CategoryState

Special election primary runoff to be held in Alabama House district

A special election primary runoff is being held on September 1 for District 49 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Russell Bedsole and Mimi Penhale are running in the Republican primary runoff. The winner of the runoff will face Cheryl Patton (D) in the special general election on November 17, 2020.

The seat became vacant after April Weaver (R) resigned to become a regional director in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 75-28 majority in the Alabama House of Representatives with two vacancies. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of August, 57 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 26 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Oklahoma holds primary runoff: Eight state legislative seats on the ballot, three incumbents defeated

The statewide primary runoff for Oklahoma was held on August 27, 2020. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3. A primary was held on June 30. In races where no candidate received a majority of the vote (50% plus one vote), the top two vote-getters advanced to the primary runoff.

Eight seats in the state legislature were on the primary runoff ballot; five in the Oklahoma State Senate and three in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. All eight races were Republican primary runoffs.

A total of 24 out of 48 seats in the Oklahoma State Senate are up for election in 2020. Fourteen contested partisan races were on the primary ballot. Districts 5, 7, 17, 35, and 43 advanced to the primary runoff, roughly 36% of contested state Senate primary races. Three of the five state Senate primary runoffs featured incumbents, all of whom were defeated. The remaining two primary runoffs were for open seats.

All 101 seats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are up for election in 2020. Thirty-nine contested partisan races were on the primary ballot. Districts 71, 79, and 96 advanced to the primary runoff, roughly 8% of contested state House primary races. No state House primary runoffs featured incumbents in either the primary or the primary runoff.

Oklahoma has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

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Voters to decide Massachusetts’ congressional primaries

The statewide primary election for Massachusetts is on September 1, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on June 2. Candidates are running in elections for the following congressional offices:
• One Class II seat in the United States Senate

• Nine seats in the United States House of Representatives

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

In the Democratic primary race for the Class II U.S. Senate seat, incumbent Edward Markey—first elected in 2013—faces challenger Joseph Kennedy III, while the Republican primary features candidates Shiva Ayyadurai and Kevin O’Connor.

Across the nine U.S. House district races in Massachusetts, eight incumbents filed for re-election. Only District 4 incumbent Joseph Kennedy III is not seeking re-election, opting instead to run for the U.S. Senate seat. The open District 4 seat has drawn a field of nine Democratic primary candidates and two Republican primary candidates.

In Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9, the Democratic incumbents are running unopposed. In District 8, the Democratic incumbent faces one challenger. In Districts 2, 5, 6, and 9, the Republican candidates are uncontested, while the Republican primaries in districts 1, 3, 7, and 8 were canceled after no candidate either filed or qualified for the ballot.

The next congressional primaries will be held on September 8 in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

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Massachusetts voters to decide state executive, legislative primaries on September 1

The statewide primary election for Massachusetts is on September 1, 2020. The filing deadline to run passed on June 2. Candidates are running in elections for the following state executive and state legislative offices:
• Massachusetts Governor’s Council (all eight seats)
• State Senate (all 40 seats)

• State House (all 160 seats)

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. The next statewide primaries will be held on September 8 in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Ballotpedia is also covering congressional elections in Massachusetts and local elections in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Boston is the county seat of Suffolk County.

Entering the 2020 election, the Massachusetts Governor’s Council has seven Democratic Party members and one vacant seat. The state legislature, called the Massachusetts General Court, has 36 Democrats and four Republicans in the state Senate, and 127 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and one independent member in the state House.

Massachusetts has a divided government. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.



Bice defeats Neese to win Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District

Stephanie Bice defeated Terry Neese to win the Republican nomination in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District on August 25. As of 9:45 p.m. Central Time on election night, Bice had 53% of the vote to Neese’s 47%. The two advanced to a runoff after no candidate won a majority of the vote in the June 30 primary. Neese led in the primary with 36.5% to Bice’s 25.4%.

Bice, a state senator whose endorsers included former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), said she would be the more effective legislator. Neese, a business owner and the national co-chairwoman of President Trump’s small business advisory council, said she would be the stronger ally to the president.

Incumbent Kendra Horn (D), who was first elected in 2018, advanced from the Democratic primary with 86% of the vote. Election forecasters say the general election between Horn and Bice is a toss-up.

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Two Wyoming Supreme Court justices seek retention in November

Wyoming Supreme Court Justices Lynne Boomgaarden and Kari Gray are standing for retention election on November 3, 2020. Both Boomgaarden and Gray were appointed by former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead (R).

Mead appointed all five of the justices currently on the court.

The governor appoints the five justices of the Wyoming Supreme Court with the assistance of a judicial nominating commission where neither the governor nor the Wyoming State Bar Association has majority control. The Wyoming Judicial Nominating Commission is made up of seven members: three lawyers (elected from the active membership of the Wyoming State Bar), three non-lawyer members (appointed by the governor), and is chaired by the chief justice of the supreme court.

New justices must face a retention election during the next general election after they serve at least one year on the bench. Justices then stand for retention every eight years. Since 2008, justices facing retention elections have won 98% of the time. In Wyoming, there has not been a single justice that lost retention during this same time frame.

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Uber and Lyft to continue rideshare operations in California ahead of Proposition 22 vote

California residents still have access to Uber and Lyft.

