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The Daily Brew: In 21 states, all residents 16+ eligible for coronavirus vaccine

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

  1. All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 21 states
  2. Rita Hart (D) withdraws IA-02 election results challenge
  3. The Final Four (legged) round of Barking Brackets

All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 21 states

In last week‘s coronavirus vaccine update, we noted that all residents 16 and older were eligible to register for the coronavirus vaccine in seven states. Now, all residents 16+ are eligible for a vaccine in 21 states. Of those 21, five have Democratic governors and 16 have Republican governors.

Latest changes

Note: Below, we provide information on previous and current statewide eligibility by age group. We do not include information on eligibility for younger individuals deemed essential workers or those with underlying health conditions. Keep in mind many states and counties still have waitlists, so vaccines for everyone 16+ might not be immediately available.

Residents 16+ in the following states became eligible to register for vaccines since our last update:

The following states are currently scheduled to open vaccinations to everyone 16+ in the coming week:

  • Florida: April 5
  • Idaho: April 5
  • Iowa: April 5
  • Kentucky: April 5
  • Michigan: April 5
  • Nebraska: April 5
  • Nevada: April 5
  • New Mexico: April 5
  • South Dakota: April 5
  • Tennessee: April 5
  • Wisconsin: April 5
  • Delaware: April 6
  • New York: April 6
  • North Carolina: April 7
  • Missouri: April 9

Vaccine eligibility is changing rapidly across the country. Our daily newsletter Documenting America’s Path to Recovery delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.

Read on

Rita Hart (D) withdraws IA-02 election results challenge

The 2020 congressional election cycle has officially wrapped. 

On March 31, Rita Hart (D) dropped her petition to the House Administration Committee to investigate last year’s election results in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. House Administration Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) said the committee would suspend its investigation.

Hart said she ended her challenge “after many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest.” 

“Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted,” Hart said, “the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans.”

Here’s a quick reminder of how we got here.

  • According to certified results, Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) won the election by six votes. 
  • After the Nov. 3, 2020, general election, Iowa officials conducted three recounts. Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) first ordered recounts in two counties. 
  • On Nov. 13, Hart requested a full recount in all 24 counties in the district. 
  • After that recount, Miller-Meeks was certified as the winner on Nov. 30. 
  • On Dec. 2, Hart announced she would contest the election with the House Administration Committee. Her challenge said 22 ballots were wrongfully excluded and the recount didn’t comply with state law or the U.S. Constitution.
  • Miller-Meeks was provisionally seated in the House on Jan. 3.
  • On Mar. 10, the House Administration Committee voted 6-3 to consider Hart’s challenge.

The 2020 race in the 2nd District had the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984, when Francis McCloskey (D) defeated Richard McIntyre (R) by four votes in Indiana’s 8th District. 

According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, out of 107 election challenges filed with the House between 1933 and 2009, the candidate who contested the election won three times. 

Read on 

The Final Four(legged) round



Dogs have become one of the most pup-ular companions for presidents to have during their time in office. Whether they’re running around on the lawn, attending secret meetings, or getting dressed up for special events, First Dogs help to give a glimpse into life in the White House. 

In the spirit of March Madness, Ballotpedia is hosting our first ever Barking Brackets tournament! We have four comPETitors who have advanced from the preliminary rounds. Take a look at these First Furiends and vote your favorite through to the cham-PAW-ionship!

Vote now



The Daily Brew: Q&A on recent mail-in ballot ruling

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

  1. Q&A with our election policy expert on a recent mail-in ballot court ruling
  2. Biden announces first judicial nominees
  3. Local roundup: Voters to decide mayoral, other local office elections in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 6

Q&A with our election policy expert on a recent mail-in ballot court ruling

On March 9, the Michigan Court of Claims invalidated an absentee/mail-in ballot rule that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) put in place before last November’s elections. 

That rule—put in place on Oct. 6—directed local clerks to treat signatures on absentee/mail-in ballot applications and return envelopes as valid if there were “any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope signature as compared to the signature on file.” Redeeming qualities included “similar distinctive flourishes” and “more matching features than non-matching features.” 

To try and better understand the judge’s ruling, I turned to our election policy expert, Jerrick Adams. Here’s a brief summary of our exchange. My questions are bolded below.

This rule was already in effect in 2020, and the election already happened. Does this have any retroactive effect?

No. But the ruling affects future elections because it invalidated Benson’s guidance. It’s also an example of a post-2020 court action addressing the ultimate legality of policies implemented in 2020.

