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New York mayoral primaries preview – The Daily Brew for 06/11/21

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

  1. Previewing the New York mayoral race
  2. Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state
  3. #Fridaytrivia

Previewing the New York mayoral race

The New York mayoral primaries are on June 22—less than two weeks away. As the date approaches, let’s take a look at what we know about the races.

Sixteen Democrats and three Republicans are running in the primary elections. There will be both Democratic and Republican primaries. The winners will advance to the general election on Nov. 2.

The primary election will feature the first use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to win the election, and votes for eliminated candidates are redistributed based on the next preference on the ballot. Official tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix mistakes they may make on their ballots, such as forgetting to sign them.

Among the Democratic candidates, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former Wall Street executive Raymond McGuire, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have received the most media attention and noteworthy endorsements.

The three Republicans are the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers founder Fernando Mateo, retired NYPD officer William Pepitone, and financier Sara Tirschwell.

Garcia topped an Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters conducted May 23-24 with 21% support in the first round and 55% support in the eleventh and final round of ranked-choice voting. The margin of error was 4.1%. Adams and Yang, who led in earlier polls, rounded out the final three.

Garcia’s performance in polling has improved following endorsements from The New York Times and the New York Daily News. Other recent key endorsements in the race include Rep. John Liu (D-N.Y.) for Yang, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for Wiley, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) for Adams.

Stringer, who lost endorsements following allegations of sexual misconduct that Stringer denied, received a boost from the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers in May through a $4 million television and digital ad campaign.

Additional key spending in the race includes $500,000 from investor George Soros to a pro-Wiley super PAC and $1 million from oil executive John Hess to a pro-McGuire group.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election. De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and won re-election in 2017 with 66% of the vote. Including de Blasio, four of the previous six mayors were Democrats.

Mayoral elections are being held in 31 of the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2021. The mayors of 64 of the country’s 100 largest cities are currently affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Keep reading

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned as Texas secretary of state effective May 31, after the Nominations Committee of the Texas State Senate did not take up her nomination for another term. Since Texas is one of eight states where the governor selects the secretary of state, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint Hughs’ successor. Abbott has appointed four secretaries of state so far since he took office in 2015.

Governor Abbott appointed Hughs on August 19, 2019, to succeed David Whitley (R) after he did not receive enough confirmation votes from the state Senate to remain in office. At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of a secretary of state’s nomination in order for a nominee to be confirmed. Hughs previously served as the chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

The Texas secretary of state serves as the chief election officer, assists election officials at the county level, and ensures that election laws are uniform throughout Texas. Additionally, the secretary publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public.

Here are a few fun facts about the office of secretary of state:

  • The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states.
  • The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.
  • In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the office is called the secretary of the commonwealth and differs only in name.
  • Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. In the other 12, the secretary is appointed by either the governor or the state legislature.

Keep reading 

#Fridaytrivia

We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the status of redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census results. I recently wrote about how Illinois lawmakers approved revised maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court. Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation on June 4 establishing the new maps. In that edition, I told you about the last time Illinois redrew state supreme court districts.

So for today’s question, I’m asking: When was the last time state supreme court districts were redrawn in Illinois?

  1. 1964
  2. 1991
  3. 2011
  4. 1983


The Daily Brew: Results from Tuesday’s statewide primaries

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey
  2. Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice
  3. May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey

Here are some results from yesterday’s state executive primaries from New Jersey and Virginia:

Virginia

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe defeated four other candidates to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. With 94% of precincts reporting, McAuliffe had received 62% of the vote, followed by former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20% and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 11%. McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and was the national chairman of Hillary Clinton’s (D) 2008 presidential campaign. 

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a governor’s race in the state’s history. McAuliffe will face Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin—who won his party’s nod at a May 8 convention—in the general election. 

Hala Ayala won the six-candidate Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. With 97% of precincts reporting. Ayala had 38.6% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul with 25.5% and Mark Levine with 12%. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. Two of the state’s last four lieutenant governors, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor.

Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012.

New Jersey

Former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated three other candidates to win the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Philip Rizzo with 26% and Hirsh Singh with 22%. Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on Nov. 2.

Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held New Jersey’s governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held it for 14. The last Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two incumbent Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.  

Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice 

The Maine Senate confirmed Valerie Stanfill as the chief justice of the state’s highest court on June 3. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Stanfill on May 10 to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired in April 2020. Stanfill is Mills’ third appointment to the court. Democratic governors have appointed six of Maine’s seven state supreme court justices.

Maine is one of 14 states that select the chief justice of their highest court by gubernatorial appointment. State supreme courts in 23 states select their chief justice by chamber vote, seven by popular vote, and six by seniority.

Ballotpedia’s study of partisanship on state supreme courts identified one of Maine’s current state supreme court justices as a strong Democrat, three as mild Democrats, and two whose partisan affiliation could not be conclusively determined. To explore our analysis of partisanship of state supreme courts in Maine and across the country, click here for the full study.

Read on 

May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Each month, we crunch the numbers on the partisan affiliation of the country’s 7,383 state legislators. Ballotpedia’s partisan count of state legislative seats at the end of May determined that 54.3% of state legislators are Republicans and 44.9% are Democrats. During May, Democrats had a net loss of one seat, while Republicans had a net gain of one. Compared to May a year ago, Democrats have lost 142 state legislative seats, while Republicans have gained 153 seats. 

