CategoryUncategorized

How do primaries in your state work?

The first statewide primary of 2019 is approaching – here’s a rundown of five facts about primary systems.
 
1. An open primary is any primary election in which a voter either does not have to formally affiliate with a political party in order to vote in its primary or can declare his or her affiliation with a party at the polls on the day of the primary even if the voter was previously affiliated with a different party.
 
In 22 states, at least one party conducts open primaries. Is your state one of them? Click the link to find out.
 
2. In 39 states, a candidate needs to win only a plurality (as opposed to a majority) of all votes cast in order to be declared the winner of a primary. Is your state one of them? Click the link to find out.
 
3. Generally, political parties use primary elections either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine their nominees in advance of a general election. In seven states, however, political parties can nominate candidates for some offices for the general election directly, without conducting a primary election. Is your state one of them? Click the link to find out.
 
4. A closed primary is a type of primary election in which a voter must affiliate formally with a political party in advance of the election date in order to participate in that party’s primary. In 14 states, at least one political party conducts closed primaries. Is your state one of them? Click the link to find out.
 
5. In eight states, a candidate must win a majority of all votes cast (i.e., 50 percent plus at least one) in order to be declared the winner of a primary election. Is your state one of them? Click the link to find out.


North Carolina governor appoints next state supreme court chief justice

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Justice Cheri Beasley to succeed Mark Martin as the chief justice of the state supreme court. Martin is retiring from the court on February 28, 2019. Beasley will assume the position on March 1, 2019.

To remain in this position, Beasley must run for election in 2020. Voters elect the chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court to serve in that capacity for a full eight-year term. North Carolina is one of only seven states in which the chief justice is elected by voters.

Gov. Bev Perdue (D) appointed Beasley to the North Carolina Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2012. In 2014, Beasley was elected to serve a full eight-year term. Beasley was previously a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2012 and a judge for the North Carolina 12th Judicial District from 1999 to 2008. She earned her B.A. in political science and economics from Rutgers University/Douglass College in 1988. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991.

Gov. Cooper must now appoint an associate justice to serve on the seven-member state supreme court. Martin’s replacement will be Cooper’s first associate justice nominee to the court. Like Beasley, the associate justice appointee will also have to run for election in November 2020 to remain on the court.



Federal Register weekly update; highest 2019 weekly page total to date

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
 
During the week of February 4 to February 8, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,752 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 3,094 pages. A total of 884 documents were included in the week’s Federal Register, including 760 notices, three presidential documents, 48 proposed rules, and 73 final rules.
 
Four proposed rules and three final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 842 pages. As of February 8, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 2,776 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 516 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of February 8. In 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. Over the course of the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016: 
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.


Curious about who your elected representatives are following the 2018 election? Find out on Ballotpedia!

Last fall’s election winners have now been sworn into office in all 50 states. The final state, Alaska, swore in its new officeholders on January 15. Ballotpedia has updated our Who represents me? tool to reflect the new arrivals.
 
This tool enables you to find your list of elected representatives by simply inputting your address. All of your federal and state officeholders will be included in your search results, and some or all of your local officeholders will be included as well depending on the address. While reviewing your results, be sure to click on the names of officeholders to learn more about them!
 
Please note that some elected offices, such as local or judicial offices, may follow unique swearing-in schedules that differ from their state’s calendar.


Under new federal rule, employers no longer required to submit privacy-violating info about employees to OSHA

On January 24, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency within the Department of Labor, published a rule protecting worker privacy by keeping sensitive details about workers’ injuries away from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. Companies will still have to keep detailed records of employee injuries and illnesses, but will only have to submit summary data to the agency.
 
OSHA said the new rule was a deregulatory action following President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, which requires agencies to eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation. Under regulations set during the Obama administration, some employers had to submit detailed information to OSHA about employee illnesses and injuries every year.


Federal district court adopts new district map for Virginia House of Delegates

On January 22, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an order adopting a remedial district plan for the Virginia House of Delegates. Pending the outcome of subsequent appeals, the remedial map will apply to the 2019 election cycle. Both chambers of the Virginia legislature hold elections this November.
 
House Speaker Kirk Cox (R) criticized the plan: “The Eastern District Court selected a series of legally indefensible redistricting modules that attempts to give Democrats an advantage at every turn. The modules selected by the Court target senior Republicans, myself included, without a substantive basis in the law.”
 
