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Ballotpedia study shows that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings

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A Ballotpedia study of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) showed that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings, as of August 2020. Administrative agencies in those states hear oral testimony during hearings like a state court.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Because state administrative agencies are not part of the judicial branch of government, adjudication proceedings before them do not necessarily afford the same procedural protections as in a courtroom trial. While oral testimony is customary in a courtroom, agencies may not always have to accept oral evidence during adjudication.

Twenty-nine states require agencies to accept oral testimony during hearings. Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that those states require acceptance of oral evidence.

When states listed exceptions to a general rule that agencies should accept oral testimony during hearings, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they sometimes require acceptance of oral evidence. Seven states have provisions like this.

When states allowed administrative agencies to accept either written or oral evidence during hearings, or left whether to accept oral testimony to the discretion of the hearing officer, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they do not require agencies to accept oral evidence. Fourteen states have provisions like this.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:

Procedural rights: States that require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

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August breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.0% Republicans, 46.8% Democrats

Ballotpedia’s latest analysis of the partisan affiliation of all 7,383 state legislators in the United States shows 46.8% of state legislators are Democrats and 52.0% are Republicans. The partisan composition of state legislators stayed consistent as compared with July 2020.

Every month, Ballotpedia analyzes the partisan composition of state legislatures—1,972 state Senate seats and 5,411 state House seats. In August, Democrats and Republicans each lost one seat. Vacancies increased by one seat.

As of August 2020, the Democratic Party holds 875 state Senate seats nationwide and the Republican Party holds 1,081. In state Houses, Democrats hold 2,579 districts to Republicans’ 2,758. There are currently 56 vacant seats and 34 that are held by independent and third-party officials.

At the time of the 2018 elections, 7,280 state legislators were affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. There were 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 4,023 Republican state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.


Ballotpedia study shows that no states provide for juries to participate in agency adjudication hearings

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A Ballotpedia survey of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) revealed that no state constitutions or APAs provide for juries to participate in agency adjudication hearings, as of August 2020. Thus, hearing officers or other agency officials preside over and decide the outcome of adjudications instead of people from the community.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Because state administrative agencies are unlike traditional state courts, the same rules do not always apply. The absence of jury participation is a way agency adjudication differs from the traditional judicial process that state courts follow.

Understanding adjudication procedures provides insight into due process procedural rights of citizens at the state level. Procedural rights is one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:

Procedural rights: States that provide for juries to participate in agency adjudication hearings

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

Additional reading:


Congressional retirements by month, 2011-2020 — a Ballotpedia analysis

Between 2011 and July 2020, Ballotpedia tracked 243 retirement announcements from members of the U.S. House and Senate. January saw the highest number of retirement announcements of any month at 45—31 during even-number years and 14 during odd-number years, when no regular congressional elections are held.

February and November had the second-highest total announcements at 27 each. Sixteen February announcements occurred during an election year and 11 during an off year. Most November announcements—24—took place during off years. The three November election year announcements were for the following election cycle.

The fewest retirements—eight—were announced in June. Six of those occurred during odd-number years. August and October saw the second-fewest announcements at 11 each. All of those except for one announcement occurred during off years.

As of August 26, 41 members of Congress—four U.S. senators and 37 U.S. representatives—are not running for re-election in 2020 (not including incumbents who resigned or otherwise left office early). In 2018, 55 members didn’t seek re-election. Forty-five members retired in 2016. In 2014, 48 members retired. And in 2012, 50 members retired.

See our analysis for numbers of announcements by month and year, as well as a data table that includes each officeholder who announced a retirement, their party, the announcement date, and more.


