Latest stories

Early voting for October 8 bond issues in Cary, North Carolina and other local elections begins Wednesday

During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is providing North Carolina voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. Our coverage includes North Carolina elections in 503 cities, towns, and villages, nine school districts, and 17 special districts.
 
Cary, North Carolina—the state’s seventh-largest town— is one of twelve municipalities in the state holding nonpartisan general elections on October 8 and is the only city in the state with October local ballot measures identified by Ballotpedia. October 8 elections in other municipalities include nonpartisan general elections, nonpartisan primaries, and partisan primary runoff elections if requested by the primary runner up.
 
Cary is holding general elections for mayor and three town council seats on October 8 with a runoff election scheduled for November 5, 2019. Cary voters will also decide two bond issues totaling $225 million: $112 million for parks and recreation and $113 million for transportation.
 
Early voting for this October 8 election runs from September 18 through October 4. Voters can also request a mail-in ballot through October 1. Voting centers will be open for the election on October 8 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
 
North Carolina holds its statewide elections in even-numbered years, but the majority of local elections to choose local governing officials—such as mayors and city council members—are held during odd-numbered years to alternate with the statewide races.
 
Additional reading:


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

Daniel Cameron (R) outraised Gregory Stumbo (D) $569,197 to $227,915 in Kentucky’s attorney general election, according to the most recent reports covering the period from July 20 through September 6.
 
At the end of the period, Cameron had $480,479 cash on hand to Stumbo’s $240,015 on hand. Cameron started the period with no cash on hand; Stumbo started with $152,136. 
 
In total, Cameron’s campaign has raised $967,625 and spent $487,146 since the first report of the primary election. Stumbo’s campaign has raised $417,095 and spent $177,080.
 
The next campaign finance filing deadline for Kentucky state races is October 13. The reports will cover receipts and expenditures through October 6 (30 days before the general election).
 
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but Kentucky’s election history suggests that the attorney general’s race will be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general position open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote. Trump endorsed Cameron on July 29, 2019.
 
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.
 


FCC proposes eliminating adjudication hearings in favor of written testimony

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comment on a proposal that would end the agency’s process of conducting live adjudication hearings before an administrative law judge (ALJ) in favor of a system that considers only written testimony and documentary evidence.
 
Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that resolve disputes between either an agency and a private party or between two private parties. Formal adjudication generally occurs when a statute other than the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires the agency to conduct a hearing on the record. Informal adjudication, which makes up nearly 90 percent of all agency adjudication proceedings, does not require a hearing and most often relies on oral or written testimony.
 
The FCC’s current adjudication process is subject to provisions of the Communications Act that require the agency to conduct hearings. Though the statute does not call for the agency to hold hearings on the record, which would mandate formal adjudication, the agency has nonetheless used formal adjudication procedures in some cases. The agency conducts these hearings like civil litigation trials, including live testimony before an ALJ, cross-examination of witnesses, and a decision from the ALJ that is subject to review by the FCC commissioners. However, the FCC “has observed that such trial-type hearings are costly and impose significant burdens and delays on both applicants and the agency that may not be necessary,” according to the proposed rule.
 
The modified hearing process would rely on written testimony and documentary evidence, enable FCC staff to act as case managers to supervise the written hearing record, and expedite the issuance of final orders by the FCC commissioners.
 
The public comment period will be open for 30 days following the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.
 


Federal Register weekly update; highest weekly final rule total since June

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 September 9 to September 13, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,432 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 48,546 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 544 documents, including 413 notices, eight presidential documents, 35 proposed rules, and 88 final rules.
 
Two 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 1,305 pages for a year-to-date total of 46,848 pages. As of September 13, the 2019 total led the 2018 total by 1,698 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,312 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of September 13. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During 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.
 
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.
 
Additional reading:
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2016


Four years ago, Republican presidential candidates hold second debate

 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, September 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Four years ago, Republican presidential candidates hold second debate
  2. California judge rules citizen-initiated local tax measures require two-thirds voter approval, state Supreme Court likely to decide issue
  3. Register for our September 30 Ballotpedia Insights session

Four years ago, Republican presidential candidates hold second debate

One thing I like to do is review our archive of news briefings from the last presidential election. Four years ago today—on September 16, 2015—Republicans held their second debate of the 2016 cycle. 