Republicans currently control 61 state legislative chambers, while Democrats control 37. One chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives, has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties. At the end of May, Republicans held 1,091 state Senate seats and 2,918 state House seats. Democrats held 867 state Senate seats and 2,450 state House seats. Third-party or independent officeholders held 38 seats, and there were 19 vacancies.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot
  2. Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5
  3. New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

We regularly cover the certification of new ballot measures here in the Brew. What happens less frequently is when a legislature removes a measure from the ballot that it had previously certified. Let me catch you up on the details.

The Colorado General Assembly passed a transportation funding bill on June 2, providing $5.4 billion in transportation spending over 10 years. It would also remove a transportation bond issue from the November ballot. Governor Jared Polis (D) is expected to sign the legislation, which was passed largely along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

The bill would create new sources of dedicated funding for transportation and four new government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge. About $3.8 of the $5.4 billion in funds will come from new fees that take effect in July 2022, including fees on gasoline and diesel purchases, retail deliveries, Uber and Lyft rides, electric vehicle registrations, and car rentals.

The transportation bond measure would have issued $1.337 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects with a maximum repayment cost of $1.865 billion over 20 years. The General Assembly first approved it in 2018 and put it on the 2019 ballot. Voters defeated two citizen initiatives that would have authorized transportation bonds in 2018. In 2019, the legislature delayed the measure to the 2020 ballot. In 2020, the General Assembly voted to delay the measure to 2021 due to economic concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

I asked our ballot measures director, Josh Altic, if he could recall other instances where a legislature approved and then removed a measure from the ballot. Here was his response: 

Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on July 30 that the state was removing a $3.0 billion bond measure from the 2020 ballot for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. The legislature had approved the bond measure in April 2020, but the state budget director removed the measure after determining it would harm the state’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature had authorized the state budget director to make such a determination when it approved budget legislation last year.

In 2016, the Arizona legislature initially approved a measure that would have required revenue from the sale or use of state trust land to be earmarked for managing and improving the lands. Later that year, the legislature passed a bill ordering the secretary of state to remove the measure from the ballot. 

So, it’s not especially common, but it does happen.

If the Colorado bond measure is removed from the ballot, 24 statewide ballot measures will go before voters this year in six states, including 11 which were decided earlier this year in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The chart below shows the number of measures appearing on statewide ballots in odd years from 1987 to 2017.

Read on

Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5 

Several cities in Texas held municipal runoff elections on June 5. Here’s a review of the results our team tracked over the weekend:

Fort Worth Mayor

Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples, 54% to 46%. Incumbent Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election. Parker had endorsements from Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), the Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Arlington Mayor

Attorney Jim Ross defeated former city council member Michael Glaspie, 54% to 46%, in the city’s first open-seat mayoral election since 2003. Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) was term-limited. Ross had endorsements from Williams and four of the city’s police unions. 

Dallas City Council

Voters decided elections for six of 14 seats on the Dallas City Council. Of three races involving incumbents, one lost and two won. Three districts were open-seat contests because the incumbents were term-limited. After the elections, new members will hold four of the council’s 14 seats.

New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Election day! The two states holding gubernatorial elections this year—New Jersey and Virginia—are both holding statewide primaries today—on June 8. Here’s a quick look at what voters are deciding in those states:

New Jersey

New Jersey is holding primaries for governor and all seats in both chambers of the state legislature—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces one write-in candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Four candidates are competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. We’re also covering local primaries for Essex County sheriff and Hudson County register. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Virginia

Virginia voters are deciding Democratic primaries for three state executive offices, with five candidates running for governor, six for lieutenant governor, and two for attorney general. Both parties are holding primaries for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach are also conducting municipal primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia selected its nominees for the three statewide executive offices at an unassembled convention on May 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia. 

Find out what’s on your ballot 



Senate expected to vote today on first Biden judicial appointments

Welcome to the Monday, June 7, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Senate set to confirm first federal judges appointed by President Biden
  2. COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week
  3. Noah Valenstein resigns as secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection

Senate set to confirm first federal judges appointed by President Biden

The Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Julien Xavier Neals and Regina Rodriguez to federal district court judgeships in New Jersey and Colorado, respectively. Both were part of President Joe Biden’s (D) initial group of 10 judicial nominations announced in March. Xavier Neals and Rodriguez were nominated to federal judgeships by President Barack Obama (D), and both nominations were returned when the 114th Congress adjourned in January 2017.

Today is 138 days since Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20. Below is a breakdown of when the Senate confirmed each president’s first Article III federal judge: 

Since 1980, Reagan made the most appointments during his first year with 41. Obama made the fewest with 13. The Senate confirmed 19 Article III federal judges that Trump appointed during his first year in office.

Since taking office, Biden has nominated 19 individuals to federal judgeships, including six judges on federal appeals courts, 13 on federal district courts, and one Washington, D.C., superior justice. There are currently 81 vacancies among Article III federal judges. Three of Biden’s nominees are awaiting a confirmation vote in the full U.S. Senate, four are awaiting a committee vote, and 12 nominees are awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The chart below details the number of Article III judicial appointments during each president’s first term as of June 1 of their first year and December 31 of their fourth year. 

Link

COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week 

Here are the latest tidbits in our series highlighting coronavirus-related policy changes and events that happened this time last year.

  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense announced on June 9 that it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Travel restrictions remained in place in 12 states.
  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ended the state’s stay-at-home order on June 9, which was first issued on March 21. 
  • Travel restrictions
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced on June 11 that he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state and returning travelers through July 31. He first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
  • Election changes:
    • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed legislation on June 12 reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.