Democratic attorney Marc Elias, who initiated the suit in 2014, praised the order: “In Virginia, the Federal Court in the long-running state house redistricting case has ordered the special master to adopt the alternative-map configuration we advocated. We are one important step closer to the end of the GOP’s racial gerrymander.”
 
At present, Republicans control the House of Delegates, holding 51 seats to Democrats’ 48. Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said, “[The remedial map] would nearly guarantee a Democratic takeover of the House of Delegates.”
 
The legality of the districts in question has been disputed since 2014 when opponents of the original district plan alleged that it constituted an illegal racial gerrymander. The case, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled on March 1, 2017, that the lower court had erred in its earlier ruling that upheld the disputed districts. That unanimous ruling was written by former Justice Anthony Kennedy.
 
The high court remanded the case to the district court, which ruled on June 26, 2018, that 11 state legislative districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. The court ordered state lawmakers to draft a remedial map, but the legislature proved unable to do so. The district court then appointed a special master, Bernard Grofman, a political science professor at the University of California, to draft the map adopted by the court this week.


Federal Register weekly update; only 14 documents published as government shutdown continues

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
 
During the week of January 14 to January 18, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 88 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 194 pages. A total of 14 documents were included in the week’s Federal Register, including three notices, one presidential document, and ten rules.
 
No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
Due to the government shutdown, fewer pages have been added the Federal Register compared to recent years. During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 856 pages. As of January 18, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 2,690 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 65 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of January 18. In 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. Over the course of the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017. Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016. 
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.


24 candidates file for seven vacant Louisiana House seats

On January 11, 2019, the candidate filing deadline passed to run in Louisiana’s special primary on February 23. The election was called to fill vacancies in seven Louisiana House of Representatives districts: 12, 17, 18, 26, 27, 47, and 62. A total of 24 candidates filed to run for these open seats. Of these candidates, 15 filed as Democrats, eight filed as Republicans, and one filed as an independent.
 
The special elections were triggered after three Democrats and four Republicans resigned to either take another job or serve in another elected position. Heading into 2019, the Louisiana House is controlled by the Republican Party, with 59 Republican members, 36 Democratic members, three independent members, and seven vacancies.
 
Louisiana’s filing deadline was the sixth special election filing deadline covered by Ballotpedia this year. If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a general election will be held on March 30.
 
All 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for regular election in 2019. The primary is on October 12 and the general election will be held on November 16, if necessary. The candidate filing deadline is August 8.


Florida and California top total state party revenue for both Democratic and Republican parties between 2011 and 2017

The Democratic and Republican parties maintain state-level affiliates in all 50 states. The parties primarily raise money through contributions, which they later use to support electoral candidates and general party administration.
 
Democratic affiliates in Florida and California—which is a Democratic state trifecta—had the highest total state party revenue between 2011 and 2017, followed by Ohio, Virginia, and New York. At the other end of the spectrum, Democratic affiliates in Wyoming and Hawaii had the lowest total state party revenue over the seven-year period, followed by Vermont, Mississippi, and South Dakota.
 
State Democratic parties spent the most per capita in New Hampshire, Montana, Iowa, Maine, and Nevada.
 
Republican affiliates in Florida–which is a Republican state trifecta—and California also had the highest total state party revenue between 2011 and 2017, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Republican affiliates in Rhode Island and Oregon had the lowest total state party revenue over the seven-year period, followed by Delaware, Wyoming, and Hawaii.
 
Per capita, Republicans spent the most in Vermont, North Dakota, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin.


Local California tax measures reach decade high in 2018

Ballotpedia covers all local tax measures in California. We also track ballot measure trends related to business, hotel, utility, parcel, and sales taxes. The total number of tax measures in all five of these categories was 333 in 2018, compared to 239 in 2016. This bump in tax measures represented a 39 percent increase. The number was even lower in 2014 when there were 182 measures in the five tax categories.
 
Numbers for business tax measures (102), hotel tax measures (43), and parcel tax measures (90) on local California ballots in 2018 were the highest in a decade. The majority of all business tax measures were marijuana business taxes.
 
The number of sales tax measures in 2018 (82) was only surpassed once in the past decade; in 2016, there were 100 sales tax measures on local ballots. The number of utility tax measures in 2018 was the lowest for all even-numbered years in the past decade.
 
Including various other types of tax-related measures, tax measures represented 48 percent of all local ballot measures in California in 2018.