Fifteen candidates were invited to participate. The field was split into two segments with those candidates with the lowest polling averages debating in an early segment—often referred to in the media as an undercard—and those candidates with the highest polling averages participating in the debate that followed. The following 11 candidates—based on an average of all qualifying polls—participated in the second half of the event:

  • Jeb Bush
  • Ben Carson
  • Chris Christie
  • Ted Cruz
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Mike Huckabee
  • John Kasich
  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
  • Donald Trump
  • Scott Walker

The debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt, and Dana Bash were the moderators.

CNN announced the rules for which candidates would participate in May 2015. Those criteria specified that qualifying candidates must have: 

  • visited at least two of the following states no later than August 26—Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina;
  • one or more paid campaign aides working in at least two of the four states listed above by August 26; and
  • attained an average of 1 percent or higher in three national polls released between July 16, 2015, and September 10, 2015, as recognized by CNN.

Four candidates—Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum—participated in the first half of the event from 6:20 to 7:50 p.m. Eastern Time. Each had achieved an average of at least one percent in three national polls but were outside the top 11 candidates. Rick Perry was also originally scheduled to participate but he suspended his campaign five days earlier—on September 11, 2015.

The rules for both halves of the debate were the same. Candidates were each allowed 30 seconds at the beginning of the debate to introduce themselves. They had one minute to respond to direct questions, and, if another candidate mentioned their name, they were given 30 seconds for a rebuttal. At the end of each debate, candidates offered one-minute responses to the question of how the world would look after they left office.

Both halves of the debate featured significant deviations from these rules. Candidates engaged in direct back-and-forth exchanges with one another multiple times. Questions came from the three moderators and social media users. Topics ranged from leadership styles, qualifications, and electability to immigration, social security, the tax code, climate change, and foreign policy. 

The second half of the debate touched on a range of political, domestic, foreign policy and national security issues. The graph below shows the distribution of speaking time by the candidates:

2016 Debate

Trump had the most speaking time with 19.5 minutes and Walker had the least at 8.0 minutes. Walker suspended his campaign the following week—on September 21, 2015. In last week’s third Democratic debate—held September 12—Joe Biden had the most speaking time at 17.4 minutes.

Learn more

California judge rules citizen-initiated local tax measures require two-thirds voter approval, state Supreme Court likely to decide issue

A California Superior Court judge ruled September 5 that a local tax measure in Fresno was properly considered defeated because it required a two-thirds vote for approval. Judge Kimberly Gaab’s decision regarding the two-thirds vote requirement for Fresno Measure P differs from a ruling by Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman in a different case that the state’s supermajority vote requirement for local special taxes applied to tax measures referred to the ballot by lawmakers, but not to citizen initiatives. Because of the disagreement in rulings from the two superior court judges, the California Supreme Court will likely be the final arbiter upon appeal.

Fresno Measure P was designed to enact a 0.375% sales tax for 30 years to fund city parks, recreation, streets, and arts. It was put on the ballot by a citizen initiative and received approval from 52% of voters in 2018. The city certified the measure as defeated. The group Fresno Building Healthy Communities filed a lawsuit on February 1, 2019, claiming that because Measure P was a citizen initiative, it did not need to meet the supermajority requirement.

In July, Judge Schulman ruled that two 2018 ballot measures in San Francisco that were supported by a majority—but less than two-thirds—of voters were properly certified as approved by city officials. Both initiatives authorized taxes on certain city businesses to fund specific purposes.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 218 which included the requirement that local governments may only enact, extend, or increase a special tax with a two-thirds supermajority vote of the electorate. Following its passage, the two-thirds supermajority vote requirement was applied to legislative referrals and citizen initiatives.

In August 2017, the California Supreme Court categorized taxes imposed by citizen initiatives as separate from taxes imposed by local governments in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland. This ruling brought the supermajority vote requirement into question for special taxes proposed through citizen initiatives.

Judge Gaab said that the ruling in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland upon which the plaintiffs’ arguments were based differentiated between the election date issue addressed directly by the supreme court and the supermajority requirement issue. Her ruling stated, “The two-thirds vote requirement is not placed on the ‘local government.’ Rather, proposed special taxes must be ‘submitted to the electorate,’ which must approve the proposals by a two-thirds vote.” 

Prior to hearing arguments in the case, Judge Gaab stated that the vote threshold for citizen initiative tax measures “is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court or Legislature.” 

In 2018, eight local citizen initiatives in California proposing special taxes were approved by more than a simple majority but less than a two-thirds supermajority vote. Local officials declared two of the measures to be defeated based on the two-thirds supermajority requirement. The other six measures were certified as approved. 