Noah Valenstein resigns as secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein resigned on June 4. He had led the agency since former Gov. Rick Scott (R) appointed him to that office on May 23, 2017. The secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection heads the agency responsible for protecting the state’s natural resources, enforcing environmental laws, and overseeing Florida’s state parks and trails system.

Florida’s Secretary of Environmental Protection is an example of a natural resources commissioner, which is an office that exists in 49 states. Five states—Arkansas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington—publicly elect a natural resources commissioner. Arkansas, South Dakota, and New Mexico divide these duties between two offices; a nonpartisan office appointed by the governor and a partisan office filled via election. In all other states, the office is nonpartisan and appointed.

Link



Our latest primary competitiveness report

Welcome to the Friday, June 4, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 79% of New Jersey state legislative incumbents won’t face a contested primary this year
  2. Idaho governor rescinds lieutenant governor’s executive order banning mask mandates
  3. Sports betting initiative qualifies for 2022 ballot in California

79% of New Jersey state legislative incumbents won’t face a contested primary this year

Every year, our team of election analysts crunches the numbers on contested primaries. In odd years, it is a much easier task, with only two states holding regular state legislative elections in NovemberNew Jersey and Virginia. Let’s take a look at the figures.

  • Ninety percent of state legislative incumbents in New Jersey are seeking re-election this year. Of these 108 incumbents, 79%—85 legislators—will advance to the general election without a primary challenge.
  • The remaining 23 incumbents—nine Democrats and 14 Republicans—will face contested primaries on June 8.

An incumbent primary defeat—along with retirements and general election losses—contributes to the overall incumbent turnover during each election cycle. The most common cause of incumbent turnover is retirement, which, over the past decade, accounted for 70% of all state legislative turnover. Primary election defeats—at 10%—were the least common cause of turnover.

Primary election defeats of incumbents in New Jersey are especially rare. Since 2011, one state legislative incumbent has lost a primary: Assemb. Joe Howarth, who lost in a 2019 Republican primary.

Contested incumbent primaries became more common in New Jersey during the 2017 state legislative elections. In 2019, a third of incumbents faced primary challenges—the highest rate this decade. The rate decreased to around one-fifth of all incumbents facing contested primaries in 2021 but remains higher than rates from the first half of the past decade.

Virginia is also holding elections for its House of Delegates this year. Based on preliminary data, the state could have a decade-high rate of incumbents facing contested primaries at 18.1%. Out of 100 incumbents, 94 are seeking re-election, and 17 will face contested primaries. Political parties in Virginia use a mixture of primaries and conventions to select nominees. All primaries will take place on June 8. Each party’s district units chose the dates of their conventions. Ballotpedia will update its primary competitiveness data for Virginia as it becomes available.

Ballotpedia has analyzed competitiveness in state legislative elections every year since 2011. Our analysis of last year’s data found that 79.7% of state legislative incumbents advanced to the general election without a primary challenge, which was up from 78.1% in 2018. Interested in the data from your state? Click here to read our 2020 report.

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Idaho governor rescinds lieutenant governor’s executive order banning mask mandates

Since early 2020, we’ve been tracking state government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. One aspect of our coverage is state-level mask requirements. Here’s a story we’re following from Idaho relating to mask mandates in the state. The story is a little confusing, so bear with me on this. I had to double-check with our team to make sure I had it right.

Here’s the setup. Idaho is a Republican state trifecta and is one of 11 states that did not issue a statewide face-covering order during the pandemic. Typically, when a governor is out of state, the lieutenant governor serves as acting governor. While Gov. Brad Little (R) attended a conference out of state, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) issued an executive order prohibiting state and local government entities from issuing mask mandates in order to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. Several cities in Idaho, including Boise, had enacted face-covering requirements last fall. The Idaho Senate did not vote on a bill that the state House of Representatives passed in April prohibiting local governments from issuing mask mandates.  

McGeachin announced on May 19 that she was running for governor in the 2022 election. Little, who was first elected in 2018, has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election. 

In a statement posted to her gubernatorial campaign website, McGeachin wrote that she signed the order “to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions—including public schools—from imposing mask mandates in our state.”

Upon returning on May 28, Little (R) rescinded McGeachin’s executive order, calling it an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt” that “amounts to tyranny—something we all oppose.” Little told the Idaho Capital Sun that McGeachin issued the executive order without his knowledge or approval. 

Idaho Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane issued an opinion on May 28 stating that McGeachin’s executive order exceeded her authority as acting governor. Kane wrote, “Oddly, it seems to have been issued in an effort to undermine the existing authorities of the state and its political subdivisions to issue mask mandates. This executive order appears to run counter to both the Idaho Constitution and the Governor’s statutory executive order authority.” 

Idaho’s governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately and do not run on a joint ticket. Since 2010, four gubernatorial elections nationwide have had an incumbent governor running against the state’s lieutenant governor. In each case, the incumbent governor won either the primary or general election:

  • West Virginia (2011)—Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) defeated acting Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Kessler (D) in the Democratic primary of the state’s special gubernatorial election after Joe Manchin (D) was elected to the Senate.
  • South Carolina (2018)—Gov. Henry McMaster (R) defeated Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R) in the Republican primary.
  • Vermont (2020)—Gov. Phil Scott (R) defeated Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (Vermont Progressive Party/Democratic) in the general election.
  • North Carolina (2020)—Gov. Roy Cooper (D) defeated Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) in the general election.

Read more 

Sports betting initiative qualifies for 2022 ballot in California

Yesterday, I wrote about the first statewide ballot measure in Illinois to qualify for the 2022 ballot. Here’s a summary of a statewide sports betting initiative in California that also recently qualified for the state’s 2022 ballot.