Michigan was one of 39 states that modified its general election procedures last year. These modifications—and, sometimes, the lack thereof—triggered a wave of litigation. Before the general election, there were at least 425 lawsuits and appeals filed. Two-hundred forty-two of those dealt primarily with absentee/mail-in voting procedures. 

Courts issued orders in most of these cases before the election, but they did not necessarily make final rulings on the questions of law presented in those cases. 

Who filed the lawsuit and why?

Allegan County Clerk Robert Genetski (R) and the Republican Party of Michigan sued Benson, alleging her guidance violated the state’s election laws and the Administrative Procedures Act. The court sided with the plaintiffs.

Why did the court say Benson’s rule should have complied with the Administrative Procedures Act?

The ruling cited a previous court ruling that said a state agency must follow formal rulemaking procedures under the APA (holding public hearings and consulting with state legislators and legislative staffers, for example) when establishing policies that “do not merely interpret or explain the statute of rules from which the agency derives its authority,” but rather “establish the substantive standards implementing the program.” 

The court ruled, “Policy determinations like the one at issue—which places a thumb on the scale in favor of a signature’s validity—should be made pursuant to properly promulgated rules under the APA or by the Legislature.”

Thanks, Jerrick!

It is unclear whether the state will appeal the decision. You can find information on other post-2020 cases here

Read on

Biden announces first judicial nominees

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced his first batch of federal judicial nominations. As a brief reminder: Presidents nominate and the Senate confirms federal judges. Over the past 40 years, each president appointed the following number of Article III judges in their first term:

  • Ronald Reagan: 166
  • George H.W. Bush: 193
  • Bill Clinton: 203
  • George W. Bush: 204
  • Barack Obama: 173
  • Donald Trump: 234

On March 30, Biden announced his intent to nominate 11 individuals to federal judgeships. Of those, 10 nominations would be for Article III judgeships with lifetime terms:

  • Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Tiffany Cunningham, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • Regina Rodriguez, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • Florence Pan, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Deborah Boardman, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Lydia Kay Griggsby, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Julien Neals, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Zahid Quraishi, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Margaret Strickland, U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Rupa Ranga Puttagunta to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which is not an Article III judgeship. These judges are appointed to 15-year terms.

As of his inauguration in January 2021, President Biden inherited 46 Article III vacancies: two vacancies in the U.S. courts of appeal, 43 vacancies in the U.S. district courts, and one vacancy on the U.S. Court of International Trade. There are 70 current Article III vacancies of 870 total Article III judgeships.  

President Donald Trump (R) submitted his first Article III judicial nomination—Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court—on Jan. 31, 2017. Trump submitted his first non-SCOTUS Article III nomination—Amul Thapar to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit—on March 21, 2017. Thapar was Trump’s only March federal judge nomination.

At the start of his first term, President Trump inherited 108 Article III federal judicial vacancies

Read on 

Local roundup: Voters to decide mayoral, other local office elections in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 6

Thirty-one of the 100 largest cities by population are holding mayoral elections in 2021. Let’s take a look at one of those races today. The city of Anchorage, Alaska, is holding a nonpartisan general election for mayor on April 6. Fourteen candidates are running. Media attention has been focused on six candidates: David Bronson, Forrest Dunbar, Bill Evans, Bill Falsey, George Martinez, and Mike Robbins. 

Dunbar ran for U.S. House as a Democrat in 2014. Planned Parenthood endorsed Dunbar, Martinez, and Falsey. Robbins is the chairman of the Republican Party of Alaska for District 26 of the Alaska House of Representatives, and six Republican state legislators endorsed him. State Sen. Natasha A. Von Imhof (R) endorsed Evans. Former Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell (R) endorsed Bronson. 

A candidate needs to win at least 45% of the vote to win the April 6 election. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the two with the most votes will head to a runoff on May 11.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) resigned from office in October 2020. The Anchorage Assembly selected Austin Quinn-Davidson to serve as acting mayor until a successor is elected and sworn in.

Four school board seats and 11 propositions are also on the Anchorage ballot on April 6.

Eight other states besides Alaska are holding local and special state legislative elections on April 6: California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. See our elections calendar for a list of elections within our coverage scope and links to more information.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: Congress to review 5 rules under CRA

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 31, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Democrats introduce 5 CRA resolutions to reject Trump administration rules
  2. Judge strikes down 5% signature requirement for some U.S. House candidates in GA
  3. Kim Janey sworn in as acting Boston mayor

Democrats introduce 5 CRA resolutions to reject Trump administration rules

Democratic members of Congress have introduced five resolutions under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to review federal rules issued during the recent Trump administration. The CRA allows Congress to vote on rejecting regulatory rules that federal administrative agencies have issued. 