Learn more→

Register for our September 30 Ballotpedia Insights session

Our next Ballotpedia Insights session will discuss ways that cities should approach growth and development. Our Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier, will interview Charles Marohn—an engineer and urban planner—about his upcoming book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity.

Ballotpedia Insights is a Q&A series with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, and subject matter experts. Each installment, we host a new speaker and ask them tailored questions designed to gain in-depth insight into their work. They’re a great opportunity to learn from some leading professionals involved in politics. They’re free to register and attend.

Among the topics to be discussed are the author’s opinions on the following questions:

  • Does growth and development work to resolve urban financial struggles?
  • Does new development generate wealth?
  • What is the best way to strengthen local communities?

Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns. He is a professional engineer in Minnesota and a land-use planner with two decades of experience. He was also featured in the documentary film Owned: A Tale of Two Americans and he was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen, a website about urban planning. 

The webinar will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Register today→

 



1,548 major party candidates filed with FEC for 2020 Congressional races; no new Congressional retirements last week

No members of the U.S. Senate or U.S. House announced 2020 retirements in the past week. To date, four Senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 19 Representatives (15 Republicans and four Democrats) are not running for re-election.
 
As of September 16, 2019, 240 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate in 2020. Of those, 215—112 Democrats and 103 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
 
1,420 candidates are filed with the FEC to run for U.S. House in 2020. Of those, 1,333—699 Democrats and 634 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
 
On November 3, 2012, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Thirty-three Senate races are regularly-scheduled elections, one is a special election in Arizona, and another is an expected special election in Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all the seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a 235-seat majority.
 
Additional reading:
 


Andrew Yang surpasses Pete Buttigieg in lifetime pageviews, leads for fifth consecutive week

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 4,826 pageviews for the week of September 8-14, which included the third Democratic presidential debate. Yang’s pageview figure represents 11.3% 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 fifth consecutive week leading in pageviews among Democratic candidates.
 
Every noteworthy Democratic candidate had more pageviews this week than the week before. The three largest pageview jumps were 78.2% for Julián Castro and 69.4% for Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar.
 
Last week, Andrew Yang became the overall leader in Democratic pageviews with 114,083 pageviews to Pete Buttigieg’s 114,073. Buttigieg had led in overall pageviews since April. Kamala Harris followed with 102,841 pageviews.
 
On the GOP side, Joe Walsh led the four declared candidates with 7,045 pageviews.
 


U.S. Supreme Court releases December argument calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its December argument calendar for the 2019-2020 term. The court will hear 12 hours of oral argument in 15 cases between December 2 and December 11.
 
As of September 16, 2019, the court had agreed to hear 44 cases in the upcoming term.
 
December 2
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York asks whether New York City’s ban on transporting a handgun outside of city limits violates the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel.
  • Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc. asks whether works that lack the force of law, like the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, are subject to copyright law.
 
December 3
  • Rodriguez v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation asks the Court to resolve a U.S. Court of Appeals split on how courts should decide tax refund ownership.
  • Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian asks whether federal law preempts clean-up costs at superfund sites beyond the clean-up ordered by the EPA.
 
December 4
  • Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma asks about the statute of limitations for filing claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
  • Banister v. Davis asks whether a motion to review an earlier judgment should be recharacterized as a second or successive habeas corpus petition.
 
December 9
  • Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr asks whether courts can review a request for equitable tolling of statutory motions to reopen as a matter of law. It was consolidated with Ovalles v. Barr.
  • Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP asks whether federal law permits an appeal of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to allow a procedure to challenge a patent claim if the one-year time limitation does not apply.
 
December 10
  • Maine Community Health Options v. United States asks whether Congress can prohibit a federal agency from paying a statutory obligation through appropriations provisions that restrict the use of funds for the payment. It was consolidated with both Moda Health Plan Inc. v. United States and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co. v. United States.
  • Holguin-Hernandez v. U.S. asks whether a criminal defendant must formally challenge a sentence’s length when it is announced for an appellate court to review the sentence.
 
December 11
  • Monasky v. Taglieri asks how to interpret the standard of review for habitual residence and how to establish habitual residence for purposes of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
  • McKinney v. Arizona asks whether a court must apply current law when reviewing mitigating and aggravating evidence to determine whether a death sentence is warranted.
Additional reading:


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: