Tennessee) requires approval from a number equal to a majority of all voters casting a ballot for governor. Nebraska, Mississippi, and Massachusetts have provisions that require approval from a certain percentage, ranging from 30% to 40%, of all voters at the election. Provisions like these mean that a certain number of undervotes on an amendment could prevent the measure from passing despite approval from a majority of votes cast on the measure itself.

Here are some background facts:

  • From 1996 through 2018, the Wyoming State Legislature referred 26 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved 18 and rejected eight of the referred amendments. 
  • Four of the eight rejected measures were defeated despite receiving more yes votes than no votes. 
  • All of the amendments were referred to the ballot for general elections during even-numbered election years. 
  • The average number of amendments appearing on the general election ballot was two. 
  • The approval rate at the ballot box was 69.23% during the 22-year period from 1996 through 2018. The rejection rate was 30.77%.

Ballotpedia covers local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. Ballotpedia also covers all local measures in California and all statewide ballot measures. For the latest on ballot measures, click here subscribe to our State Ballot Measure Monthly newsletter. 

Learn more

Upcoming elections

After the whirlwind of the Nov. 3 elections, you might think elections are over for this year. However, residents in several states still have upcoming races in November and December. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

  • Alabama: A special general election and a special primary will be held for a state House and state Senate district, respectively, on Nov. 17.
  • Mississippi: A general runoff election will be held for a school district and state House district on Nov. 24.
  • Arkansas: A general runoff election will be held for a school district on Dec. 1.
  • Georgia: General runoff elections will be held for statewide races and one federal race on Dec. 1.
  • Louisiana: General statewide elections will be held on Dec. 5.
  • Texas: A general runoff election will be held for mayoral and city council seats on Dec. 12.

There is also a potential runoff election for the regular U.S. Senate race in Georgia, which would be held on Jan. 5. 

The runoffs for statewide and federal offices in Georgia are on separate dates to allow enough time to send and receive military and overseas ballots.

We’ll be covering the Georgia elections in a regular newsletter starting later this week. Stay tuned for more details!
Learn more



Union Station: November 13, 2020

Welcome to Union Station, our weekly newsletter that keeps you abreast of the legislation, national trends, and public debate surrounding public-sector union policy.

Seventh Circuit weighs challenge to Wisconsin’s Act 10

On Nov. 13, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments in a challenge to Wisconsin’s Act 10, a 2011 bill that overhauled the state’s public-sector labor laws.

Who are the parties to the suit?  

Plaintiffs Karen Erickson and Heath 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 their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiffs also argue that previous court decisions upholding these provisions of Act 10 should be reconsidered in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 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.).

How did the lower court rule?

The plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Aug. 26, 2019. On March 3, Judge Joseph Stadtmueller dismissed two of the plaintiffs’ three claims, writing: 

As written, Act 10 does not violate Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights because it does not prevent the union or its members from speaking. This is true even if municipal employers refuse to engage discussions with unions outside of the collective bargaining process. To the extent that Plaintiffs allege that Act 10, as applied, is unconstitutional because Defendant uses it to prohibit municipal employers from listening to what the unions have to say, then the injury would run to the municipal employers, not to the union.2 Accordingly, this claim will be dismissed without prejudice because the Plaintiffs lack standing to bring it. 

On April 7, Stadtmueller, a Ronald Reagan (R) appointee, dismissed the remaining claim, in which the plaintiffs argued that Act 10 unconstitutionally compels speech by counting non-votes in union certification elections as “no” votes. The plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Seventh Circuit. 

Case information   

The case name and number are International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 v. Dale, 20-1672.

What we’re reading

THE BIG PICTURE

Number of relevant bill 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. 

Number of relevant bill by current legislative status

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

RECENT LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 12, 2020



%%subject%%

A daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day  

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states and summarize major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Today we look at:

  • New restrictions on restaurants and bars in New York
  • An extension of Colorado’s mask mandate
  • State-level mask requirements
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Federal responses
  • State legislation

Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.