Here’s how the process works. To reject a rule, both chambers of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the rule. CRA resolutions are not subject to filibuster, meaning only a simple majority is required to pass them. President Joe Biden would then have to sign the resolution into law. Congress has until Apr 4, 2021, under the CRA to reject any regulatory rules the Trump administration issued after Aug. 21, 2020. 

Since the CRA’s enactment in 1996, Congress has repealed 17 out of the more than 90,000 rules published in the Federal Register. Sixteen of those instances occurred during the Trump administration. In 2001, during George W. Bush’s (R) presidency, Congress reversed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule issued during Bill Clinton’s (D) presidency. 

Here’s a summary of the rules each current resolution seeks to block. To learn more about each, including arguments for and against, click the links:

  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) introduced companion resolutions to block an October 2020 rule from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The rule aims to determine when banks are the true lender in situations where banks provide the money for third-party organizations to extend credit to borrowers. 
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam) introduced companion resolutions to block a November 2020 rule from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The rule changed regulations governing shareholder proposal submissions. 
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced companion resolutions to block an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule from September 2020. The resolution would restore the Obama administration’s methane standards that the EPA reversed during the Trump administration. 
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced companion resolutions to block an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule changing the conciliation process, which is an alternative to litigation. 
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution to block a rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that sets expiration dates for HHS regulations unless the agency reviews those regulations according to Regulatory Flexibility Act requirements. As of March 30, no companion resolution had been filed in the Senate.

Want to learn more about this legislation? Sign up today for our Learning Journey on the Congressional Review Act. 

Read on

Judge strikes down 5% signature requirement for some U.S. House candidates in GA

On March 29, U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May struck down a Georgia law requiring third-party and unaffiliated U.S. House candidates to submit petitions signed by at least 5% of the district’s registered voters. May ruled the requirement “overburdens [voters’ and candidates’] rights to vote and to associate with their preferred political party, and so it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

Under Georgia’s 5% signature requirement, originally enacted in 1943, no third-party candidate for the U.S. House has qualified for the general election ballot. In 2020, third-party or unaffiliated candidates would have needed between 19,777 and 26,539 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot (the number varies by congressional district). 

Those running for the U.S. House as Democrats or Republicans—the two parties Georgia officially recognizes—do not need to collect signatures if they pay a qualifying fee. Third-party and unaffiliated candidates must do both.

May contrasted the 5% signature requirement for U.S. House candidates with the 1% requirement for statewide candidates, saying the state legislature “has deemed a 1% petition signature requirement adequate to guard against ballot crowding and frivolous candidacies on a statewide basis. It is not immediately clear why candidates for non-statewide office must clear a proportionally higher hurdle.” 

May directed the plaintiffs—the Libertarian Party of Georgia—to submit a brief on proposed remedies within three weeks. The state will then have an opportunity to respond to this proposal before May issues further guidance. 

All but five states require unaffiliated U.S. House candidates to submit signature petitions.

Read on

Kim Janey sworn in as acting Boston mayor

Kim Janey became the acting mayor of Boston on Mar. 22, after the U.S. Senate confirmed former Mayor Marty Walsh as secretary of labor. Janey is the first Black person and first woman to serve as Boston mayor.

Janey is president of the Boston City Council and its District 7 councilor and will maintain those roles as acting mayor. According to the Boston Herald, Janey will be a ‘non-participating member’ of the council — meaning she won’t attend meetings.”

Boston will hold a regularly scheduled mayoral election on Nov. 2. The filing deadline is May 18. Janey has not yet announced whether she will run in the election. 

While municipal offices in Boston are officially nonpartisan, Janey is a member of the Boston Ward 12 Democratic Committee. Before serving as secretary of labor and mayor, Walsh was a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

According to 2013 Census Bureau data, Boston was the 24th-largest city in the U.S. with around 646,000 residents. Among the mayors of the country’s 100 largest cities, there are currently 64 Democrats, 25 Republicans, four independents, and seven who are not affiliated with either party.

Read on 


The Daily Brew: Biden’s 15 main Cabinet members all confirmed

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Final update on pace of Cabinet confirmations
  2. Georgia voters to decide 2022 measure that would suspend salaries of officials under felony indictment
  3. 77 million people can’t be wrong!

