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31 candidates running in the Manchester school board election in New Hampshire

Thirty-one candidates are running for 14 seats on the Manchester School District school board in New Hampshire. The primary is being held on September 17, and the general election is on November 5. The filing deadline for this election was July 19. The elections are nonpartisan.
 
Nine of 14 incumbents are running for re-election in 2019. In comparison, all 14 incumbents filed for re-election in 2017.
 
*At large District: In the two open seats in this district, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Hodgdon, Joseph Lachance, Gene Martin, James O’Connell, and Lara Quiroga have filed to run for the seats being vacated by Richard Girard and Patrick Long.
*Ward 1: Amber Jodoin and James Porter are running in the open seat to replace incumbent Sarah Ambrogi.
*Ward 2: Incumbent Kathleen Kelley Arnold will face off against Sean Parr in this election.
*Ward 3: Incumbent Mary Ngwanda Georges is opposed by Karen Soule in this election.
*Ward 4: Incumbent Leslie Want is seeking re-election and is running against Mark Flanders.
*Ward 5: Incumbent Lisa Freeman will face off against Jeremy Dobson in this election.
*Ward 6: Incumbent Dan Bergeron is opposed by William Bergquist and Jon DiPietro in this election.
*Ward 7: In this open seat, Christopher Potter and William Shea are running to replace incumbent Ross Terrio.
*Ward 8: Incumbent Jimmy Lehoux is seeking re-election and is running against Peter Perich.
*Ward 9: Incumbent Arthur Beaudry will face off against Candace Moulton in this election.
*Ward 10: Incumbent John Avard is opposed by state Rep. Jane Beaulieu in this election.
*Ward 11: Brittany LeClear-Ping and Nicole Leapley are running in this open seat to replace incumbent Katie Desrochers.
*Ward 12: Incumbent Kelley Anne Thomas is seeking re-election and is running against Andrew Toland.
 
The Manchester School District served 14,219 students during the 2016-2017 school year and is the largest school district in the state.
 


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council recall election canceled 3 days before scheduled election date

A recall election seeking to remove Cedric Cromwell and Gordon Harris from their positions as chairman and treasurer of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts, respectively, was scheduled to be held on September 15, 2019, but it was canceled three days prior to the election date. The tribe’s election committee canceled the recall election after the Wampanoag Supreme Court “declined to offer an advisory opinion requested by the tribal council,” according to The Mashpee Enterprise. Though it did not offer an advisory opinion, the court did release a document on August 22, 2019, saying that it found the recall petitions insufficient as presented.
 
The tribal council had asked the court if the recall petitions met the threshold for a recall election, and they also asked who had the authority to direct the election committee in such matters. “Based on language in that decision it was determined that the [recall] hearing would not take place,” Trish Keliinui, a member of the election committee and a communications manager with the tribe, said. Aaron Tobey Jr., a member of the tribal council and leader of the recall efforts, said the council meant “to stop the election even though it was the will of the people.”
 
Cromwell and Harris were targeted for recall along with vice chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird in April 2019. Recall supporters cited wrongful conduct, a debt of $500 million owed to the tribe’s financial backer, Baird staying in office after she offered her resignation in January 2019, and Harris missing council meetings in February and April as reasons for the recall effort. The petition against Baird was deemed insufficient by the tribe’s election committee, but the petitions against Cromwell and Harris were approved to move forward with a recall election. None of the three targeted tribal members responded to the recall efforts against them, and Cromwell and Harris did not respond about the cancelation of the recall elections.
 
If the recall elections had been held, recall supporters and recall opponents would have both been able to speak at a hearing prior to the recall votes. For results of the vote to stand, at least “40 percent of the total number of registered voters who voted in the preceding annual election,” would have had to vote in the recall election, according to the Cape Cod Times. To remove the officeholders from their positions, 60 percent of voters would have had to vote in favor of the recall.
 
Additional reading:


Ballotpedia completes research into public-sector union membership

Our research project analyzing public-sector union membership, finances, and political spending is complete. We will be sharing our key findings with you in upcoming editions of our weekly newsletter, Union Station. This week, let’s turn our attention to membership totals.
 