Forward This blank    Tweet This blank blank    Send to Facebook blank

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that county-level coronavirus restrictions would go into effect on Nov. 15. For counties the state has designated as orange, gatherings will be limited to 50 people, and large events will need the approval of the local health department. Gatherings in counties classified as “red” will be limited to 25 people.
     
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 13. Indoor and outdoor private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of three households, and capacity at bars and restaurants will be limited to 50%. Additionally, wedding and funeral receptions will be limited to 50 people beginning Nov. 27 and 25 people beginning Dec. 11.
     
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an order requiring restaurants and bars statewide to close for dine-in service (including outdoor dining) by 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 13. The order requires gyms to close at the same time and limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people.
     
  • North Carolina (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced the state would remain in Phase 3 of reopening, and the limit on indoor gatherings would be reduced from 25 to 10 people beginning Nov. 13. 

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Additional mitigation measures for regions 5, 7, and 8 took effect Nov. 11. Indoor and outdoor social events and gatherings are limited to 10 people. Party size limits at bars and restaurants were reduced from 10 people to six.
     
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced she was extending the public health emergency for 30 days and prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 25 people unless everyone older than two wears a mask. Additionally, face coverings will be required at businesses like barbershops and tattoo parlors. Several types of businesses, including bars, restaurants, and arcades, must ensure six feet of distance between individuals or groups.
     
  • Maryland (divided government): On Nov. 10, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that restaurants and bars offering indoor service must reduce their operating capacity from 75% to 50%. He also issued an advisory that discourages indoor gatherings of more than 25 people.
     
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 9, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 11. The new measures include a requirement that people in bars, gyms, and churches be kept 6 feet apart and establishes a 25% indoor capacity limit.
     
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced “Stay at Home 2.0,” a campaign aimed at getting Nevadans to limit nonessential activity outside of the home and practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing.
     
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued an order requiring restaurants and bars close by 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 12. The order also prohibits seating at bar areas and interstate school sporting events.
     
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued executive orders aimed at ensuring businesses comply with the state’s mask mandate. The order authorizes the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to close businesses for up to 24 hours that receive a violation for not enforcing face coverings.
     
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) two-week pause on social activity for nine counties took effect Nov. 11-25. Under the restrictions, no indoor nursing home or long-term care facility visits are permitted. Restaurants and other indoor facilities (like gyms, bowling alleys, and museums) are limited to a maximum capacity of 50 people. Social gatherings outside of households are limited to six people.

State mask requirements

Note: Going forward, we’ll be examining mask requirements every Tuesday.

We last looked at face coverings in the Oct. 19 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued a statewide order, effective Nov. 9, requiring people to wear masks in public when social distancing cannot be maintained.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., had a district-ordered school closure.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Eight states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., W.V.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 12,095,855 students (23.91% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-eight states had reopenings that varied by school or district.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 29,225,236 students (57.77% of students nationwide)

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of Nov. 12, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors, and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Seven states never issued stay-at-home orders.

California and New Mexico, both of which have Democratic governors, are the only remaining states with active stay-at-home orders.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

    Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Sixteen states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since Nov. 5, no state has ended or extended a moratorium on evictions.
  • Twenty-seven states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On Nov. 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a serology test that detects neutralizing antibodies from prior COVID-19 infection. The FDA has previously granted EUAs to antibody tests that detect binding antibodies, which attach to the virus but haven’t been observed to decrease the viral infection of cells.
  • On Nov. 9, the FDA issued an EUA for an antibody drug that can be used on patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. The drug, bamlanivimab, was given to President Donald Trump (R) while he had the virus.

State legislation

    Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 3,578 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 60 additional bills since Nov. 5.
  • Of these, 528 significant bills have been enacted into law, 15 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 
    • We have tracked 11 additional significant bills since Nov. 5 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business).