An update on pace of Cabinet confirmations

When we updated you on President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations three weeks ago, the Senate had confirmed 10 of 15 main Cabinet members. We define main cabinet members as those in the presidential line of succession. Now, the Senate has confirmed all 15. By the same point in their respective presidencies, the Senate had confirmed 13 of Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s main Cabinet nominees each.

The Senate confirmed former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as secretary of labor on March 22, completing Biden’s main Cabinet. That was 61 days after Biden took office. 

Secretary of labor was also the final position filled in President Trump’s main Cabinet. In 2017, the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta 97 days after Trump took office. Trump’s first pick for that position, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration on Feb. 15, 2017.

On Obama’s 63rd day as president in 2009, the Senate confirmed his 14th main Cabinet member, Gary Locke, as commerce secretary. The Senate confirmed his final main Cabinet member, Kathleen Sebelius, as secretary of health and human services on Obama’s 98th day in office.

The Cabinet is a group of senior federal officials who advise the president on the issues and activities of their respective departments. The group is not necessarily limited to the 15 department heads in the presidential line of succession. Positions considered Cabinet-level can vary by administration. 

Biden identified 23 nominees for his Cabinet, 21 of whom have been confirmed. In addition to the ones listed in the charts above, Cabinet-rank positions requiring Senate confirmation in Biden’s administration are:

  • United Nations ambassador
  • Environmental Protection Agency administrator
  • Office of Management and Budget director
  • U.S. trade representative
  • National Intelligence director
  • Small Business Administration administrator 
  • Council of Economic Advisers chair
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy director 

Read on 

Georgia to vote in 2022 on suspending pay for officials indicted for felony

Here’s a piece of election news you may not have heard from the Peach State. Georgia voters will decide in 2022 whether to amend the state constitution to withhold the salaries of state legislators and most state executive officials suspended from office due to a felony indictment. Both chambers of Georgia’s Legislature must pass a proposed amendment by a two-thirds majority to send it to the ballot. The Senate passed this amendment 51-1 on March 8. The House passed it 169-0 on March 23. 

The proposed amendment applies to the following officeholders:

  • Members of the General Assembly
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant governor
  • Secretary of state
  • Attorney general
  • State school superintendent
  • Commissioner of insurance
  • Commissioner of agriculture
  • Commissioner of labor

In late January, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck had been receiving pay and benefits since being indicted for federal wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges in May 2019. Beck has said he is innocent of the charges. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) suspended Beck—who was first elected in 2018—in May 2019. 

Georgia has been paying the salaries of Beck and John King—Kemp’s appointment to fill the position—during Beck’s suspension. Under the state’s constitution, assembly members and public officials who are suspended from office due to a felony indictment still receive compensation until they are convicted. According to the proposed amendment, officials who are reinstated to their position would receive pay withheld during the suspension.

This is the only measure currently certified for Georgia’s 2022 ballot. Twelve measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot across nine states.

Read on 

77 million people can’t be wrong! 

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When you join our monthly donor program, the Ballotpedia Society, you will ensure that voters in America always have access to trustworthy and neutral information, free of any partisan spin. As a member, you will receive regular updates on the latest from Ballotpedia, and insider access to webinars with our staff of political experts. And new this year—your cumulative gift totaling $100 or more will qualify you for membership in Ballotpedia’s Donor Clubs, which will include various benefits designed with you in mind. Help us deliver unbiased content to all! 

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The Daily Brew: One year ago this week, SCOTUS postponed oral arguments

Welcome to the Monday, March 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. COVID-19 policy changes and events – one year ago this week
  2. SCOTUS grants review to two more cases for 2021-2022 term
  3. Ohio governor appoints new utility commission chair

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

One year ago as of this week, the U.S. Supreme Court postponed oral arguments for eight cases scheduled for its April sitting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, we kicked off a series looking back at policy changes and other significant events related to the coronavirus pandemic from one year ago that week. We’re following suit today, highlighting stay-at-home orders, school closures, travel restrictions, changed election dates, and more from a year ago.

On April 3, the U.S. Supreme Court postponed oral arguments scheduled for its April sitting. The court was scheduled to hear eight cases from April 20 to April 29. The court resumed hearing arguments on May 4 via telephone conference call and is still meeting virtually in 2021.

Here’s a collection of other coronavirus-related responses from one year ago.

The specifics of each stay-at-home (SAH) order varied from state to state, but generally, a SAH order closed certain categories of businesses and required people to stay home unless doing activities designated as essential. 