California voters will head to the polls on Nov. 8, 2022, to decide an initiative that would legalize sports betting. The ballot initiative would amend the state constitution and state statutes to legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California. The measure would apply a 10% tax on profits from betting at racetracks and legalize roulette and dice games, such as craps, at tribal casinos. 

The Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering, which supports the proposal, launched in November 2019. On Dec. 14, 2020, the campaign filed 1,427,373 signatures. On May 26, 2021, the office of Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced that the initiative qualified for the ballot after counties found 1,061,282 signatures to be valid. The minimum number required was 997,139.

Several American Indian tribes support the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering. The campaign had raised $11.57 million through March 31, 2021. Mark Macarro, chairman of Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, said: “Californians should have the choice to participate in sports wagering at highly regulated, safe and experienced gaming locations. We are very proud to see tribes from across California come together for this effort, which represents an incremental but important step toward giving Californians the freedom to participate in this new activity in a responsible manner.”

Opponents launched the No on the Gambling Power Grab PAC, which terminated in late 2020. The PAC raised $1.09 million. Kyle Kirkland, president of the California Gaming Association, said: “This initiative does nothing to advance sports wagering, and instead expands the tribal casinos’ tax-free monopoly on gaming and rewards those operators for prioritizing their own wealth over public health and safety.”

California is one of 21 states that has not legalized sports betting. Twenty-nine states and D.C. have legalized or passed laws legalizing sports betting. In California, a constitutional amendment is required to legalize sports betting because the state constitution defines what types of gambling are permitted in the state. Since 2018, four states have legalized sports betting through ballot measures. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the federal government could not require states to prohibit sports betting, effectively allowing states to legalize it. Thirteen states had active sports betting industries as of November 2019.

The sports betting ballot initiative joins two other citizen-initiated measures on the 2022 general election ballot in California. 

Read more



Collective bargaining measure set for 2022 IL ballot

Welcome to the Thursday, June 3, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Illinois voters will decide ballot measure in 2022 to make collective bargaining a state constitutional right
  2. Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District
  3. Redistricting review: Illinois lawmakers approve state leg., supreme court maps

Illinois voters will decide ballot measure in 2022 to make collective bargaining a state constitutional right

On May 26, the Illinois House of Representatives voted in favor of placing a constitutional amendment that would make collective bargaining a right on the 2022 ballot. The House’s vote followed a May 21 Senate vote to place the amendment on the ballot. The measure would also prohibit a future right-to-work law in Illinois. This is the first measure placed on the 2022 ballot in the state.

During committee hearings, representatives from the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, Chicago Teachers, and Illinois AFL-CIO advocated for the constitutional amendment. Representatives from the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and National Federation of Independent Business advocated against it.

Currently, 27 states have right-to-work laws, which mandate that no person can be required to pay dues to a labor union or join a labor union as a condition of employment. 

In 2018, Missouri voters repealed the right-to-work law through a veto referendum. Missouri was the last state in which voters directly voted on a right-to-work law. In 2022, Tennessee voters will decide a measure to put a right-to-work provision into the state’s constitution. Tennessee enacted a right-to-work law in state statute 1947. 

Since 1995, Illinois voters have decided seven constitutional amendments, approving five of them. The most recent defeated measure was in 2020, when 53% of voters opposed a constitutional amendment to repeal the requirement that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and instead allow the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax. The 2020 tax amendment saw more than $123 million in contributions, with supporters and opponents evenly split in terms of campaign cash. 

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned on May 31. Additional constitutional amendments can be referred to the 2022 general election ballot during the remainder of this year’s legislative session or during next year’s legislative session.

Link 

Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D) defeated Mark Moores (R) and four other candidates in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1. Stansbury received 63% of the vote to Moore’s 33%.

The election took place after the U.S. Senate confirmed incumbent Debra Haaland (D) as secretary of the on March 15, 2021. In the 2020 general election, Haaland defeated Michelle Garcia Holmes (R), 58% to 42%.

Stansbury has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She led the race in fundraising and spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, she had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements as of May 12. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) also ran.

Leading up to the election, Democrats had a 219-211 majority over Republicans. When Stansbury is sworn in, Democrats will have expanded their majority to 220-211.

So far, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. This year, voters have decided two such elections—in Louisiana’s Second and Fifth Districts—with the special election in Texas’ Sixth District being decided in a July 27 runoff. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

Link 

Redistricting review: Illinois lawmakers approve state leg., supreme court maps

Speaking of Illinois, let’s start there with our latest review of redistricting news from this week.

Last week, Illinois lawmakers approved revised maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court. The votes were as follows: 

  • State legislative redistricting plan (HB2777): 
    • House vote: 70-45
    • Senate vote: 40-18 
    • In both chambers, the vote split along party lines, with all Democrats voting ‘yea’ and all Republicans present voting ‘nay.’
  • Supreme court redistricting plan (SB0642): 
    •     House vote: 71-45
    •     Senate vote: 40-18
    •     In both chambers, the vote split along partisan lines, with all Democrats voting ‘yea’ and all Republicans present voting ‘nay.’

State supreme court districts in Illinois were last redrawn in 1964. The state is divided into five supreme court districts. Cook County (home to Chicago) forms a single district, but it is allocated three seats on the seven-member court. Downstate Illinois is divided into four districts, each with one seat on the court. The Illinois Constitution specifies that those four districts should have substantially equal population. The 2019 Annual Report of the Illinois Courts estimated that these downstate state supreme court districts ranged from a population of 1.28 million to 3.19 million.

