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Thursday night is debate night

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, September 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Democratic presidential candidates participate in third debate tonight
  2. Local Roundup
  3. California Supreme Court will consider challenge to state law requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

Democratic presidential candidates participate in third debate tonight

The third Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight at Texas Southern University in Houston. The following 10 candidates will participate:

•    Joe Biden
•    Cory Booker
•    Pete Buttigieg
•    Julián Castro
•    Kamala Harris
•    Amy Klobuchar
•    Beto O’Rourke
•    Bernie Sanders
•    Elizabeth Warren
•    Andrew Yang

Here’s a quick primer to get you prepared. 

  • ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate. 

  • Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals. 

  • Candidates must have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. The candidate must also have received 2% support or more in four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. 

Both the fundraising and polling thresholds were higher for this debate—and the next debate in Ohio in October—then they were for the first two Democratic presidential debates held in June and July.

As part of our coverage of the presidential race, we track and report the number of views received by the candidates’ 2020 presidential campaign pages to show which ones are getting our readers’ attention. For the week ended September 7, Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia had 3,321 pageviews, more than any other Democratic candidate. This marked the fourth consecutive week Yang’s page received the most pageviews among the Democratic field. 

Axios reported on September 3 that Yang—along with Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard—had a “discrepancy between demonstrated voter support and the level of media coverage.” Yang, for example, had the sixth-highest polling average on Real Clear Politics among Democratic presidential candidates and received the 14th-most mentions in news articles and 13th-most mentions on cable news.

Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers like city clerk and treasurer. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials, local ballot measures, and special districts.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

Charlotte, North Carolina→

Incumbent Vi Lyles defeated four challengers to win the Democratic mayoral primary with 86.6% of the vote. She will face the sole Republican mayoral candidate—David Michael Rice—in the November 5 general election. Lyles is seeking her second two-year term as mayor. 


Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5 general election for mayor of Houston. 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. Although the mayor’s office is officially nonpartisan, Turner is a former Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Policy debates so far have focused on Turner’s record during his first term, especially his handling of the city’s budget. Local media outlets have identified four major challengers—Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. 

Boise, Idaho→

Eighteen candidates filed to run for four nonpartisan city offices—mayor and three of the six city council seats—that voters will decide in the city’s general election November 5. Incumbent David Bieter—who was first elected mayor in 2003—faces six challengers including councilwoman Lauren McLean. Although the mayor’s office is officially nonpartisan, Bieter is a former Democratic member of the Idaho House of Representatives.

California Supreme Court will consider challenge to state law requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

The California Supreme Court voted unanimously August 21 to consider whether a new law that requires presidential candidates to file their tax returns with the state conflicts with a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1972. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Senate Bill 27 (SB 27) into law July 30 requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to file copies of their last five federal income tax returns in order to appear on the primary election ballot. The bill passed the state Senate by a 29-10 vote and the state House, 57-17, with all votes in favor by Democrats and all votes against by Republicans.

Several individuals and organizations—including President Donald Trump (R)—filed lawsuits in federal district court to declare SB 27 in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The California Republican Party also filed a lawsuit in state court against the law August 6 and asked the state’s highest court to decide whether SB 27 violates the California Constitution, including Proposition 4 (1972). 

Proposition 4 stated that presidential primary candidates on the ballot are “those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of the President of the United States, and those whose names placed on the ballot by petition.” Voters approved the measure, 61.4% to 38.6%, on June 6, 1972.

Written arguments in the case were due to be filed yesterday. The court has asked all parties to address the legislative history of Proposition 4 and related laws and the guidelines that the secretary of state has employed to assess who is a recognized candidate.

A legal filing challenging SB 27 said that the law prohibited the Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) —who is named as a defendant in the suit—”from exercising his constitutionally delegated duty to place the name of all nationally recognized presidential candidates” on the primary ballot. 

State lawyers representing Padilla said in a filing that Proposition 4 “imposes no mandatory duty on the secretary of state, but rather provides that the secretary will ‘find’ candidates that are ‘recognized … throughout the nation’ and include them on California primary ballots.”


North Carolina’s map struck down

North Carolina court strikes down state legislative maps as partisan gerrymanders

On Sept. 3, a North Carolina court struck down the state’s legislative district plan as an impermissible partisan gerrymander under the state constitution. The plaintiffs, which included Common Cause and the Democratic Party of North Carolina, alleged that the district maps the North Carolina General Assembly adopted in 2017 infringed on the equal protection, free speech, association, and free elections rights guaranteed in the state constitution. These maps are displayed below.

