Deadline to request an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania is Oct. 29

Pennsylvania voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot in the Nov. 5 election must apply for an absentee ballot by Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. Absentee voting is only allowed under specific conditions in Pennsylvania. Click the links at the end of this post to determine if you qualify.
Pennsylvania is holding the following elections, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
  • Four seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • Two retention elections
    • Two partisan elections for open seats
  • Two seats on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (retention)
  • County council, county controller, county executive, county district attorney, county treasurer, and magisterial district judges in Allegheny County
  • Mayor, city council, city commission, county sheriff, register of wills, trial court judges, and municipal judges in Philadelphia
  • City council and city controller in Pittsburgh
The following school district is also holding elections:
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools
Pennsylvania voters will also decide a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to add specific rights of crime victims, together known as Marsy’s Law, to the Pennsylvania Constitution. If approved, Pennsylvania would become the 13th state to approve a Marsy’s Law measure, although the measures were ruled invalid by courts in Montana and Kentucky. Voters will also see a variety of local measures, including one in Pittsburgh to establish a Parks Trust Fund with revenue from a property tax and two measures in Philadelphia concerning a bond issue and competitive bidding.

2019 voting underway in Washington

As of October 18, voters in Washington may cast ballots for the November 5, 2019, elections. Since Washington is a vote-by-mail state, ballots were mailed on Oct. 18 and Accessible Voting Units (AVUs) are available at voting centers. Voting will last through 8:00 p.m. local time on November 5.
Washington is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
  • Fifteen statewide ballot measures
  • Two state legislative seats
    • Washington State Senate District 40
    • Washington House of Representatives District 13-Position 2
  • Three seats on the Washington Court of Appeals
  • Four county commissioners in King County
  • Seven seats on the Seattle City Council
  • Four board seats for Seattle Public Schools
  • King County Proposition 1 related to property taxes
The fifteen statewide measures on the ballot in 2019 are more than any other single year since at least 1995. Initiative 976 would limit annual registration renewal fees to $30 for vehicles under 10,000 pounds and enact other restrictions on vehicle taxes and fees. Referendum 88 concerns affirmative action. Senate Joint Resolution 8200 would authorize the legislature to pass laws for government continuation during catastrophic incidents. The other 12 measures on the ballot are mandatory, non-binding advisory questions on bills passed in 2019 that increased tax revenue.
The city council elections in Seattle are occurring a year after the repeal of the 2018 head tax proposal, which would have required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee in order to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. The city council voted to pass the head tax 9-0 in May 2018 but then repealed it by a 7-2 vote in June 2018. Of the three incumbents running for re-election, Kshama Sawant in District 3 voted against repealing the tax, while District 1’s Lisa Herbold and District 5’s Debora Juarez voted to repeal the tax.

Early voting in Texas runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1

Early voting in Texas runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1. All registered voters may vote at any early voting location in the county in which they are registered.
Texas is holding elections for the following offices, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. Of the following races, Ballotpedia has designated the Houston mayoral election and Houston Independent School District elections as battleground races.
State legislative elections (special)
  • Texas House of Representatives District 28
  • Texas House of Representatives District 100
  • Texas House of Representatives District 148
Local elections within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope
  • Counties
    • Bexar County
    • Harris County
  • Cities
    • El Paso (special)
    • Houston (including mayor)
  • School boards
    • Aldine Independent School District
    • Alief Independent School District
    • Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
    • Houston Independent School District
    • Klein Independent School District
    • Lake Worth Independent School District
    • Richardson Independent School District
    • Spring Independent School District
Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two general election candidates will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
Four out of nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) school board are up for general election. The HISD school board faces the possibility of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers. If appointed, the board of managers would assume the responsibilities of the elected board, while elected trustees would not have any power until they were reinstated.
Texas voters will also decide 10 constitutional amendments put on the ballot by the state legislature. Measures concern taxes, bonds, budgets, law enforcement animals, and municipal governance. Proposition 4 would prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals. Ballots will also feature a variety of local measures. Local measures in Irving, El Paso, Harris County, Arlington and Tarrant County, and Austin and Travis County fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope for 2019.

General election for Louisiana House of Representatives will determine whether Republicans secure veto-proof majorities in House and Senate

Heading into the Nov. 16 general election, Republicans are seven seats short of a 70-seat supermajority in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
Louisiana has a two-round electoral system, sometimes referred to as a jungle primary or majority electoral system. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, face off in the primary election. If a candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, he or she wins outright. If no candidate reaches that threshold, a general election is held between the top two vote-getters.
After the Oct. 12 primary election, 63 House seats are guaranteed to Republicans, 33 to Democrats, and one to an independent. Party control of eight House seats will be decided in the general election. Republicans need to win all seven of these general elections where they are on the ballot in order to win a veto-proof House majority. Democrats can prevent a Republican supermajority in the House by winning at least one of the races in which they are facing a Republican opponent.
Republicans secured a supermajority in the state Senate in the primary. With supermajorities in the House and Senate, Republicans would have the ability to both override a gubernatorial veto and vote to place a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the ballot.
These are also the last elections before the state government redraws congressional and state legislative districts following the 2020 census. In Louisiana, both congressional and state legislative districts are drawn by the state legislature.
The Louisiana gubernatorial general election will also be held on Nov. 16. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from the primary. If Edwards wins, the state will remain under divided government. If Rispone wins, Republicans will have a state government trifecta.

Early voting underway in some Kansas counties

Voters in some Kansas counties could begin casting early ballots in person on Oct. 16 for the Nov. 5 general election. The exact start dates for early voting vary between Oct. 16 and Oct. 29. Click the Kansas Secretary of State office link at the bottom of this post to find contact information for your county election office. Early voting ends in all counties at noon on Nov. 4.
Kansas is holding elections for the following, in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:
  • 19 school board seats in five school districts
  • Mayor of Wichita
  • Three of six seats on the Wichita City Council
  • One statewide ballot measure
The five school districts holding elections are:
  • Circle USD 375
  • Goddard USD 265
  • Haysville USD 261
  • Maize USD 266
  • Wichita Public Schools
Three of Wichita’s seven school board seats are up for election. In each of the other districts, four out of seven school board seats are up for election.
Wichita’s municipal elections and four of the five school district elections (all but Circle USD) take place in Sedgwick County. Early voting in Sedgwick County runs Oct. 21-25, Oct. 28-Nov. 1, and until noon on Nov. 4.
All of Kansas will also vote on a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1605. The amendment would end the state’s practice of adjusting the U.S. Census population regarding military personnel and students when redistricting the Kansas State Legislature.

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.

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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.