The state constitution allows state lawmakers to redraw supreme court districts at any time. However, according to The Chicago Tribune, “lawmakers have traditionally used boundaries for the circuit, appellate and Supreme Court laid out in a 1964 overhaul of the state’s court system.” 

Ballotpedia’s study of partisanship on state supreme courts identified three justices we classified as strong Democrat and three classified as mild Republican. The court’s seventh justice, Robert Carter, was appointed by the other members of the Illinois Supreme Court to replace Thomas Kilbride, who lost a retention election in November 2020. Carter was first elected as a circuit court judge as a Democrat.

In Illinois, the General Assembly is responsible for redistricting. Maps are subject to gubernatorial veto. Illinois is a Democratic trifecta, meaning that Democrats control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has not indicated whether he intends to sign HB2777 and SB0642 into law. 

To stay up-to-date on developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels, click here to subscribe to our Ballot Bulletin newsletter. And to explore our study of partisanship of state supreme courts in Illinois and across the country, click here to read the full study.

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Newsom recall update: One more week for voters to remove signatures

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 2, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Here’s an update on the recall effort targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom
  2. Voters in New Jersey, Virginia to decide state legislative primaries on June 8
  3. Learn more about the administrative state with Ballotpedia’s 2021 Expeditions!

Here’s an update on the recall effort targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom

One week remains for any voters who signed a recall petition targeting California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to request to have their signatures removed. The secretary of state’s office reported on May 5 it had verified 1,719,943 valid signatures recall organizers had submitted. According to state law, voters who signed a recall petition are permitted to remove their names within 30 days—by June 8—after they file a written request that includes their name, address, and signature with county elections officials.

If after that period, at least 1,495,709 signatures remain, the recall election will be certified and proceed to a budgeting and scheduling phase. Based on the remaining procedural steps required by law, political analysts in the state expect the recall election to take place in October or November 2021. Orrin Heatlie began this recall campaign on June 10, 2020. It is the fifth of six recall petitions filed against Newsom since 2019. The other five recall campaigns were inactive as of Feb. 3, 2021.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from office. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election with no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis (D), 135 candidates ran, and the winner—Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)—received 48.58% of the vote.

So far, 37 candidates have officially filed with the secretary of state to run in a recall election. Among those are eight Democrats, 17 Republicans, two Green Party candidates, and a Libertarian Party candidate. The remaining candidates filed with no party preference. Ballotpedia has tracked an additional 13 candidates who have declared their intent to run in the recall election but have not yet officially filed. Among those are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R), and Caitlyn Jenner (R).

On May 25, the Public Policy Institute of California published a poll finding that 57% of respondents opposed a recall, 40% supported a recall, and 3% were undecided. These numbers were about the same as a March poll by the same group, which found 56% opposed, 40% supported, and 5% undecided. Both polls surveyed 1,700 California residents and had a margin of error of around 3%.

Newsom was elected governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall an incumbent California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Davis and elected Schwarzenegger.

Thirty-nine states allow for the recall of all or certain elected public officials, as shown in the map below.

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Voters in New Jersey, Virginia to decide state legislative primaries on June 8

Last week, we previewed state executive primaries taking place in one week—on June 8—in New Jersey and Virginia. Both states are also holding state legislative primaries. Let’s take a look at what’s at stake in these elections, and in Friday’s Brew, we’ll break down the number of incumbents running for re-election, and how many of those are facing contested primaries.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, all 120 state legislative seats are up for election—80 in the General Assembly and 40 in the state Senate. Since 2011, only one state legislative incumbent in New Jersey has been defeated in a primary—Assemb. Joe Howarth (R), who lost in 2019.

The last time voters decided all 40 New Jersey Senate seats was in 2017. Heading into the general election that year, Democrats held a 24-16 majority. After the election, the Democratic majority increased to 25-15. 

The last time voters decided all 80 seats in the New Jersey General Assembly was in 2019. Heading into the 2019 general election, Democrats held a 54-26 majority, and after the election, the Democratic majority decreased to 52-28. 

Democrats have held majorities in both chambers of the New Jersey legislature since 2003, and New Jersey has been a Democratic trifecta since Gov. Phil Murphy (D) took office after the 2017 election. Murphy is running for re-election in 2021.

Virginia

In Virginia, all 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for election. The state Senate won’t be up for regular election until 2023. In 2019, one incumbent member of the House of Delegates—Robert Thomas Jr. (R)—lost in a primary election. Thomas’ defeat was the first for a House incumbent in Virginia since 2015.

Not all state legislative nominees in Virginia are chosen through a primary. District Democratic and Republican parties may decide to hold a nominating convention rather than a primary to pick their candidates. In 2021, at least 22 state legislative district parties—five Democratic and 17 Republican—selected nominees at conventions. Virginia elections officials have published a list of primary candidates but will not publish a listing of candidates who were nominated by convention until after the primary.

This is the first state legislative election cycle in Virginia since Democrats won a majority in the House of Delegates. Heading into the 2019 general election, Republicans held a 51-49 majority, and after the elections, Democrats had a 55-45 majority. Democrats switched six seats—they defeated four Republican incumbents and won two open districts. In the 2017 elections, Democrats gained 15 seats. In 2019, Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate, creating a Democratic trifecta in Virginia for the first time since 1994. Democrats have held the governor’s office in Virginia since 2013.

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Learn more about the administrative state with Ballotpedia’s 2021 Expeditions!