In wake of election, 25 lawsuits filed over election’s conduct



%%subject%%

Post-election lawsuits have been filed in five states
Ballotpedia logo
Forward This Tweet This Send to Linkedin Send to Facebook blank

Sponsored by Probolsky Research

Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Each issue includes an in-depth feature—such as an interview or legislative analysis—and discussions of recent events relating to electoral and primary systems, redistricting, and voting provisions.

Have a question/feedback/or just want to say hello? Respond to this email, or drop me a line directly at Jerrick@Ballotpedia.org.


In wake of election, 25 lawsuits filed over election’s conduct

In the week since Election Day, 25 lawsuits disputing some aspect of the election’s conduct have been filed. President Donald Trump’s (R) campaign organization has filed 15 of those lawsuits.

What are the issues? 

Post-election lawsuits can involve three broad issues:

  • Counting procedures: Lawsuits over counting procedures challenge some aspect of a jurisdiction’s procedures for processing, verifying, or counting ballots. These challenges most often apply to absentee/mail-in ballots, but they can also involve ballots cast in person. Thirteen post-election lawsuits – 54 percent of the total  – involve disputes over counting procedures. 
  • Ballot/voter challenges: Lawsuits can also challenge the validity of groups of ballots, or the eligibility of groups of voters. These challenges generally seek to invalidate or remove disputed ballots from the final count. Eleven post-election lawsuits – 46 percent of the total – are ballot/voter challenges. 
  • Recount disputes: If a formal recount is conducted, one of the parties involved in the process can file a lawsuit challenging its conduct. No lawsuits over recount procedures have been filed.

Where have lawsuits been filed?

Post-election lawsuits have been filed in five states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

  • Arizona: 2 lawsuits
  • Georgia: 1 lawsuit
  • Michigan: 5 lawsuits
  • Nevada: 3 lawsuits
  • Pennsylvania: 13 lawsuits

Trump campaign lawsuits 

Since Election Day, the Trump campaign has filed 15 lawsuits: one in Arizona, one in Georgia, two in Michigan, two in Nevada, and nine in Pennsylvania.

Arizona: 1 lawsuit

  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Hobbs
    • Court: Maricopa County Superior Court
    • Issue: Whether ballots with facial irregularities (e.g., apparent overvotes, stray markings, etc.) cast in-person on Election Day were illegally disqualified without additional review.
    • Outcome: Pending

Georgia: 1 lawsuit

  • In re: enforcement of election laws and securing ballots cast or received after 7:00 P.M. on November 3, 2020
    • Court: Chatham County Superior Court
    • Issue: Whether absentee/mail-in ballots received after the statutory receipt deadline had been illegally accepted and mixed with ballots received before the deadline.
    • Outcome: On Nov. 5, Judge James F. Bass, Jr., dismissed the lawsuit: “[The] Court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, thereby making those ballots invalid. Additionally, there is no evidence that the Chatham County Board of Elections or the Chatham County Board of Registrars has failed to comply with the law.”

Michigan: 2 lawsuits (1 original lawsuit and 1 appeal)

  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Benson
    • Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (lower court: Michigan Court of Claims)
    • Issue: Whether an election challenger was illegally prevented from participating in the absentee/mail-in ballot review process.
    • Outcome: On Nov. 6, Judge Cynthia Stephens denied the campaign’s request to suspend the processing and counting of absentee/mail-in ballots, citing “problems with the factual and evidentiary record.” The campaign appealed Stephens’ decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Nevada: 2 lawsuits (1 original lawsuit and 1 appeal)

  • Kraus v. Cegavske (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Gloria in the lower court)
    • Court: Nevada Supreme Court (lower court: Clark County District Court)
    • Issue: Whether Clark County election officials could use artificial intelligence to verify mail-in ballot signatures and make copies of ballots whose originals could not be machine-processed.
    • Outcome: On Nov. 3, the Nevada Supreme Court declined to block a lower court’s order allowing the Clark County registrar to use artificial intelligence to verify mail-in ballot signatures and make copies of ballots whose originals could not be machine-processed. The state supreme court found that the campaign had not demonstrated “a sufficient likelihood of success to merit a stay or injunction.” The court has not issued a ruling on the merits.