Methodology: Because it is all but impossible to collect comprehensive data on public-sector union membership, we took a more narrowly tailored approach: identifying the most prominent public-sector unions in each state and tallying their memberships. For more information on our methodology, including a discussion of existing research and various challenges involved in collecting data, please see the article linked at the bottom of this post.
 
Summary of findings: We collected data for 228 unions nationwide, averaging about five in each state. We identified these unions based on media reports, consultation with experts on the ground, and our own research efforts (e.g., identifying unions by amount of political spending). Aggregate membership in these 228 unions is 5,654,109.
 
The following states had the five highest public-sector union membership numbers:
 
  • California: 811,483 members belonging to six large unions—approximately 14 percent of the nationwide total.
  • New York: 808,669 members belonging to five unions—14 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Illinois: 342,518 members belonging to five unions—6 percent of the nationwide total.
  • New Jersey: 324,750 members belonging to four unions—6 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Pennsylvania: 324,411 members belonging to five unions—6 percent of the nationwide total.
 
Public-sector union membership in those five states is 2,611,831, accounting for about 46 percent of the nationwide total. Meanwhile, membership in the 25 states rounding out the bottom of our list is 664,180, representing about 12 percent of the nationwide total.
 
For a complete breakdown of our membership data, including links to state-specific data sets, see the article linked below.
 


U.S. Senate confirms six nominees to U.S. District Court seats

The U.S. Senate confirmed six nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships. The Senate has confirmed 152 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 43 appellate court judges, 105 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017. At the end of the 115th Congress in January 2019, the Senate had confirmed 85 of the president’s judicial nominees.
 
The confirmed nominees are:
 
Stephanie Haines, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. After she receives her judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the court will have:
-Three vacancies.
-Five Republican-appointed judges and two Democratically-appointed judges
 
Ada Brown, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. After she receives her judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the court will have:
-No vacancies
-Ten Republican-appointed judges and two Democratically-appointed judges
 
Steven Grimberg, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have:
-No vacancies
-Six Democratically-appointed judges and five Republican-appointed judges
 
Stephanie Gallagher, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. After she receives her judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the court will have:
-No vacancies
-Eight Democratically-appointed judges and two Republican-appointed judges
 
Mary McElroy, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. After she receives her judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the court will have:
-No vacancies
-Two Republican-appointed judges and one Democratically-appointed judge
 
Steven Seeger, confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After he receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have:
-Two vacancies
-14 Democratically-appointed judges and six Republican-appointed judges
 
Four of the nominees—Haines, Brown, Grimberg, and Seeger—were confirmed with bipartisan support. Gallagher and McElroy were confirmed by voice vote, meaning there is no official record indicating how many or which senators voted yea or nay. Gallagher and McElroy were also nominated to the same district court seats by President Barack Obama (D) in 2015. Their nominations were returned to the president at the sine die adjournment of the 114th Congress in 2017.
 
There are 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.
 


Memphis, Tennessee early voting begins for October 3 election

Early voting began Friday, September 13, and extends through Saturday, September 28, for the October 3 Memphis city election. Voters will be electing the mayor, all 13 seats on the city council, the city court clerk, and all three municipal court judges, as well as one local ballot measure.
 
Twelve candidates are on the ballot for the Memphis nonpartisan mayoral election, including incumbent Jim Strickland. Other notable candidates include former Mayor Willie Herenton and County Commissioner Tamara Sawyer.
 
The ballot measure would increase the city’s sales tax by an additional 0.5% (from 2.25% to 2.75%) in order to fund health benefits and pensions to the levels provided in 2014 and 2016, respectively, for fire and police public safety officers. The measure would also earmark additional revenue for roads and pre-kindergarten education. The Campaign for Public Safety, sponsored by the Memphis Police Association and the Memphis Fire Fighters Association, was the primary proponent behind the measure and backed the petition effort that qualified it for the ballot. The proposed sales tax rate is the same as five other cities in Shelby County.
 
In 2014, the Memphis City Council voted to cut city employee benefits in order to pay down the city’s unfunded pension liabilities. The changes increased health insurance premiums by 24%; excluded spouses who could receive healthcare from their employer; and moved all employees with less than seven and a half years of city employment to a Market Based Cash Balance 401(a) Retirement Plan. The revenue from the 2019 initiative was earmarked for increasing public safety employee benefits.
 