  • On March 30, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a stay-at-home order. North Carolina‘s order, issued March 27, went into effect.
  • Tennessee‘s and Arizona‘s stay-at-home orders, both issued March 30, went into effect on March 31.
  • Travel restrictions
    • On March 30, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an order requiring residents to self-quarantine for any out-of-state travel, unless they traveled for specific reasons including caring for a person in need or working. 
    • The same day, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued an executive order requiring residents and non-residents traveling to Montana, except those traveling for work, to self-quarantine for two weeks. The order also instructed the Montana National Guard to conduct temperature checks and exposure risk inquiries at airports and rail stations in the state.
  • School closures:
    • On March 30, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 13. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the statewide school closure would last indefinitely. It was previously scheduled to end on April 8.
    • On March 31, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 7 to April 30. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended the statewide school closure from April 3 to May 4.
    • Nebraska and Maine became the last states to close schools statewide on April 1 and April 2, respectively.
  • Election changes:
    • On March 30, Gov. Brad Little (R) and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (R) announced that Idaho‘s May 19 primary election would be conducted entirely by mail. Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) signed H0681 into law, making a series of temporary changes to the state’s election laws.
    • On March 31, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) announced that his office would send absentee ballot applications to all active registered voters in the state in advance of the June 2, 2020, primary election.
  • Federal government responses:
    • On April 1, the Bureau of Prisons announced it was instituting a 14-day lockdown of all prison inmates.

For the most recent coronavirus news, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery

Read on 

SCOTUS grants review to two more cases for 2021-2022 term

Speaking of SCOTUS, on March 22, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted two cases for review during its 2021-2022 term. The court has agreed to hear 10 cases during the term, scheduled to begin on Oct. 4, 2021. Here is a summary of those two new cases.

United States v. Tsarnaev concerns sentencing for the Boston Marathon bombings. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two homemade bombs at the marathon on April 15, 2013. Three people died and more than 250 people were injured. Tamerlan died in a confrontation with police officers on April 18.

  • In 2015, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indicted on and convicted of 30 criminal charges related to the bombings. He received the death sentence for several offenses. On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit vacated Tsarnaev’s death sentences. Acting solicitor general on behalf of the United States Jeffrey B. Wall appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 
  • The questions before the court in this case are:
  • “1. Whether the court of appeals erred in concluding that respondent’s capital sentences must be vacated on the ground that the district court, during its 21-day voir dire, did not ask each prospective juror for a specific accounting of the pretrial media coverage that he or she had read, heard, or seen about respondent’s case;” 
  • “2. Whether the district court committed reversible error at the penalty phase of respondent’s trial by excluding evidence that respondent’s older brother was allegedly involved in different crimes two years before the offenses for which respondent was convicted.”

The second case the court recently agreed to hear, Servotronics, Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC, concerns whether current federal law gives U.S. district courts subpoena power in private foreign commercial arbitration tribunals. Federal law allows district courts to assist with evidence gathering in foreign or international tribunals.

  • After a monetary settlement with Boeing, Rolls-Royce sought compensation from Servotronics for a valve that allegedly contributed to an engine fire on a Boeing aircraft. The dispute went to binding arbitration in Birmingham, England. Servotronics petitioned a U.S. district court to subpoena relevant documents from Boeing, but after objections from Rolls-Royce and Boeing, the district judge held that federal law does not grant district courts jurisdiction in private foreign commercial arbitration tribunals.
  • Circuit courts have split on the matter. The 2nd, 5th, and 7th Circuits have held in different cases that a private foreign tribunal is not a foreign or international tribunal within the meaning of federal law. The 4th and 6th Circuits found the opposite.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments as part of its 2020-2021 term. Forty-two cases have been argued this term through March 22. Nineteen more cases are currently scheduled to be argued starting March 29.

Read on

Ohio governor appoints new utility commission chair

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) appointed former county judge Jenifer French as chairwoman of the state’s public utilities commission on March 19. If the state Senate confirms her appointment, French’s term will run through April 10, 2024. The position has been vacant since former Chairman Sam Randazzo resigned in November. 

French was a judge on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas from 2015 to 2021. She lost her re-election bid on Nov. 3 after running unopposed in the Republican primary. Although the general election for the court was nonpartisan, candidates ran in partisan primaries. The public utilities commission office is officially nonpartisan.

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission is a five-person state executive board that regulates electric and gas utilities, water and wastewater companies, telecommunication companies, and railroads.