Are you interested in learning more about federal agencies? Join us for a Ballotpedia Expedition! Ballotpedia’s Expeditions are scholarly mini-courses centered around the pillars of the administrative state. Join us as we guide you through the foundations of nondelegation or judicial deference through a series of key readings, questions, and exclusive expert interviews.

In 2021, we’re offering two Expeditions. Take our Expedition on the nondelegation doctrine to learn more about the meaning of delegation and why it matters to government policy. Or take our Expedition on judicial deference and explore when and how courts defer to federal agencies when it comes to rulemaking.

Ready to Reserve Your Seat?

Head to the Expeditions page and save your seat for the Expedition you would like to take by giving us your name and email. Then we’ll email you with instructions on how to access our exclusive content. 

Register here



2020 presidential and senatorial vote share by party

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 1, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Comparing 2020 presidential and senatorial vote share by party
  2. Voters to decide municipal runoff elections on June 5 in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, Texas
  3. COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

Welcome to June! We hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend.

Comparing 2020 presidential and senatorial vote share by party

Our staff recently published a comparison of the performance of Joe Biden (D) and Donald Trump (R) in the 2020 presidential election to Democratic and Republican Senate candidates in each state. Here’s a rundown for you.

  • Thirty-five U.S. Senate elections were held in the Nov. 3 general election. Biden outperformed Chris Janicek (D) in Nebraska, Sara Gideon (D) in Maine, and the cumulative vote total for Democratic Senate candidates in Louisiana by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 27.0%, 22.5%, and 15.8%, respectively.
  • Biden underperformed Steve Bullock (D) in Montana, Doug Jones (D) in Alabama, and Mike Espy (D) in Mississippi by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 10.7%, 8.0%, and 7.0%, respectively.
  • Trump outperformed Allen Waters (R) in Rhode Island, Bryant Messner (R) in New Hampshire, and Lauren Witzke (R) in Delaware by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 19.2%, 11.4%, and 7.5%, respectively.
  • Trump underperformed Susan Collins (R) in Maine, Mike Rounds (R) in South Dakota, and Ben Sasse (R) in Nebraska by the largest margins with a percentage difference of 14.6%, 5.7%, and 4.7%, respectively.

The following map shows the percentage difference between Biden and Democratic Senate candidates in all states that held Senate elections. Positive numbers indicate Biden overperformed. Negative numbers indicate Biden underperformed. 

The following map shows the percentage difference between Trump and Republican Senate candidates in all states that held Senate elections. Positive numbers indicate Biden overperformed. Negative numbers indicate Biden underperformed.

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Voters to decide municipal runoff elections on June 5 in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, Texas

Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 71 cities, including 43 mayoral elections, in 2021. Today, let’s focus on the three upcoming municipal runoff elections in Texas.

Nonpartisan runoff elections for Dallas City Council, Fort Worth Mayor, and Arlington Mayor in Texas will take place on June 5. The general elections took place on May 1. Here’s a rundown on these races.

Arlington

Michael Glaspie and Jim Ross advanced to the mayoral runoff from a field of seven candidates with 21.3% and 47.9% of the vote, respectively. This is the first mayoral election in Arlington without an incumbent seeking re-election since 2003. Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) is term-limited.

Glaspie served on the Arlington City Council from 2012 to 2019 and the Arlington school board from 1991 to 2008. He received endorsements from former Mayor Elzie Odom (1997-2003), The Dallas Morning News, and all five general election mayoral candidates who did not advance to the runoff.

Ross owns a law firm and previously worked as a police officer with the Arlington Police Department. Ross received endorsements from incumbent Mayor Williams, former Mayor Richard Greene (1987-1997), and four of the city’s police unions.

Fort Worth

Deborah Peoples and Mattie Parker advanced to the mayoral runoff from a field of ten candidates with 33.6% and 30.8% of the vote, respectively. Incumbent Mayor Betsy Price (R), first elected in 2011, did not run for re-election.

Peoples formerly worked as a business executive and was Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party. She has received endorsements from five Democratic members of the Texas State Legislature, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D), and EMILY’s List.

Parker works in education and formerly worked as the chief of staff for the Fort Worth mayor and city council. She has received endorsements from Mayor Price (R), the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, and former Fort Worth mayoral candidate Brian Byrd, who finished third in the general election with 14.7% of the vote.

Dallas

Six districts are holding runoff elections for member of the city council. Three races are for open seats, and three are between an incumbent and a challenger. All fourteen seats were up for election this year.

Three races with incumbents advanced to a runoff. In District 4, incumbent Carolyn King Arnold and Maxie Johnson advanced to a runoff with 47% and 37% of the vote. In District 7, incumbent Adam Bazaldua and Kevin Felder advanced with 39% and 15% of the vote. In District 14, Paul Ridley and incumbent David Blewett advanced with 46% and 32% of the vote.

In Districts 2, 11, and 13, incumbent councilmembers Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, and Jennifer Staubach Gates are not running for re-election due to term limits. In District 2, Jesse Moreno and Sana Syed advanced to the runoff with 39% and 25% of the vote. In District 11, Jaynie Schultz and Barry Wernick advanced with 38% and 26% of the vote. In District 13, Leland Burk and Gay Donnell Willis advanced with 43% and 41% of the vote.

For more on the elections Texas is holding this year, click the link below.

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COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

Let’s continue our Monday series looking back at coronavirus-related policy changes and events that happened last year. Here is a sampling of events from one year ago this week.

