Colorado vote-by-mail and in-person voting dates for Nov. 5 election

The deadline for county clerks to mail ballots to eligible voters for the November 5 elections in Colorado passed on October 18. The deadline to mail ballots to voters registering after Oct. 18 or requesting replacement ballots is Oct. 28. Coloradans may also cast ballots and register to vote in person at voter service and polling centers (VSPCs). Each county will have at least one VSPC open from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5 (except Sunday, Nov. 3).
Ballots must be received by county clerks by 7:00 pm on Election Day. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office says, “Postmarks do not count; ballots must be in the hands of the county clerk by 7:00 PM on Election Day in order to be counted.”
See the Colorado Secretary of State’s FAQ page linked at the bottom of this post for information on tracking the status of mail ballots, finding ballot drop-off and polling locations, and more.
Colorado is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
  • 47 school board seats in 16 school districts
  • Five of 10 seats on the Aurora City Council
  • Mayor of Aurora
  • A recall election in Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1
The school districts holding elections are:
  • Academy School District 20
  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • Aurora Public Schools
  • Bennett School District
  • Cherry Creek School District
  • Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
  • Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Douglas County School District
  • Falcon School District 49
  • Harrison School District Two
  • Jeffco Public Schools
  • Manitou Springs School District 14
  • School District 27J
  • St. Vrain Valley School District
  • Widefield School District 3
Colorado voters will also vote on two legislatively referred state statutes, Proposition CC and Proposition DD:
  • Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue above the state spending cap to provide funding for transportation and education. The state is currently required to refund the revenue under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
  • Proposition DD would authorize sports betting in Colorado and authorize the legislature to levy a tax of 10% on those conducting sports betting operations. Revenue generated from the tax on sports betting would be used to create and fund the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund. Voters will also decide on local ballot measures.

Campaign finance updates published for Colorado 2019 ballot propositions

Colorado voters will decide Proposition CC and Proposition DD in two weeks on November 5, 2019.
Colorado Proposition CC would allow the state to retain revenue it is currently required to refund under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) to provide funding for transportation and education.
Two committees are registered to support Proposition CC: the Great Education Colorado Issue Committee and Coloradans for Prosperity. The support committees reported a combined $3.99 million in contributions and $2.35 million in expenditures. The largest donor to the support campaign was Daniel Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver, who contributed $750,000.
Three committees are registered to oppose Proposition CC: Citizens Against CC, No on CC, and Americans for Prosperity Colorado Issue Committee. The opposition committees reported a combined $1.42 million in contributions and $1.26 million in expenditures. The largest donor to the opposition campaign was Americans for Prosperity, which contributed $1.22 million in in-kind contributions.
Also on the ballot is Proposition DD, which would authorize sports betting in Colorado, authorize the legislature to levy a tax of 10% on those conducting sports betting operations, and allocate revenue to fund state water projects.
One committee is registered to support Proposition DD: Yes on Proposition DD. The support campaign reported $1.76 million in contributions and $1.06 million in expenditures. The largest donor to the campaign was FanDuel, a sports betting company, which provided $750,000.
One committee is registered to oppose Proposition DD: Coloradans for Climate Justice. The committee had not yet reported campaign finance activity.
The reports covered through all contributions and expenditures through October 9, 2019, and major contributions through October 17, 2019. The deadline for the next scheduled reports is October 28, 2019. In addition to regularly scheduled reports, campaigns must also report major contributions ($1,000 or more) within 24 hours after receipt.
Both of the propositions were referred to the ballot by the state legislature. In 2018, the legislature referred six measures to the ballot in the form of constitutional amendments. Campaigns supporting those measures raised funds ranging from under $5,000 to over $5.8 million in the case of Amendments Y and Z designed to create independent redistricting commissions.

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

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

  • The first recall petition, which was supported by the Oregon Republican Party, criticized Brown because she supported legislation during the 2019 legislative session related to a cap-and-trade program and a bill that grants driver’s licenses to immigrants residing in the country without legal permission.
  • The second recall petition, which was headed by Oregon First! PAC and the Flush Down Kate Brown group, criticized Brown over raising taxes, the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) program, Oregon’s sanctuary state status, and for the same driver’s license bill as the other recall petition.

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

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

Additional reading:

Coin toss decides tied primary in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a coin toss decided who will appear on the general election ballot in District 3 of the Hickory City Council. Three candidates competed in the nonpartisan primary on October 9. Sixty votes were cast in the race; incumbent Danny Seaver advanced with 28 votes, but challengers Nathan Hefner and Daria Jackson were tied at 16 each.
Under North Carolina law, tied elections that have fewer than 5,000 votes cast are decided by random selection. In this instance, a coin toss was used to decide the second-place winner. Jackson called heads and the coin turned up tails, meaning Hefner advanced to the November 5 general election.
According to the Hickory Daily Record, Hefner stated after the coin toss, “Your voice does count. If you want to see all your dreams and aspirations for Hickory come to life — get out and vote.” Jackson stated, “I’m going to put it in the hands of God and respect his will.”
During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts.