Ohio is one of 37 states in which the governor appoints utility commission members. The position is elected in 11 other states. In two—South Carolina and Virginia—the legislature appoints members.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: 7 states allow all residents 16+ to get coronavirus vaccine

Welcome to the Friday, March 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states
  2. 2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6
  3. Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years

All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 7 states

Note: In some states, vaccine eligibility varies by county. The data in the map above shows the loosest restrictions in each state and may not reflect statewide accessibility.

When we kicked off our weekly Brew update on coronavirus vaccine eligibility last week, all residents 16 and older were eligible for a vaccine in two states: Alaska and Mississippi. Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, and West Virginia have joined that list for a total of seven states. Here’s where things stood as of Thursday, March 25.

At least one county in each state allowed the following age groups to receive a vaccine:

  • 13 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 16+
  • Two states allowed vaccinations for anyone 18+
  • Five states allowed vaccinations for anyone 40+ or 45+
  • 10 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 50+ or 55+
  • Twenty states and Washington, D.C. allowed vaccinations for anyone 60+ or 65+

The seven states allowing everyone 16+ to get a vaccine have Republican governors.

Latest changes

  • On March 25, all Georgia residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Previously, the state limited vaccinations to people 55 and older, essential workers, and people with underlying health conditions. Georgia is the seventh state to allow vaccinations for anyone over the age of 16 statewide.
  • On March 24, all Utah residents 16 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Residents aged 50 and older have been eligible since March 4. 
  • State-operated vaccination sites in Arizona also started administering vaccines to residents 16 and older on March 24. Previously, people 55 and older could make appointments at state sites. 
  • On March 22, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) authorized healthcare providers to allow people 16 and older to register for a vaccine when appointments are available. Previously, people 16 and older were scheduled to become eligible on March 29. Residents 40 and older became eligible for vaccination on March 19.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced people 16 and older were eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 22. Previously, state-defined essential workers, people with certain comorbidities, and everyone 50 and older were eligible for vaccinations.

Governors and state health officials in the following states announced residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on the following dates:

  • Louisiana: March 29
  • Oklahoma: March 29
  • Texas: March 29
  • Indiana: March 31
  • Florida: April 5
  • Idaho: April 5
  • Tennessee: April 5
  • Illinois: April 12
  • Maine: April 19
  • Vermont: April 19
  • Maryland: April 27
  • Oregon: May 1
  • Washington: May 1

Vaccine eligibility is changing rapidly across the country. Our daily newsletter Documenting America’s Path to Recovery delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.

Read on

2021’s only state superintendent election is on April 6

Wisconsin holds an election for state superintendent of public instruction on April 6. Wisconsin is the only state to hold odd-year elections for the office. Here’s a little background about that race.

Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly are running in the April 6 race. Underly and Kerr advanced from the Feb. 16 primary with 27.3% and 26.5% of the vote, respectively. Kerr is a former school district superintendent, and Underly is a current school district superintendent. 

In her own words, Kerr said she is a “pragmatic Democrat with conservative values.” She has endorsements from several local school board members and state Sen. Alberta Darling (R). Underly’s endorsers include two former Wisconsin state superintendents, four Democratic members of Congress, and 25 Democratic members of the state legislature. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), who served as superintendent from 2009 to 2019, has not endorsed in the race.

Kerr supports publicly funded school vouchers and reopening schools statewide. Underly opposes publicly funded school vouchers and supports allowing local school districts to decide when they reopen.

Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, whom Evers appointed as his replacement, did not run for a full term. 

The primary had the second-highest turnout for state superintendent primaries in the past 20 years—326,074 people voted in the 2021 primary, compared to 368,096 people in 2017. In the February 2020 state supreme court election, 705,138 people voted. Click here for turnout data for state supreme court elections from 2000-2019.

The position of superintendent is elected in 12 states and appointed in the remaining 38. It is a nonpartisan position in 42 states. Eight of the 12 states where the office is elected hold partisan elections.

Read on 

Oklahoma school board elections have lowest unopposed rate in 8 years

On April 6, local school districts in Oklahoma will hold general elections. Elections were scheduled for 35 seats across 26 school districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope this year, but 17 of those seats will not be on the ballot due to lack of opposition. The 48.6% unopposed rate is the lowest since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure in 2014. 

From 2014-2020, 67.6% of Oklahoma school board races were canceled. The 48.6% in 2021 is 19 percentage points lower.

Across eight years of tracking, the highest unopposed rate for Oklahoma school board elections occurred in 2015, when 85.7% of races had an unopposed candidate. The chart below shows unopposed rates from 2014 to 2021.

For races that had more than two candidates file, primary elections were held Feb. 9. Candidates were able to win the primary outright if they received more than 50% of the vote.