Pennsylvania: 9 lawsuits (6 original lawsuits and 3 appeals)

  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar
    • Court: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • Issue: Whether some absentee and mail-in ballots were accepted and counted in violation of state law, and whether those ballots should be stricken from the count.
    • Outcome: Pending
  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar
    • Court: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
    • Issue: Whether the secretary of the commonwealth illegally extended the deadline for mail-in voters to provide missing proof of identification after submitting their ballots.
    • Outcome: On Nov. 5, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ordered election officials to “segregate ballots for which identification is received and verified on Nov. 10, 11, and 12 from ballots for which identification is received and verified on or before Nov. 9.” Leavitt has not issued a ruling on the merits.
  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Philadelphia County Board of Elections
    • Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • Issue: Whether the Philadelphia County Board of Elections violated state law and the U.S. Constitution and declined to allow watchers for the Trump campaign and the Republican Party to observe the mail-in ballot counting process.
    • Outcome: The parties to the lawsuit agreed to allow 60 observers each from the Democratic and Republican parties. On Nov. 5, the court dismissed the lawsuit as moot in light of this agreement.
  • In re: canvass of absentee and mail-in ballots of November 3, 2020, general election
    • Court: Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas
    • Issue: Whether Montgomery County election officials illegally counted approximately 600 absentee and mail-in ballots for which the outer envelope declaration had not been filled out.
    • Outcome: Pending
  • In re: canvassing observation; Appeal of: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
    • Court: Pennsylvania Supreme Court (on appeal from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court; lower court: Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas)
    • Issue: Whether candidates and their representatives can observe aspects of the canvassing process from within 6 feet of election workers.
    • Outcome: On Nov. 5, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon ordered the Philadelphia Board of Elections to allow “all candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives … [to be] permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.” Cannon overturned a Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas ruling, which had upheld a rule requiring observations to take place with at least 6 feet separating the observer from the election worker. Democrats appealed Cannon’s ruling to the state supreme court.
  • In re: pre-canvass of absentee and mail-in ballots of November 3, 2020, general election
    • Court: Bucks County Court of Common Pleas
    • Issue: Whether the Bucks County Board of Elections violated state law by allowing the disclosure of voter identification information for mail-in ballots voided during the pre-canvass meeting prior to the close of polls .
    • Outcome: Pending
  • Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar
    • Court: U.S. Supreme Court
    • Issue: Whether a state supreme court order extending the mail-in ballot receipt deadline to Nov. 6, overriding the statutory receipt deadline of Nov. 3, was legal.
    • Outcome: Associate Justice Samuel Alito ordered county election officials to segregate and separately count mail-in ballots received between 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. He referred the matter to the full court, which has not issued a ruling on the merits.


Absentee/mail-in voting modifications in the general election

With the general election over, let’s take a look back at the modifications states made to their absentee/mail-in voting procedures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All told, 37 states modified their absentee/mail-in voting procedures for the general election. These modifications can be divided into the following five broad categories:

  • Automatic absentee/mail-in ballots: Five states (California, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, and Vermont) automatically sent absentee/mail-in ballots automatically to all eligible voters. These states are shaded in yellow in the map below.
  • Automatic mail-in ballot applications: Eleven states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) automatically sent absentee/mail-in ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters. These states are shaded in dark blue in the map below.
  • Eligibility expansions: Twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) expanded absentee/mail-in voting eligibility. These states are shaded in light blue in the map below.
  • Deadline extensions: Five states (Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) extended absentee/mail-in ballot application or submission deadlines. These states are shaded in dark gray in the map below.
  • Other process changes: Four states (Alaska, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia) made other modifications to their absentee/mail-in ballot procedures. These states are shaded in gray in the map below.


Want to sponsor a Ballotpedia newsletter? Reach donors, consultants, activists, and voters with your message. Contact ads@ballotpedia.org for more information about advertising.