On August 20, the California First District Court of Appeal stayed a superior court judge’s decision, effectively allowing rideshare companies Uber and Lyft to continue operating in the state ahead of a vote on Proposition 22 on November 3. Prop 22 would define app-based drivers as independent contractors rather than classifying them as employees.

Here’s a timeline of how we got here:

  • December 3, 2018: AB 5, which would codify a three-factor test to decide a worker’s status as an independent contractor, was introduced in the California legislature.
  • August 30, 2019: DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber each contributed $30 million into campaign accounts to fund a ballot initiative campaign should the legislature pass AB 5 without compromising with the companies.
  • September 18, 2019: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB 5 without an exemption for app-based drivers and employers.
  • October 29, 2019: DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber filed the ballot initiative, which became known as Proposition 22.
    • The ballot measure, which was certified on May 22, 2020, would override AB 5 for app-based drivers. Prop 22 would also enact labor and wage policies that are specific to app-based drivers and companies.
  • January 1, 2020: AB 5 went into effect.
    • Uber and Lyft did not change how their workers are classified. Tony West, the chief legal officer for Uber, said, “Because we continue to believe drivers are properly classified as independent, and because we’ll continue to be responsive to what the vast majority of drivers tell us they want most—flexibility—drivers will not be automatically reclassified as employees. … We expect we will continue to respond to claims of misclassification in arbitration and in court as necessary, just as we do now.”
  • May 5, 2020: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued Uber and Lyft, alleging the firms were in violation of AB 5 for considering their workers to be independent contractors.
  • August 10, 2020: Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman granted an injunction in favor of Becerra and the city attorneys.
    • Schulman wrote, “Defendants’ [Uber and Lyft] position cannot survive even cursory examination. … To state the obvious, drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business.” Schulman stayed his injunction until August 20. Both Uber and Lyft appealed the decision to the California First District Court of Appeal.
    • Lawyers for Uber and Lyft said that their companies could suspend rideshare operations in the state unless the judge’s injunction was stayed.
  • August 20, 2020: The California First District Court of Appeal temporarily blocked Schulman’s ruling. Instead, the Court of Appeal gave Uber and Lyft until August 25 to file written consents to expedited procedures. Uber and Lyft have until September 4 to file opening briefs, as well as sworn statements from their CEOs confirming that the companies have developed AB 5 implementation plans should Proposition 22 be rejected and the courts uphold the injunction.
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Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice to retire in January 2021

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Coats is retiring in January 2021, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Coats joined the court in 2000 after being appointed by Gov. Bill Owens (R). Before that, he was an appellate deputy district attorney for the Colorado 2nd Judicial District from 1986 to 2000. He was the deputy attorney general from 1983 to 1986 and the assistant attorney general in the appellate section of the Colorado attorney general’s office. Coats obtained his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Colorado in 1971. In 1977 he earned his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School.

Under Colorado law, state supreme court justices are selected by the governor with help from a 15-member nominating commission. The commission provides a list of three candidates to the governor, who must choose from that list. Initial terms last at least two years, after which justices must stand for retention in a yes-no election. Subsequent terms last 10 years. Coats’ replacement will be Governor Jared Polis’ (D) first nominee to the seven-member supreme court.

The chief justice of the supreme court is selected by peer vote. Beginning in January 2021, the chief justice will serve for a set term on a rotating basis. As of 2020, the chief justice serves indefinitely as long as he or she has the support of his or her peers.

In addition to Chief Justice Coats, the Colorado Supreme Court currently includes the following justices:
• Monica Márquez – Appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) in 2010
• Brian Boatright – Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in 2011
• William W. Hood – Appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2013
• Richard Gabriel – Appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2015
• Melissa Hart – Appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2017

• Carlos Armando Samour Jr. – Appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2018

In 2021, there will be two supreme court vacancies in two of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies are due to retirements. One vacancy—South Dakota—is in a state where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. The other vacancy—Colorado—is in a state where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement.

In 2020, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements. Twelve vacancies are in states where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement. Six are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. One vacancy is in a state where the state supreme court votes to appoint the replacement.



Ballotpedia study shows that 46 states allow administrative agencies to choose whether to follow formal adjudication procedures

Banner with the words "The Administrative State Project"

A Ballotpedia study of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) showed that 46 state constitutions or APAs allow administrative agencies to choose whether to follow formal adjudication procedures in administrative hearings, as of August 2020. Those states allow administrative agencies to settle these cases informally with fewer procedural safeguards than the formal adjudication process provides.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Formal adjudication procedures approximate those of a traditional state court and include trial-like, adversarial hearings with witnesses, a written record, and a final decision made by a neutral presiding officer. Informal adjudication procedures vary but do not necessarily require a hearing with oral testimony, cross-examination of witnesses, or a verbatim stenographic record.

Most states allowed the agencies and accused parties to decide whether to go through a formal adjudication or to reach an informal settlement. Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that those states do not require formal adjudication.

When states listed exceptions to a general rule that agencies should follow formal adjudication procedures, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they sometimes require formal adjudication.

Understanding adjudication procedures provides insight into the due process and procedural rights of citizens at the state level. Procedural rights is one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:

Procedural rights: States that require agencies to follow formal adjudication procedures in administrative hearings

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

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