The schedule and a list of early voting locations can be found below. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, September 26. On election day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
Additional reading:
 


Orlando filing deadline passes for mayor and 3 city council seats

The filing deadline to run for mayor and three of seven city council seats in Orlando, Florida, was on September 13. The city of Orlando is holding general elections for mayor and city council Districts 2, 4, and 6 on November 5, 2019. If needed, a runoff election is scheduled for December 3, 2019.
 
The city of Orlando uses a strong mayor and city council system, meaning the city council serves as the city’s primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city’s chief executive. in Districts 2, 4, and 6,
 
The mayor is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. He or she is the city’s representative on the state, national, and international levels. In Orlando, the mayor also serves as the city council’s seventh member.
 
The city council is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.
 
As of September 2019, 62 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 30 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, and four identify as nonpartisan. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party
 
Orlando is the fourth-largest city in Florida and the 76th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles advances to general election with 86.6% of the vote

Charlotte, North Carolina, held partisan primary elections last Tuesday for mayor and city council. Twelve seats are appearing on the general election ballot on November 5, 2019. Democratic primaries were held for mayor and all city council districts except for Districts 6 and 7. City Council District 7 was the only office to hold a Republican primary. District 6 did not hold any primaries.
 
With all districts reporting, incumbent Mayor Vi Lyles (D) defeated four challengers with 86.6% of the unofficial vote total. No challengers received more than 4.2% of the vote. She faces Republican challenger David Michael Rice in November. Rice was the only Republican candidate to file for the mayoral election and automatically advanced to the general election.
 
Four at-large city council seats and Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 held Democratic primaries. All four at-large incumbents and the Districts 1 and 5 incumbents filed for re-election and advanced to the general election. Districts 2, 3, and 4 are open seats. City council District 7 incumbent Edmond H. Driggs (R) defeated one challenger in the only Republican primary of the night.
 
Four districts only have one candidate on the November ballot and were unofficially decided in the primary. Democratic incumbents Larken Egleston (District 1) and Matt Newton (District 5) will be automatically re-elected and District 3 Democratic candidate Victoria Watlington will win her first term without opposition. Republican District 7 incumbent Driggs will also be re-elected unopposed. The remaining city council seats and mayoral election are contested.
 
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Referendums filed to overturn California’s new laws to regulate vaccine medical exemptions

On September 11, veto referendums were filed against Senate Bill 276 and Senate Bill 714 in California. Both of the bills address the use of medical exemptions from vaccination schedules for school students. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the bills on September 9.
 
Proponents of the veto referendums will need to collect 623,212 valid signatures within 90 days of the governor’s signature, which means signatures are due on December 8, 2019. Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) is expected to release ballot language for the veto referendums on September 23. If enough signatures are collected for the referendums, the laws would be on hold until voters decide whether to uphold or repeal them at the election on November 3, 2020.
 
SB 276 and SB 714 were designed to create a process for the California Department of Public Health to review medical exemption forms for school attendance and allow a trained immunization department staff member (who must be a physician, surgeon, or registered nurse) to revoke medical exemptions that do not meet CDC, ACIP, or AAP criteria. The bills also include a process to appeal decisions to revoke exemptions, prohibit doctors who the department considers to be contributing to a public health crisis from writing medical exemptions, establish the information that must appear on medical exemption forms, and create a system to monitor immunization levels in schools and institutions and patterns of high exemption form submissions by physicians. SB 714 was written to amend SB 276 after Gov. Newsom requested several changes to the original bill, including a longer grace period for students with medical exemptions that were issued before January 1, 2020.
 
The three individuals who filed the veto referendums—Denise Aguilar, Heidi Munoz Gleisner, and Tara Thornton—were active in protesting the vaccination bills in August and September, according to The Sacramento Bee. Aguilar described the protests as “just parents who are getting a little bit fed up with the bills that are being passed.” She added, “To have our health in bureaucrats’ hands, that’s the complete tyranny of the government.” Senator Richard Pan (D-6), who authored the laws, responded to the referendums, saying, “What they haven’t demonstrated through the legislative process is a compelling argument based on science and facts and when they go to the public they will need that. Pounding on doors and walls won’t be any more compelling to the public as it was to the Legislature.”
 
After Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed SB 277, which eliminated personal belief and religious exemptions from vaccination requirements, former Rep. Tim Donnelly (R-33) filed a veto referendum to overturn the law. On October 7, Donnelly said the campaign lacked financial contributions and signatures, which led to the veto referendum failing to make the ballot. While the signature requirement in 2015 was 365,880, the signature requirement in 2019 is a quarter-million higher at 623,212.
 
Californian’s have voted on 48 veto referendums since the state’s first in 1912. Voters upheld the targeted legislation in 20 veto referendum measures and repealed it in 28. Nationwide, between 1906 and 2018, 521 veto referendums appeared on the ballot in 23 states. Voters repealed 340 (65.3 percent) of the targeted laws and upheld 181 (34.7 percent). California has had the third most veto referendum measures certified for the ballot behind North Dakota (75) and Oregon (68).
 
 
 


Potential 2020 Florida initiatives: which have made progress?

Proponents of seven citizen initiatives in Florida have submitted enough valid signatures to trigger a ballot language review by the state supreme court. Sponsors must submit 76,632 valid signatures (10% of the number of signatures required statewide coming from at least seven of Florida’s congressional districts) to trigger a ballot language review by the state supreme court concerning whether or not the measure complies with the single-subject rule and whether or not the ballot title and summary are appropriate.
 
Proponents must submit a total of 766,200 valid signatures to qualify initiatives for the 2020 ballot. Signatures must be verified by February 1, 2020. Since state law gives the secretary of state 30 days to verify signatures, petitioners need to submit signatures on or before January 1, 2020, to guarantee that an initiative qualifies for the ballot in 2020.
 
Florida also has a signature distribution requirement, which requires that signatures equaling at least 8% of the district-wide vote in the last presidential election be collected from at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts. Petitions are allowed to circulate an initiative for an indefinite period of time, but signatures are valid for a two-year period of time; therefore, proponents must collect all of their signatures for verification within a two-year period.
 
One measure, Initiative #18-14 (designed to specify that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections), has more than the required number of total statewide valid signatures but has not yet officially met the distribution requirement in each district and county. Proponents of the measure reported submitting more than 1.5 million signatures in July.
 
The list below shows which initiatives have enough signatures to trigger a ballot language review and how many signatures are currently valid statewide:
 
 
An additional 11 measures have been filed in 2018 and 2019 targeting the 2020 ballot in Florida, but proponents have not yet submitted enough valid signatures to trigger the supreme court ballot language review. Initiative #19-11, sponsored by Make It Legal Florida, was the most recent filed initiative and would legalize recreational marijuana. It was approved for signature gathering on September 9, 2019.
 
A total of 91 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Florida between 1996 and 2018, with an average of between seven and eight measures appearing on the ballot during each even-numbered year. Between 1996 and 2018, 75.82% (69 of 91) of statewide measures were approved by voters and 24.18% (22 of 91) were defeated.


Nine vie for open Atlanta school board seat in bid to hold swing vote

A special election will be held on Tuesday for the District 2 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools school board. Nine candidates filed to run in the election. They had until July 10, 2019, to file for the seat and, if needed, a runoff election is scheduled for October 15.
 
The special election was called after Byron Amos resigned his seat in January 2019 to run for the Atlanta City Council. He was defeated in the runoff city council election in April. Amos served on the board from 2011 to 2019, most recently winning re-election in 2017. The winner of the special election will fill Amos’ unexpired school board term, which ends in 2021.
 
In a June 20 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the vacant seat “could be a critical swing vote on the board.” Due to the unoccupied seat, the board has had at least one vote end in a 4-4 tie, which led to the automatic defeat of a motion.
 
The nine candidates vying for the seat are Aretta Baldon, Christopher Brown, Keisha Carey, Will Chandler, Nathaniel Borrell Dyer, Davida Huntley, Ed Johnson, Chadd Jonesmith, and Paula Kupersmith. Carey challenged Amos in the 2017 election, losing the general runoff election with 49.51% of the vote. Dyer and Johnson also previously sought election to the Atlanta school board. Brown was previously a candidate for Atlanta City Council, and Chandler sought election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
 
Atlanta Public Schools served 60,133 students during the 2016-2017 school year.