On Veterans Day, a look at members of Congress who served

Welcome to the Wednesday, Nov. 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 96 current members of Congress have served in the armed forces 
  2. Five states have certified their Nov. 3 election results
  3. Eleven states, Washington D.C., have active travel restrictions due to COVID-19

96 current members of Congress have served in the armed forces 

Ninety-six members—18%—of the current Congress (pre-Nov. 3 election) have served in the armed forces. Of those, 66 are Republicans, and 30 are Democrats. Fourteen of these veterans retired or sought other offices in the 2020 elections, meaning they will not return for the 117th Congress in January.

Of the others, 66 won their re-election campaigns, six were Senators not up for re-election this year, and six are in races that are not yet called. Four—Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Steve Watkins (R-Kan.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.)—lost their bid for re-election.

  • Of the 96 veterans serving in the 116th Congress, 73 served on active duty with one of the four main branches of the service—15 in the Air Force, 36 in the Army, 15 in the Marine Corps, and eight in the Navy. 
  • U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) served in both the Army and Marine Corps. 
  • Twelve members of Congress served in the National Guard, and 11 have served in the reserves. 

According to the American Enterprise Institute, there were 100 veterans in the 115th Congress and 101 in the 114th Congress.

President Woodrow Wilson (D) recognized November 11 as Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended World War I in 1918. Congress recognized Nov. 11 as a legal holiday to honor veterans of World War I in 1926. It changed the name from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day in 1954 to further commemorate the service of veterans in World War II and the Korean War.

Five states have certified their Nov. 3 election results

Election results reported by media sources are regularly referred to as unofficial on Election Night and the days that follow. But when do unofficial election returns become official? Each state has its own process and timetable for canvassing and certifying results in every election.

In a canvass, local and state election officials verify that each ballot cast in the election was correctly counted. Certification is the process where election results are made official. The two processes are closely related, and some states, localities, and commentators use the terms interchangeably to describe the entire process of counting ballots and formalizing results.

Five states have already certified their Nov. 3 election results. Delaware was the first state to do so on Nov. 5. Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Vermont certified their results on Nov. 10. Two states—South Carolina and Wyoming—will certify election results today.

Forty-six states have laws establishing deadlines for certification. Four states—Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Tennessee—have no specific date for certification.

The election certification date affects when a recount can occur. A recount is a process where election officials re-tabulate the votes cast in an election to verify the accuracy of the original results. Recount laws and the timing of when a recount can be triggered or requested varies by state. Some states allow for recounts to occur after canvassing but before results are made official through certification. Other states require both the canvassing and certification of results before beginning a recount process. 

The chart below shows state election result certification deadlines relative to the Nov. 3 general election. A longer bar indicates a date further from the general election. Ballotpedia compiled this information from a review of state laws, election administration manuals, election calendars, and inquiries of election officials.

Learn more

Eleven states, Washington D.C., have active travel restrictions due to COVID-19

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 25 states have issued at least one executive order restricting interstate travel. While each state’s order is different, they generally required travelers from certain states to self-quarantine and limit exposure to others for a specified period of time upon entering the state. In some instances, travelers could be exempt from the requirement if they took or presented a negative COVID-19 test taken within a certain number of days of their arrival.

Of the 25 executive orders issued by governors or state agencies placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors, at least 14 have been rescinded. Eleven states and Washington D.C. currently have active travel restrictions.

For example, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a new advisory Nov. 4 that requires visitors to the city to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in the district. Visitors who are in the city for longer than three days are asked to take a test within 3-5 days of arrival. The advisory asks those who test positive or come into contact with someone who tested positive to refrain from entering the city.

Our Documenting America’s Path to Recovery newsletter tracks the status of reopening in all 50 states and summarizes major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. It covers the current status of school closures and reopenings, stay-at-home orders, noteworthy lawsuits, travel restrictions, mask mandates, eviction and foreclosure policies and more. 

Documenting America’s Path to Recovery is published every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays—click here to subscribe and get Thursday’s edition delivered to your email!

Learn more



Bitnami