Senate map

The Senate district map adopted by the legislature on August 30, 2017

House map

The House district map adopted by the legislature on August 30, 2017

How did the court rule? The three-judge panel of state superior court judges – Paul C. Ridgeway, Joseph N. Crosswhite, and Alma L. Hinton – ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiffs. In their ruling, the judges wrote, “[The] 2017 Enacted Maps, as drawn, do not permit voters to freely choose their representative, but rather representatives are choosing voters based upon sophisticated partisan sorting. It is not the free will of the people that is fairly ascertained through extreme partisan gerrymandering. Rather, it is the carefully crafted will of the map drawer that predominates.” Ridgeway, Crosswhite, and Hinton were all elected to their positions on the bench.

What are the responses? Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, praised the court’s decision: “The court has made clear that partisan gerrymandering violates our state’s constitution and is unacceptable. Thanks to the court’s landmark decision, politicians in Raleigh will no longer be able to rig our elections through partisan gerrymandering.”

Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger (R), although critical of the court’s ruling, announced state Republicans would not appeal the decision: “We disagree with the court’s ruling as it contradicts the Constitution and binding legal precedent, but we intend to respect the court’s decision and finally put this divisive battle behind us.”

What comes next? The court ordered state lawmakers to draft remedial maps by Sept. 18, 2019, for use in the 2020 elections. If lawmakers fail to adopt remedial maps, the court will appoint a referee to develop and recommend remedial maps to the court.

What’s the political context? All 50 seats in the state Senate and all 120 seats in the state House are up for election in 2020. The primary is slated for March 3, 2020, with the candidate filing period scheduled to end on December 20, 2019. Currently, North Carolina operates under a divided government. Governor Roy Cooper (D) has announced he will seek re-election. Republicans have a 29-21 majority in the Senate and a 65-55 majority in the House.

What’s the legal context? Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a joint ruling in Rucho v. Common Cause (another partisan gerrymandering claim originating in North Carolina) and Lamone v. Benisek (which originated in Maryland). In a 5-4 decision, the court held that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions that fall beyond the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary. The high court did not address the viability of partisan gerrymandering claims under state law, the grounds for this month’s ruling in North Carolina.

What are some potential effects of the decision? The impact of the decision could reach beyond legislative elections. I spoke to my co-worker, Ryan Byrne, who covers the initiative and referendum process in North Carolina for us. He noted that the ruling could affect the state’s constitutional amendment process. “If redistricting makes control of the legislature more competitive, passing a constitutional amendment along strictly party lines would be much more difficult. Passing a constitutional amendment in North Carolina requires a 60-percent vote in both the House and Senate. Before the election on Nov. 6, 2018, Republicans controlled at least 60 percent of the seats since 2013. Between 2000 and 2018, there were 13 constitutional amendments referred to voters by the legislature. In the 2018 legislative session, the legislature referred six constitutional amendments to voters, and four of those wouldn’t have been possible without Republican supermajorities. Unless Democrats and Republicans have 60 percent supermajorities in each legislative chamber, passing amendments to the North Carolina Constitution will require some cross-party support.”

Maine expected to use ranked-choice voting in 2020 presidential election

On Sept. 6, Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) announced she would take no immediate action on legislation providing for ranked-choice voting in presidential elections. Instead, Mills signaled she would allow LD1083 to become law without her signature at the start of the new year. As a result, its effective date will occur after the March 3 presidential primaries, allowing for the implementation of RCV in the 2020 general election only. In a statement to legislators, Mills said, “By not signing this bill now, I am giving the Legislature an opportunity to appropriate funds and to take any other appropriate action in the Second Regular Session to fully implement ranked-choice voting in all aspects of presidential elections as the Legislature sees fit.”

LD1083 cleared the Maine House of Representatives on June 19 by a vote of 86-59 (with five members absent and one excused). The Maine Senate did not adopt the legislation by the close of the regular legislative session in June. When the legislature reconvened for a special one-day session on Aug. 26, the Senate took the bill up again and approved it by a vote of 20-12 (with three members excused).