  • Election changes:
    • On June 3, 2020, Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) issued an executive order extending the voter pre-registration deadline to July 7 for the July 14 election.
    • On June 4, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed a district court decision ordering that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots in order to avoid transmission of COVID-19.
    • On June 4, Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) signed SB631 into law, permitting any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot in any 2020 election, subject to a notarization requirement.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • On June 1, Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) ended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
    • On June 5, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that travelers from Louisiana would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The requirements remained in effect for visitors from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.
  • Federal government responses:
    • On June 1, United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced that the Department of Energy would enter the first phase of its reopening plan on June 8, allowing some mission-critical personnel to return to work at facilities in Washington and Maryland.
    • On June 5, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would resume committal services in all but two VA national cemeteries on June 9.
  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • On June 1, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended the statewide stay-at-home order, allowing bars, restaurants, and retailers to reopen with restrictions. Whitmer first enacted the order on March 23 and extended it on April 25 and May 7.
    • On June 4, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He first issued the order, which applied to seven counties, on March 24. A subsequent order expanded that number to 26 counties. On April 1, the stay-at-home order applied to all 67 counties.

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Previewing New Jersey’s, Virginia’s upcoming gubernatorial primaries

Welcome to the Friday, May 28, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. New Jersey, Virginia to hold gubernatorial primaries on June 8
  2. Reviewing state proof-of-vaccination requirements
  3. Don’t miss our 2021 primary preview briefing

New Jersey, Virginia to hold gubernatorial primaries on June 8

Two states—New Jersey and Virginia—are holding top-level state executive elections this year. Virginia Democrats and both parties in New Jersey will hold statewide primaries to choose nominees in less than two weeks—on June 8. 

In the New Jersey primary, voters will choose a ticket comprised of a nominee for governor and nominee for lieutenant governor. Virginia voters will separately choose the Democratic nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Wisconsin also held an election for superintendent of public instruction in April.

The Republican Party of Virginia selected nominees for statewide offices during an unassembled convention on May 8. Both states’ general elections are on Nov. 2.

Here is a summary of the gubernatorial primaries voters will decide on June 8:

New Jersey Governor

Four candidates—Jack Ciattarelli, Brian Levine, Philip Rizzo, and Hirsh Singh—are competing for the Republican nomination. Ciattarelli served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2011 to 2018. He finished second to then-Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno in the 2017 Republican primary for governor. Singh finished third in the 2017 GOP primary for governor and was the runner-up in both the 2018 Republican primary in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District and the 2020 Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces write-in candidate Lisa McCormick in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Murphy defeated Guadagno, 56% to 42%, in the 2017 general election to win his first term. Two of the three major election rating outlets rated the general election as Solid Democratic, and the third rated it as Likely Democratic. The last Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two incumbent Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.  

Virginia Governor

Five candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is unable to seek re-election due to term limits. Three candidates—Jennifer Carroll Foy, Terry McAuliffe, and Jennifer McClellan—are leading in fundraising and noteworthy endorsements. 

Carroll Foy served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2018 to 2020. She previously worked as a magistrate judge and public defender. McAuliffe was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018 and chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005. McClellan is a member of the Virginia Senate and served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2018. She is currently the vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. 

Glenn Youngkin, a former co-CEO and president of global investment firm The Carlyle Group, defeated six candidates in the Republican Party of Virginia’s convention on May 8 to become the party’s gubernatorial nominee. Democrats have won four of the five most recent gubernatorial elections and all thirteen statewide elections in Virginia since 2012.

Nationwide, there are 27 Republican governors and 23 Democratic governors.

Reviewing state proof-of-vaccination requirements

More than 50 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. As vaccination numbers have increased, policy discussions have been ongoing in government regarding various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements. These have taken on two primary forms:

  • Bans on proof-of-vaccination requirements in certain circumstances 
  • Implementing policies—sometimes called vaccine passports—that allow vaccinated people to bypass COVID-19 restrictions or engage in activities unavailable to unvaccinated people.

Thirteen states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah—have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements at all or some levels of government. All 13 of those states have a Republican governor. In Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Montana, and Texas, bans on proof-of-vaccination requirements extend to some private businesses. Governors in eight states banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. In five states, legislators passed laws banning proof-of-vaccination requirements.

Three states with Democratic governors—Hawaii, New York, and Oregon—exempt fully vaccinated individuals from some COVID-19 restrictions if they can provide proof of vaccination. In Hawaii, inter-island travelers can upload their vaccination status to a digital application that allows them to bypass travel restrictions. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) launched Excelsior Pass, a voluntary app vaccinated people can use to access sections at outdoor venues reserved for fully vaccinated individuals. In Oregon, businesses that verify vaccine status can allow customers to forego masks.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and government responses to the pandemic, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

Link 

Don’t miss our 2021 primary preview briefing

It may be an odd-numbered year after a presidential election cycle, but at Ballotpedia, that’s no reason to take a breather from election coverage. We are digging deep into state and local elections in 2021, covering the two states with gubernatorial and state legislative elections along with municipal elections in 71 cities across the country, special congressional elections, and more.

On Wednesday, June 2, Marquee Team staff writer Amée LaTour and I will discuss 2021’s battleground primaries, including those for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as New York City’s first-ever ranked choice voting mayoral primary. Join us to learn who’s running, what’s at stake, and how the issues are unfolding in this year’s primaries.

The briefing will be held at 11:00 a.m. Central Time. Can’t make it at that time? We’ll send you a recording after the call. Click the link below to register today!