Ballotpedia study shows that 46 states allow administrative agencies to choose whether to follow formal adjudication procedures

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A Ballotpedia study of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) showed that 46 state constitutions or APAs allow administrative agencies to choose whether to follow formal adjudication procedures in administrative hearings, as of August 2020. Those states allow administrative agencies to settle these cases informally with fewer procedural safeguards than the formal adjudication process provides.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Formal adjudication procedures approximate those of a traditional state court and include trial-like, adversarial hearings with witnesses, a written record, and a final decision made by a neutral presiding officer. Informal adjudication procedures vary but do not necessarily require a hearing with oral testimony, cross-examination of witnesses, or a verbatim stenographic record.

Most states allowed the agencies and accused parties to decide whether to go through a formal adjudication or to reach an informal settlement. Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that those states do not require formal adjudication.

When states listed exceptions to a general rule that agencies should follow formal adjudication procedures, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they sometimes require formal adjudication.

Understanding adjudication procedures provides insight into the due process and procedural rights of citizens at the state level. Procedural rights is one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:

Procedural rights: States that require agencies to follow formal adjudication procedures in administrative hearings

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

Additional reading:


Ballotpedia study shows that every state allows administrative agencies to impose monetary penalties without a court order

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A Ballotpedia survey of all 50 states showed that no state constitutions or Administrative Procedure Acts (APAs), as of May 2020, require administrative agencies to get a court order before imposing monetary penalties as a result of adjudication proceedings. Those state constitutions and APAs let agencies impose penalties without involving the judicial branch of the state government.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Understanding limits on agencies’ ability to impose monetary penalties provides insight into procedural rights at the state level. Procedural rights is one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here: Procedural rights: States that allow agencies to impose monetary penalties without a court order

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

Additional reading:


97% of state legislative incumbents have so far advanced past primaries, on track with recent cycles

The final primary of the the 2020 election cycle takes place in Delaware on September 15. So far in 2020, 97.3% of state legislators seeking re-election have advanced from their primaries, putting 2020 on track to mirror turnover rates recorded in 2018 and 2016.

Eighty-six of the nation’s state legislative chambers in 44 states are holding regularly-scheduled elections in 2020. In the 33 states where we have final results from state legislative primaries, 3,140 incumbents filed for re-election. Of that number, 84 incumbents lost their primary.

Here’s how that figure compares to the last two even-numbered years:
  1. In 2018, 147 incumbents lost in primaries out of the 4,952 state legislators that filed for re-election. This means that 97.0% of incumbents seeking re-election advanced from the primary.
  2. In 2016, 123 incumbents lost in primaries of the 4,895 state legislators seeking re-election. This means that 97.5% of incumbents advanced from the primary.

The 84 incumbents who have lost so far in 2020 include 59 Republicans and 25 Democrats. The states with the most incumbents that were defeated in the primary are Kansas and West Virginia—with 10 each. In both states, all 10 defeated incumbents were Republicans.

Looking at just the 33 states where we have final results from state legislative primaries, here is a breakdown of 2020 as compared with 2016 and 2018:

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July 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 52.01% Republicans, 46.80% Democrats

July’s partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States shows 52.01% of all state legislators are Republicans and 46.80% are Democrats.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. This refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in each chamber. Republicans hold a majority in 61 chambers and Democrats hold a majority in 37 chambers. Alaska’s chamber is the only one to have a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

The state legislatures include 1,972 state senator and 5,411 state representative offices. Republicans hold 1,077 state senate seats—4 less than in June—and 2,763 state house seats—down five seats from last month. Democrats hold 3,455 of the 7,383 state legislative seats—875 state senate seats (up two seats) and 2,580 state house seats (down four seats). Independent or third-party legislators hold 33 seats, of which 29 are state house seats and four state senate seats. There are 55 vacant seats.

For the month of July, both parties saw a decrease in state representation, with Republicans and Democrats holding .15% and .02% fewer seats, respectively.

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Thirty-four states have statewide mask orders—what are the restrictions in your state?

Thirty-four states have statewide orders requiring individuals to wear masks in indoor or outdoor public spaces, as of August 6. All 24 states with a Democratic governor have statewide mask orders, while 10 out of 26 Republican states require face coverings.