Maine is poised to become the first state to use ranked-choice voting in presidential elections. In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt ranked-choice voting for federal and state-level elections. Although constitutional conflicts prevent its use in state-level general elections, ranked-choice voting has survived a series of other legal challenges and was first implemented in the 2018 congressional elections and state-level primaries.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills

The maps below show which states are considering redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems legislation. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation as of Sept. 10, 2019

Redistricting legislation map as of Sept. 10, 2019

Electoral systems legislation as of Sept. 10, 2019

Electoral systems legislation map as of Sept. 10, 2019

Primary systems legislation as of Sept. 10, 2019

Primary systems legislation map as of Sept. 10, 2019

Bishop (R) wins NC-9 special election

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, Sept. 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Bishop (R), Murphy (R) win congressional special elections in North Carolina
  2. 1,617 candidates have filed with the FEC to run for Congress in 2020
  3. Judge may call for special election after state Senate primary was decided by one vote

Bishop (R), Murphy (R) win congressional special elections in North Carolina

North Carolina’s 9th

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R) defeated Dan McCready (D) and two other candidates in Tuesday’s special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. With 99% of precincts counted, Bishop had 50.8% of the vote to McCready’s 48.6%.

On Feb. 21, the state board of elections voted unanimously to call a new election in the district following investigations of absentee ballot fraud in the 2018 race.

The special election featured more than $10.7 million in satellite spending as of Sept. 6, which is the second-highest amount ever spent in a U.S. House special election. Satellite spending was $27 million in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2017. 

During the campaign, Bishop talked about his record in the state legislature including his work in 2018 to help pass a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, lower income taxes, and oppose sanctuary cities. McCready—who was also the nominee in the 2018 race—campaigned on his plan to lower prescription drug prices and said he’d seek bipartisan legislation on health care, education, and taxes in the House. 

Donald Trump (R) won the district over Hillary Clinton (D) in the 2016 presidential election, 54.4% to 42.8%.

North Carolina’s 3rd

State Rep. Greg Murphy (R) defeated Allen Thomas (D) and two other candidates in the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. With 82% of precincts counted, Murphy received 61% of the vote to Thomas’ 39%. The special election was called after the previous incumbent—Rep. Walter Jones (R)—died on Feb. 10.

Murphy linked himself to President Trump and highlighted his work as a physician and state legislator. Thomas emphasized economic development, small-town revitalization, and improving access to health care.

According to campaign finance reports from January 1 through August 21, Murphy raised $902,000 and spent $803,000. Thomas raised $565,000 and spent $476,000. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the district, 60.5% to 36.9%.


1,617 candidates have filed with the FEC to run for Congress in 2020

232 candidates have filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for one of 35 U.S. Senate seats in 2020. Two hundred six of those candidates—108 Democrats and 98 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. 

In 2018, 527 candidates filed to run for 35 Senate seats, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans. 

On the House side, 1,385 candidates have filed so far to run in 2020.  This includes 686 Democrats and 615 Republicans. 

In 2018, 3,244 House candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans. All 435 House seats are up for election every two years.

A person who files with the FEC to run for Congress must complete a two-page “Statement of Candidacy” form either on paper or online. Candidates must provide their address, the office they are seeking, and their signature. They must also name any committees working to elect them.  The figures are as of the most recent FEC files on September 9. 

FEC rules state that an individual is considered a candidate and must file a statement of candidacy after raising $5,000 or more for their campaign. However, if the person is only exploring a candidacy—either through polling or touring the district—no formal declaration is required. Once someone conducts certain activities, such as making statements that refer to themselves as a candidate or taking action to qualify for the ballot, he or she must register as a candidate.

Judge may call for special election after state Senate primary was decided by one vote

A special primary election may take place in some precincts in a Mississippi state Senate district after the trailing candidate contested the results of August’s Republican primary—which was decided by a single vote.  

A special judge of the state Supreme Court will decide whether some or all of the district’s voters will cast new ballots after a hearing which is expected later this week.

When all ballots were counted after the Aug. 6 primary, Dixie Newman led Scott DeLano by one vote, 3,184 to 3,183. Those results were certified after a recount was completed Aug. 24.

DeLano contested the certified results Sept. 3 with the Republican Executive Committee of Harrison County claiming that some voters in five precincts were not given the correct ballots. The committee said it did not have the power to call a new election, but it did vote to allow DeLano to petition a judge for a special election in those precincts. If the judge orders a new election, any district voter in those five precincts would be eligible to vote.

Incumbent Tommy Gollott (R) resigned from the legislature before the end of his term on July 1. Since no Democratic candidate filed to run for the seat, the winner of the Republican primary will become the district’s new state Senator. 

All 52 seats in the Mississippi Senate are up for election in 2019. Republicans control the chamber 31-18, with three vacancies. Mississippi is also holding elections for all state executive officers—including the governor—and all 122 seats in the state House on Nov. 5. 

Mississippi has been a Republican trifecta since the beginning of the 2012 legislative session. 


Steyer launches $1 million ad campaign in IA, NV, SC


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 11, 2019: Tom Steyer is airing two new ads in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina as part of a $1 million campaign. Joe Walsh and Bill Weld will attend a debate on Sept. 24.

 Daily Presidential News Briefing - Facebook Ad Spending (September 2-8, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Put another way, if you’re wondering why candidates such as Castro and Booker aren’t gaining more traction despite seemingly having run competent campaigns, the answer may have less to do with them and more to do with the fact that the field has a lot of heavyweights. Biden is a former two-term vice president; Sanders was the runner-up last time and basically built an entire political movement, and Warren and Harris have been regarded as potential frontrunners since virtually the moment that Donald Trump won the White House. The years that produce volatile, topsy-turvy nomination races, such as the 1992 Democratic primary, tend to be those where a lot of top candidates sit out, perhaps because they’re fearful of running against an incumbent with high approval ratings.”

– Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight



  • Donald Trump endorsed Ben Sasse—a Trump critic who opposed his 2016 presidential run—in his Senate reelection campaign.

  • Joe Walsh and Bill Weld will attend a debate on Sept. 24, 2019. A spokesperson said Mark Sanford would attend if a scheduling conflict was resolved. Trump was invited but did not respond. Business Insider will stream the event live.

Flashback: September 11, 2015

Rick Perry became the first noteworthy Republican candidate to suspend his presidential campaign.



Recall efforts against two Colorado state senators end with no signatures submitted

The organizers of recall efforts targeting Colorado state Sen. Pete Lee (D) and state Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D) notified the secretary of state’s office on September 10 that they would not be turning in signatures for either recall effort. Recall organizers had until September 10 to turn 11,304 signatures for the Lee recall and until September 16 to turn in 18,376 signatures for the Pettersen recall. 
Both Sen. Lee and Sen. Pettersen were targeted for recall because of their support of the same four bills during the 2019 legislative session. The legislation was related to firearms, oil and gas, the national popular vote, and sex education. 
  • The firearms bill was designed to temporarily remove firearms from people who were deemed a threat to themselves or others. Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed this bill in April 2019.
  • The oil and gas bill was designed to give local governments more control over regulating the industry. It also mandates that the state emphasize safety over promoting oil and gas production. Polis signed this bill in April 2019.
  • The national popular vote bill was designed to award Colorado’s electoral college votes in the presidential election to the winner of the national popular vote. Polis signed this bill in March 2019.
  • The sex education bill was designed to update the state’s curriculum for school districts that offer that education. The bill added instruction on such things as sexual orientation, consent, STDs, and pregnancy prevention. Polis signed this bill in May 2019.
The state Senate’s president, Leroy Garcia (D), is also facing an official recall due to similar legislation. The signatures for that recall are due on October 18. 
Gov. Polis (D), Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D), and Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) all faced recall campaigns in 2019 due to the same legislation as Lee and Pettersen, but none of the three recall efforts reached the ballot. The Polis recall ended on September 6 after supporters failed to submit the required number of signatures. The recall targeting Galindo ended after she resigned in May 2019. The recall targeting Sullivan ended in June 2019 after recall supporters abandoned the effort.
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.
Additional reading: 

Trump rallies in NC for two special elections

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

September 10, 2019: Donald Trump held a rally Monday at the Crown Expo Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

How many sitting presidents have lost their bids for renomination?

Notable Quote of the Day

“The broader bets, made very early in the election cycle, signify some defining characteristics of Trump’s 2020 effort. To win, Trump probably needs to come up with a different set of states than those that garnered 304 electoral college votes and carried him to the White House: public polls show his disapproval ratings swamp his approval numbers by at least 9 percentage points in his 2016 blue-to-red trifecta of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

But Trump is flush with funds. With more than $100 million in cash on hand, Trump’s campaign has the freedom to look for unorthodox opportunities to seek out electoral votes in other parts of the country. That massive money haul will be used to mobilize support in states Trump lost narrowly, and in some cases broadly, and where his campaign feels there are enough untapped Trump supporters to tip the balance in his favor, his campaign says.”

– Brian Bennett, TIME


  • McClatchy DC reported on Joe Biden’s campaign organization in Iowa, including a comparison to Elizabeth Warren’s more hyperlocal style.

  • Bill de Blasio visited Puerto Rico Monday to discuss disaster relief efforts.

  • Steve Bullock campaign manager Jennifer Ridder sent donors a memo Tuesday outlining Bullock’s path to victory, which includes a focus on Iowa.

  • Pete Buttigieg hired Jarvis Houston to be his South Carolina state director, where the campaign has placed 33 staffers.

  • John Delaney discussed the vulnerabilities of higher-polling candidates in an interview on CNN. 

  • Tulsi Gabbard spoke about the primary debates, suing Google, and the state of the Democratic Party in an interview on The Rubin Report.

  • Kamala Harris discussed her criminal justice plan in an interview on MSNBC.

  • In an interview on WBUR’s Here & Now, Amy Klobuchar spoke about her political identity, the 2016 presidential election, humor in politics, the opioid crisis, and the first overseas trip she’d make as president.

  • Wayne Messam spoke at a Broward College class Monday night.

  • Politico profiled the changed tone of Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign.

  • Tim Ryan released a policy album on music streaming service Spotify that includes 10 tracks with his positions on gun violence, immigration, and other issues.

  • The New York Times reported on the 1987 trip to Canada that drove Bernie Sanders’ position on healthcare.

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer profiled Joe Sestak and his grassroots campaign in Iowa.

  • Tom Steyer will hold a town hall Tuesday in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

  • Warren endorsed Jessica Cisneros and Marie Newman, two congressional candidates launching primary challenges to Democratic incumbents.

  • Andrew Yang attended a fundraiser in Richmond, Texas, at the home of Asian American Democratic Club founder Ling Luo.


Flashback: September 10, 2015

Bobby Jindal spoke at the National Press Club about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.


Exclusive: Volume 9 of Ballotpedia’s state legislative competitiveness report

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, September 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. More than half of all state legislative seats this year have only one major party candidate
  2. Mississippi group submits signatures for initiative legalizing medical marijuana
  3. 49% of Ballotpedia survey respondents prefer to vote early or absentee 

More than half of all state legislative seats this year have only one major party candidate

We released our 9th Annual State Legislative Competitiveness Report September 4 analyzing the 538 regular state legislative elections taking place this fall in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. We’ve prepared this report annually since 2010.

Our Annual State Legislative Competitiveness Report focuses on three factors affecting competitiveness:

  • Incumbents not seeking re-election

  • Number of races with at least two candidates on the ballot in primary elections

  • Races without major party competition

We do this analysis every year and in odd-numbered years, it only covers elections in the four states holding state legislative contests in those years. During even-numbered years, it covers elections in up to 46 states.

Here are three highlights from this study:

  • 56% of all regular state legislative races have a candidate from either the Democratic or Republican Parties, but not both. In 2015—the last time these seats were up for regular election—61% of races had a candidate from one major party, but not both. In 2011, this figure was 43%. 

  • More incumbents—129 out of 435, or 30%—faced primary challengers in 2019 than in 2015 or 2017. In 2017, 16% of incumbents faced primary challengers, and in 2015, 22% of incumbents faced primary challengers.

  • 103 state legislative incumbents—19%—are not seeking re-election. Of those, 62  are Republicans, 39 are Democrats, and two are Independents. This is the highest percentage of incumbents not running for re-election in odd-year state legislative elections this decade. In 2011, 18% of state legislative incumbents did not seek another term. 

This analysis also contains lots of historical data, including breakdowns of our findings by state and legislative chamber, the effect of term limits, and incumbents defeated in party primaries. And we compare these statistics with previous odd-numbered election years this decade so you can see relevant averages and trends. There’s so much great information here – click the link to read more.

Mississippi group submits signatures for initiative legalizing medical marijuana 

Mississippi voters may soon have the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana. 

A Mississippi group—Mississippians for Compassionate Care—reported submitting more than 214,000 signatures last week in support of an initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state. A total of 86,185 valid signatures are required to qualify the measure for the November 2020 ballot.  

If enough signatures are found valid, the initiative goes to the state legislature, which cannot prevent it from going before voters but can put an alternative measure on the ballot along with the initiative.

This initiative would provide for a medical marijuana program in Mississippi under the direction of the Mississippi Department of Health. Individuals with certain debilitating medical conditions—as specified in the initiative—could seek a certification from a Mississippi-licensed physician to obtain medical marijuana. Nothing in the measure would require a physician to issue a certification for a patient to obtain medical marijuana. 

These signatures must be certified by the county clerks in each county and verified by the secretary of state to ensure they are from voters distributed across the state’s congressional districts. No more than one-fifth of all signatures can be from one of the Mississippi’s five congressional districts. Any signatures over that amount from one district will be disregarded.

The measure also specifies that no qualified patient could possess more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at one time and that no more than 2.5 ounces could be provided to a patient in a 14-day period. Under the measure, no medical marijuana treatment center could be located within 500 feet of a school, church, or child-care establishment.

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 13 states—including Mississippi—have legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes.

Medical marijuana by state

The last time Mississippi voters had a statewide measure on the ballot was in 2015 when they defeated both a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment and its alternative put on the ballot by the legislature regarding education.

49% of Ballotpedia survey respondents prefer to vote early or absentee 

Voters in North Carolina will decide two congressional special elections today—in the 3rd and 9th districts. Ballotpedia will have live results from both races on Tuesday night and provide a summary of the results in the Brew Wednesday morning.

Our preview of these two elections last week discussed the number of mail-in absentee and in-person early ballots that had been accepted in both races. This prompted last week’s What’s the Tea? question:  


Click here to learn more about early voting



Dan Bishop (R) wins NC-09 special election

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R) defeated Dan McCready (D), Jeff Scott (L), and Allen Smith (G) in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election on September 10, 2019. Bishop received 50.8% of the vote to McCready’s 48.6% with 99% of precincts reporting, in addition to early voting results. The state board of elections called the special election following allegations of absentee ballot fraud in the 2018 race.
As of September 6, the special election had seen more than $10.7 million in satellite spending, the second-highest total for a U.S. House special election (Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election in 2017 saw $27 million spent by satellite groups). McCready’s campaign raised $5 million to Bishop’s $2 million through August 21.
Throughout the race, Bishop highlighted his support for President Donald Trump (R), who endorsed and campaigned for Bishop, and sought to connect McCready to Democrats in Congress such as Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who Bishop called radical socialists. Bishop described himself as a “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-wall” conservative.
McCready emphasized his plan to lower prescription drug prices and criticized Bishop’s voting record on the issue. McCready said he would “always put country over party” and pursue bipartisan legislation on healthcare, taxes, and education. He was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden (D).
Trump won the 9th District by 12 percentage points in 2016. In the uncertified results of the 2018 House race, Republican candidate Mark Harris led McCready by 905 votes.

Murphy defeats Thomas in NC-03 special election

State Rep. Greg Murphy (R) defeated Allen Thomas (D), Tim Harris (L), and Greg Holt (Constitution Party) in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on September 10, 2019. Murphy received 60.6% of the vote to Thomas’ 38.6% with 82% of precincts reporting, in addition to early voting results.
The special election was called after former incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R) died on February 10, 2019.
Murphy campaigned on his support of President Trump and highlighted his work as a physician and state legislator. Thomas emphasized economic development, small-town revitalization, and improving access to healthcare in his campaign.
According to campaign finance reports through August 21, Murphy raised $902,000 and spent $803,000, and Thomas raised $565,000 and spent $476,000. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the district with 61% of the vote.

Andrew Yang leads in pageviews for fourth consecutive week, Kamala Harris becomes third candidate to reach 100,000 views

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
Andrew Yang’s campaign page on Ballotpedia received 3,321 pageviews for the week of September 1-7. Yang’s pageview figure represents 10.5% of the pageviews for all Democratic candidates during the week. Joe Biden had 8.7% of the pageviews for the week, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 7.7%. This is Yang’s fourth consecutive week with the most pageviews among Democrats.
Every noteworthy Democratic candidate had fewer Ballotpedia pageviews last week than the week before. The three candidates with the smallest week-over-week declines in pageviews were Beto O’Rourke (-19.2%), Amy Klobuchar (-29.7%), and Pete Buttigieg (-33.0%).
Buttigieg remains the leader in overall pageviews this year with 111,101. He is followed by Yang with 109,257 and Kamala Harris with 100,164.
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 5,339 pageviews to former Rep. Joe Walsh’s 4,496 and President Trump’s 1,187.