Fourteen districts will hold a general election on April 6. These 14 districts served a total of 190,878 students during the 2016-17 school year:

• Banner

• Crooked Oak 

• Deer Creek 

• Edmond 

• Midwest 

• Mustang

• Oklahoma City 

• Owasso 

• Piedmont

• Putnam 

• Tulsa 

• Union 

• Western Heights 

• Yukon 

Eight other states besides Oklahoma are holding local and special state legislative elections on April 6: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. See our elections calendar for a list of elections within our coverage scope and links to more information.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: Where things stand with the recall effort against Newsom

Welcome to the Thursday, March 25, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Some updates on the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom 
  2. New Mexico voters to decide early childhood education funding measure
  3. What’s the Tea?

Some updates on the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom 

On March 17, the signature filing deadline passed for the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). I recently wrote about the arguments for and against the recall and the signature requirements for a successful recall. I want to follow up with where signature verification stands, news about an opposition campaign, and more.

On March 19, the California Secretary of State’s office released a signature verification update. The office had processed 1,454,710 signatures and deemed 1,188,073 valid through March 11. Another 380,060 signatures remained unprocessed. At least 1,495,709 signatures must be deemed valid to trigger a recall election.

Recall organizers said they turned in more than 2.1 million signatures by the March 17 deadline. At the current verification rate of about 82%, that would amount to 1.722 million valid signatures, which would be enough to trigger a recall election.

On March 15, Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom—the official opposition committee for the recall—filed a statement of organization. The California Democratic Party has contributed $550,000 to the committee. Recall organizers reported raising $1.6 million throughout 2020—the most recent total available on the California Secretary of State website.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election without needing a majority. 

Here’s a look at recent polls about the recall:

Several individuals have announced campaigns or received media mentions as possible candidates if the recall makes the ballot. Among those are 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell (R), and former state Sen. John Moorlach (R).

Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Out of 135 candidates, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was elected as Davis’ replacement with 48.6% of the vote.

Read on 

New Mexico voters to decide early childhood education funding measure

Earlier this week, we looked at two of the 10 measures already certified for the 2022 ballot. Here’s another—this time, out of New Mexico.

The measure would allocate 1.25% of the five-year average of year-end market values of the money in the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) to early childhood education and the public school permanent fund. Let’s unpack that a bit:

  • Revenue in the LGPF comes from leases and royalties on non-renewable natural resources, such as oil and gas, and returns on invested capital. It is currently valued at more than $20 billion.
  • Of the total increased allocation, 60% would go towards early childhood education and 40% would go toward the public school permanent fund. 
  • The amendment defines early childhood education as “nonsectarian and nondenominational education for children until they are eligible for kindergarten.” 
  • The Legislative Finance Committee estimated that the additional allocation would be about $245.7 million in fiscal year 2023.

The amendment would also provide that the allocation would not occur if the balance of the LGPF drops below $17 billion. 

The measure will appear on the ballot in November 2022 unless a special election is called for an earlier date.

In New Mexico, both chambers of the state legislature need to approve a constitutional amendment by a simple majority during one legislative session to refer the amendment to the ballot. 

Similar amendments were introduced during the last six legislative sessions but did not pass both chambers of the state legislature. The Albuquerque Journal wrote earlier this year that “new leadership in the Senate – with broad changes in the chamber’s makeup – is giving supporters renewed hope that this is the year the proposal will pass the full Legislature.” Former state Senate Finance Chair John Arthur Smith (D) opposed similar amendments. Smith sought re-election last year and lost in the primary.

On Feb. 12, the state House voted 44-23 to pass this amendment. On March 18, the state Senate passed an amended version of it 26-16 and the House concurred. Votes in both chambers were largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting and most Republicans opposing. In addition to being approved by a majority of voters, the amendment would also have to be approved by Congress because the LGPF was established by federal law, and early childhood education is not specified.

Read on 

Thursday Trivia

Yesterday’s Brew went over the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 population estimates and how they compare to 2010. According to that data, which state is projected to have the largest increase in population?

  1. Arizona
  2. Utah
  3. West Virginia
  4. Ohio

Read on 



The Daily Brew: 2020 population estimates compared to 2010

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Looking at 2020 population estimates compared to 2010
  2. Four more House incumbents not seeking re-election
  3. Indiana governor appoints secretary of state

Looking at 2020 population estimates compared to 2010

You may have heard that results from the 2020 census have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on data collection last year. I want to give an update on where things stand, along with some population estimates the Census Bureau released last December. 