The mask requirements have been issued across five months:
Three orders have been issued in August.
13 orders were initially issued in July.
Four orders were initially issued in June.
Six orders were initially issued in May.

Eight orders were initially issued in April.

No states have allowed their mask orders to expire. Georgia is the only state where a statewide executive order prohibits localities from implementing mask restrictions.



Before the 19th Amendment, the women’s suffrage movement campaigned for 54 ballot measures in 30 states

The 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920. The 19th Amendment prohibited the government from denying or abridging the right to vote on account of sex, meaning that women were guaranteed the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution.

Before the 19th Amendment, the women’s suffrage movement also campaigned for changes to state constitutions to provide women with a right to vote. Suffragists Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler, in their book Woman Suffrage and Politics (1923), wrote that state ballot measures “spun the main thread of suffrage activity” in the movement’s earlier years and were seen as stepping stones to national suffrage. “I don’t know the exact number of States we shall have to have,” said Susan B. Anthony, “but I do know that there will come a day when that number will automatically and resistlessly act on the Congress of the United States to compel the submission of a federal suffrage amendment.” When asked about federal support for women’s suffrage in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt told the suffrage movement to “Go, get another State.”

Until 1869, the American Equal Rights Association (AERA) was the leading suffragist organization in the United States. AERA dissolved due to disagreements over strategies and the 15th Amendment, which addressed race, but not gender, and the right to vote. From AERA came the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which aimed to win suffrage for women on a state-by-state basis, and the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), which aimed to achieve suffrage through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. AWSA and NWSA reconsolidated in 1890, with the new organization focused on both state referendums and a federal amendment for women’s suffrage.

Between 1867 and August 18, 1920, 54 ballot measures to grant women’s suffrage were on the ballot in 30 states. Fifteen (15) of the ballot measures were approved, giving women the right to vote in 15 states. Since women did not have suffrage until after the ballot measures were approved, male voters decided the outcome of suffrage ballot measures.

In 1867, Kansas became the first state to vote on a state constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage. The constitutional amendment was rejected by 69% to 31%.

From 1867 to 1889, male voters in Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington rejected ballot measures for women’s suffrage. Voters in Wyoming, however, approved their first state constitution in 1889, and one of the provisions provided for women’s suffrage. Wyoming became the first state to give women the right to vote.

In 1893, Colorado became the first state to pass a standalone constitutional amendment on women’s suffrage. The male electorate approved the amendment 55% to 45%.

Utah (1895) and Idaho (1896) followed Colorado, with voters in both states passing ballot measures that addressed women’s right to vote. Between 1896 and 1910, the movement lost at the ballot box on 10 occasions.

Victories accumulated west of the Great Plains. Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Oregon (1912), Montana (1914), and Nevada (1914) passed constitutional amendments. In Arizona, the male electorate voted 68% to 32%, which was the largest margin to approve a women’s suffrage amendment. In 1917, Montana elected the first woman to Congress—Jeannette Rankin, who was president of the Montana Women’s Suffrage Association and an organizer for the ballot measure campaigns in Washington and Montana.

With the exception of New Mexico, which never voted on a women’s suffrage ballot measure, the map of states that endorsed women’s suffrage and states that did not set up a west-east divide. While 11 states east of the Mississippi voted on women’s suffrage ballot measures, just two approved them. New York passed an amendment in 1917, and Michigan passed one in 1918.

Most of the states that provided women with the right to vote before the 19th Amendment did not do so on their first attempts. Nine of the 15 states voted on women’s suffrage more than once before passing an amendment. Voters in Oregon and South Dakota even voted on the issue six times.

According to the National Women’s History Museum, the beginning of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement is dated as 1848. At the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, which was the first women’s rights convention in the United States, organizers declared that men and women are created equal and, therefore, have the same civic rights and privileges, including “the inalienable right to the elective franchise.” The women’s suffrage movement era concluded 72 years later in 1920.

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