Register here



Ohio, Census Bureau reach settlement in redistricting lawsuit

Welcome to the Thursday, May 27, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Redistricting review: Ohio, Census Bureau reach settlement in lawsuit over release of redistricting data
  2. Previewing the special election to New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District
  3. Texas voters to decide at least six constitutional amendments in November

Redistricting review: Ohio, Census Bureau reach settlement in lawsuit over release of redistricting data

In last week’s redistricting review, I wrote about a court case in Ohio concerning the Census Bureau’s timeline for releasing redistricting data. Earlier this week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) announced that the state had reached a settlement agreement with the Census Bureau in its lawsuit over the Census Bureau’s plan to deliver redistricting data to the states by September 30, 2021, instead of April 1, 2021, the deadline set forth in federal statutes. 

Under the settlement, the Census Bureau agreed to deliver redistricting data, in a legacy format, by August 16, 2021. The legacy format would present the data in raw form without the data tables and other access tools the Census Bureau will ultimately prepare for the states. The Census Bureau also agreed to deliver biweekly updates (and, in August, weekly updates) on its progress. As of May 26, 2021, the Census Bureau had not commented publicly on the settlement. The Census Bureau had previously indicated that redistricting data would be made available to states in a legacy format in mid-to-late August 2021.

Here’s some news related to redistricting ongoings in other states.

  • In Illinois, state lawmakers released their proposed maps for the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives on May 21, becoming the second state (after Oklahoma) in the 2020 redistricting cycle to produce draft maps. 
    • The Illinois General Assembly is responsible for both congressional and state legislative redistricting. Redistricting plans are subject to gubernatorial veto. Illinois is a Democratic trifecta, meaning that Democrats control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.
  • In Wisconsin, the state supreme court denied a petition for a proposed rule by which the state supreme court would have assumed original jurisdiction over redistricting lawsuits on May 14. When a court assumes original jurisdiction, it has the “power to hear and decide a matter before any other court can review the manner.”
    • On June 3, 2020, Attorney Richard M. Esenberg, Brian McGrath, and Anthony F. LoCoco, on behalf of Scott Jensen and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, filed the petition for the proposed rule, saying that the state supreme court had, in Jensen v. Wisconsin Elections Board (2002), “noted that redistricting was primarily a state and not a federal responsibility … but nevertheless deferred to the federal courts because of the perceived procedural problem of a lack of rules for such a case in [the state supreme court.” The petitioners asked the court to adopt the proposed rule “to cure the perceived procedural problems it noted in Jensen.”
    • In an unsigned order denying the petition, the court said, “The court determined that, as drafted, the procedures proposed in this administrative rule petition are unlikely to materially aid this court’s consideration of an as yet undefined future redistricting challenge, and voted to deny the petition.” 

Click the link below to read more about the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Keep reading

Previewing the special election to New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

The fourth special congressional election of this year is coming up in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. Here’s a preview of the June 1 general election.

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), and four other candidates are running in the special election. The election was called following incumbent Debra Haaland’s (D) appointment as secretary of the interior for the Biden administration. 

Stansbury and Moores were elected to run at Democratic and Republican Party conventions, respectively. Stansbury has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She has received endorsements from incumbent Debra Haaland (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), EMILY’s List, and the Sierra Club.

Moores has served in the New Mexico State Senate since 2013. He has been endorsed by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), the Albuquerque Journal, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

As of May 12, Stansbury led in fundraising and spending, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) are also running.

President Joe Biden (D) won this district with 60.2% of the vote in 2020. Hillary Clinton won it with 51.6% of the vote in 2016. During the last election for the seat, Haaland won re-election against Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes 58% – 42%.

This election is one of five special congressional elections scheduled for this year. Two others, both in Louisiana, have already taken place. There were 10 special congressional elections to the 116th Congress and 17 special congressional elections to the 115th Congress.

Democrats currently have a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans in the House of Representatives. Five seats are vacant. 

Keep reading 

Texas voters to decide at least six constitutional amendments in November

The Texas legislature has referred six state constitutional amendments to the ballot over the last two weeks—since May 12. Additional amendments may also be certified for the ballot while legislators remain in session. The Texas legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.

Texas constitutional amendments can only go before voters after the state legislature originates and approves them. A two-thirds majority in each chamber must vote in favor. 

Here’s a quick recap of the six measures Texas voters will decide in November:

  • Prohibit the state or any political subdivision from issuing or enacting a statute, order, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, including religious services conducted in churches.
  • Allow the surviving spouse of a disabled individual to maintain a homestead property tax limit if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the death and remains at the homestead.
  • Change the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.
  • Authorize professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct raffles at rodeo venues.
  • Authorize the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept complaints regarding the conduct of candidates seeking judicial office and to discipline candidates in the same manner that the commission is currently authorized to do so with judicial officeholders. 
  • Authorize a total residence homestead property tax exemption for a surviving spouse of a member of the armed services “who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

The state’s current constitution was adopted in 1876. Since then, it has been amended 507 times. In November 2019, voters approved nine constitutional amendments and rejected one. 

In Texas, the state legislature generally meets in odd-numbered years. Voters have decided amendments in even-numbered years only twice since 1991. Between 1995 and 2020, voters decided an average of 13 measures during odd-numbered years, ranging between seven and 22. During that time, voters approved 154 of 169—or 91%—of constitutional amendments.

A total of 11 measures have been certified for the November 2 ballot so far in three states—six in Texas, one in Colorado, and four in New York. Voters approved seven bond measures in Rhode Island on March 2. Pennsylvania voters approved three state constitutional amendments and one state statute on May 18.

Keep reading