Friday deadline to submit signatures in Colorado state senator recall effort

Supporters of the effort to recall Colorado state Sen. Leroy Garcia (D) have until October 18 to submit 13,506 signatures in order to force a recall election. The recall effort was approved for circulation on August 19, and it is being led by Susan Carr, Victor Head, and Ernest Mascarenas.
According to the recall petition, supporters are trying to recall Garcia because he voted for legislation related to oil and gas regulation. The oil and gas bill gives local governments more control over regulating the industry and also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. The bill was signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) in April 2019. The petition also argues that Garcia has been involved with multiple lawsuits that have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Another recall petition targeting Sen. Garcia was introduced by Marjorie and Tammy Klein in April 2019. As of October 2019, that recall had not been approved for circulation by the secretary of state.
After the first recall was announced against Sen. Garcia, he said, “As the first Latino president of the Senate, I will not allow special-interest groups from Denver and El Paso County to silence me with threats of a recall.”
Gov. Jared Polis (D), state Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D), state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D), state Sen. Pete Lee (D), and state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D) all faced recall campaigns in 2019 but none of the recall efforts reached the ballot. Signatures were not submitted in either the Polis, Sullivan, Lee, or Pettersen recall efforts. The recall targeting Galindo ended after she resigned her seat in May 2019.
Since 2011, 85 recall petitions have been filed against state lawmakers. Nine recalls were successful, nine were defeated at the ballot, 58 did not go to a vote, and nine are still ongoing. California state Sen. Josh Newman (D) was recalled in 2018. Two Colorado state senators were successfully recalled in 2013.
Colorado became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats flipped the state Senate in the 2018 elections. Democrats control the state House by a 41-24 margin and the state Senate by a 19-16 margin. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Governor’s seat, veto-proof legislative majority on the ballot in Louisiana general election

Control of two of Louisiana’s top executive offices and races that could decide supermajority control of the state Legislature are on the ballot in the state’s November 16 general election.
In Saturday’s primaries, candidates won an election outright to 12 of the state’s 15 executive offices and 114 out of 144 state legislative seats. Under the state’s blanket primary system, candidates won an election outright if they received more than 50% of the vote. Otherwise, the top two candidates advanced to a general election.
First-term Governor John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced in the gubernatorial election. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Gwen Collins-Greenup (D) advanced in the race for that position.
Republicans are now guaranteed a majority in both houses of the state Legislature. So, a victory for Rispone would create a Republican trifecta, meaning the party controls both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. A victory for Edwards would preserve Louisiana’s divided government.
Republicans won 26 seats outright in the state Senate, a net gain of one seat and meeting the 26-seat threshold required to override gubernatorial vetoes, regardless of general election outcomes. All 39 of Louisiana’s state Senate seats were up for election. Although five seats advanced to a general election, partisan control of four is guaranteed to one party; three districts had a pair of Republicans advance while a fourth had a pair of Democrats.
Party control of eight state House seats will be decided in November. Including races where both general election candidates are from the same party and races which are too close to call where every candidate is from the same party, 63 seats are guaranteed to Republicans, 33 to Democrats, and one to an independent.
Republicans will be on the ballot in seven of those races and Democrats in up to six. Republicans can win a veto-proof majority in the state House by winning all seven races where they are on the ballot.
Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) won re-election outright, so Democrats cannot gain a state government triplex (control of the offices of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state). If both Rispone and Ardoin win, Republicans will gain a triplex. If either Edwards or Collins-Greenup wins, Democrats will preserve Louisiana’s divided triplex status. Six other statewide executive offices, including the lieutenant governorship and attorney general’s office, were won outright by a Republican incumbent.

Daniel Cameron (R) outraises Gregory Stumbo (D) in Kentucky attorney general election

Daniel Cameron (R) outraised Gregory Stumbo (D) $140,333 to $101,153 in Kentucky’s attorney general election, according to the most recent reports covering the period from September 6 through October 6.
At the end of the period, Cameron had $423,852 cash on hand to Stumbo’s $294,408 on hand. Cameron started the period with $480,476 cash on hand; Stumbo started with $240,015.
In total, Cameron’s campaign has raised $1,107,958 and spent $684,103 since the first report of the primary election. Stumbo’s campaign has raised $518,248 and spent $223,841.
The next campaign finance filing deadline for Kentucky state races is October 28. The reports will cover receipts and expenditures through October 21 (15 days before the general election).
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but Kentucky’s election history suggests that the attorney general’s race will be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general position open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.

Louisiana voters approve two out of four proposed constitutional amendments

On Saturday, Louisiana voters approved two constitutional amendments and rejected two, according to unofficial election night results.
Amendment 1 was defeated with 47.25% in favor and 52.75% against. It would have extended an ad valorem tax exemption to property (such as raw materials, goods, commodities, personal property, and other articles) being stored in Louisiana in public or private warehouses but destined for the Outer Continental Shelf. According to amendment sponsor Blake Miguez (R), materials affected by the measure would have included things such as tools and equipment used for offshore drilling and production.
Amendment 2 was approved with 50.39% in favor and 49.61% against. It allowed for appropriations from the Education Excellence Fund (EEF) to the Louisiana Educational Television Authority (LETA), Thrive Academy, and laboratory schools operated by public colleges.
Amendment 3 was approved with 57.88% in favor and 42.12% against. It gave more authority to the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals, including the authority to make rulings regarding the constitutionality of a tax, a power previously held exclusively by courts.
Amendment 4 was defeated with 36.51% in favor and 63.49% against. It would have allowed New Orleans to exempt properties with no more than 15 residential units from taxes “for the purpose of promoting and encouraging affordable housing,” according to the amendment text.
According to reports available prior to the election, Ballotpedia identified about $450,000 spent on campaigns in support of Amendment 1 ($100,000) and Amendment 4 ($350,000)—the two amendments that were defeated. Contributions to opposition campaigns were not found.
Between 1995 and 2018 in Louisiana voters decided 185 constitutional amendments proposed by the state legislature and approved 139 (75%).
In November 2020, voters will decide a constitutional amendment adding language stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

Edwards, Rispone advance to Louisiana gubernatorial general election

Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from Louisiana’s primary election Saturday as the top two finishers. Edwards received 46% of the vote and Rispone received 27% with 92% of precincts reporting. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 24% of the vote. The general election will be held November 16.
Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates in any race appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a general election. Six candidates ran in the gubernatorial primary.
Edwards has campaigned on what he considers the accomplishments of his administration, including the state’s budget going from a deficit to a surplus, teacher pay raises, and Medicaid expansion. Rispone has emphasized his background as a businessman, referring to himself as a conservative outsider and job creator. He has criticized Edwards’ tenure, saying the state’s economy ranks last in the nation.
Rispone and Abraham were both endorsed by President Donald Trump (R) and the Louisiana Republican Party. Each candidate described himself as the stronger challenger to Edwards. Several polls leading up to the primary showed either Rispone and Abraham tied within margins of error for second place or Rispone with a small advantage.
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. Donald Trump won the state by 20 percentage points in 2016. The Republican Governors Association has described Louisiana as a top pickup opportunity, while the Democratic Governors Association has said Edwards’ popularity positions him for re-election.
Of the five gubernatorial elections between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two (in 2003 and 2015) proceeded to general elections. Edwards was elected governor in 2015 with 56% of the vote, defeating U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) in the general election. He succeeded Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Fairhurst is retiring

On October 3, Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst announced her intention to retire on January 5, 2020, for health reasons.
Fairhurst was first elected to the Washington Supreme Court in 2002 and then re-elected in 2008 and 2014. She became the chief justice in 2016. Fairhurst previously served in the Washington attorney general’s office and as a law clerk for Washington Supreme Court Judges William H. Williams and William C. Goodloe. She earned both her undergraduate degree in political science in 1979 and her J.D. in 1984 from Gonzaga University.
Selection of state supreme court justices in Washington occurs through gubernatorial appointment. The appointee serves until the next general election, at which point he or she may run to serve for the remainder of the predecessor’s term. Fairhurst’s term expires in January 2021.
Otherwise, the nine justices of the supreme court compete in contested elections without reference to party affiliation and must run for re-election when their six-year terms expire.
The Washington Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state. It currently includes the following justices:
  • Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst – elected
  • Justice Mary Yu – initially appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D)
  • Justice Debra Stephens – initially appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D)
  • Justice Steven Gonzalez – initially appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D)
  • Justice Susan Owens – elected
  • Justice Charles W. Johnson – elected
  • Justice Barbara A. Madsen – elected
  • Justice Charlie Wiggins – elected
  • Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud – elected
In 2019, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies across 13 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 19 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.
Fairhurst’s retirement is the first upcoming supreme court vacancy to take place in 2020.