First, a bit of background: Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates a census be conducted every 10 years. The 2020 census was the 24th conducted—there’s been a census every decade since 1790.

Census data is used to determine how many members of the U.S. House each state has (also known as congressional apportionment). States also use census data for redistricting.

The Bureau was originally scheduled to deliver apportionment counts to the president by Dec. 31 of last year and redistricting data to the states by March 30 of this year. On Jan. 27, Census Bureau Chief of Decennial Communications and Stakeholder Relations Kathleen Styles said the Bureau plans to deliver its final apportionment report by April 30. The Bureau later said it would deliver redistricting data to the states by Sept. 30

For now, we can look at population estimates for July 1, 2020. The Bureau released that data in December. The Bureau releases annual estimates, in addition to the decennial census. The map below shows changes between 2010 census counts and 2020 population estimates in each state.

Washington, D.C. (not shown above) had the highest estimated gain in population between 2010 and 2020 at 18.46%. The five states with the highest estimated gains were:

  • Utah: 17.58%
  • Texas: 16.76%
  • Idaho: 16.54%
  • Nevada: 16.21%
  • Arizona: 16.10%

The Bureau estimated that six states lost population:

  • West Virginia: -3.68%
  • Illinois: -1.89%
  • Connecticut: -0.48%
  • Vermont: -0.38%
  • New York: -0.21%
  • Mississippi: -0.02%

According to Roll Call, the Census Bureau’s estimates would result in Texas gaining up to three U.S. House seats, Florida could gain two, and Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon could gain one each. New York could lose two U.S. House seats and the following eight states could lose one seat each—California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Ten states lost seats and eight states gained seats in the House following the 2010 census. Click below to see which ones and for more information on the 2020 Census.

Read on

Four more House incumbents not seeking re-election

Last week, we reported that Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) was the first House member to announce a 2022 retirement. Within the past few days, four more members have announced they won’t seek re-election next year. That includes two announced retirements and two representatives planning to run for other offices.

The following House members announced retirements:

  • Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)
  • Filemon Vela (D-Texas) 

And the following announced candidacies for other offices:

  • Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), running for U.S. Senate
  • Jody Hice (R-Ga.), running for secretary of state

By the end of March 2019, three incumbents announced they would retire in 2020. Six incumbents had done so by the end of March 2017 in the 2018 cycle. 

In 2020, 36 House members did not seek re-election—26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. In 2018, 52 members—34 Republicans and 18 Democrats—didn’t run for re-election.

You might remember the chart below from last week, showing how many representatives had announced they weren’t seeking re-election by the number of months away from the general election. We updated our March 2021 figure (20 months away from the 2022 election) below.

Read on 

Indiana governor appoints secretary of state

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) appointed Holli Sullivan (R) secretary of state on Feb. 16. Sullivan succeeds Connie Lawson (R), who announced earlier this year that she would resign for health and family reasons. Sullivan will serve until the office’s next scheduled election in November 2022. 

Lawson’s tenure of nine years is the second-longest in the history of the office. Indiana’s first secretary of state, Robert New, served for nine years and one month from 1816 to 1825. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) appointed Lawson in March 2012 to fill the vacancy created when Charlie White (R) resigned. Lawson was elected to the position in 2014 and 2018.

Sullivan served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2014 until her recent appointment. She was originally appointed to the state House after Gov. Mike Pence (R) appointed the district’s previous representative, Suzanne Crouch (R), as state auditor. Sullivan was subsequently elected to the legislature four times. 

When a vacancy occurs in the Indiana General Assembly, the party that last held the seat must appoint a replacement, with the approval of the state party chair. The 78th District Republican precinct committeemen will select Sullivan’s successor.

The office of secretary of state exists in 47 states. It does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah. Voters elect the secretary of state in 35 states. The governor or state legislature appoints the secretary of state in 12 states. There are currently 25 Republican, 20 Democratic, and one independent secretaries of state. Pennsylvania’s acting secretary—Veronica Degraffenreid—is not affiliated with either party. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) appointed Degraffenreid on Feb. 1.

No states are holding secretary of state elections this year. In 2022, there will be 26 elections for the office.

Read on 



The Daily Brew: A way-too-early-look at 2022 ballot measures

Welcome to the Tuesday, March 23, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Nevada voters to decide tax measures in 2022
  2. Louisiana special election results
  3. House Administration Committee to consider IA-02 results challenge

Nevada voters to decide tax measures in 2022

So far, 10 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in eight states. How does that compare to the number certified at this point in previous election cycles?

Between 2013 and 2021, the average number of measures certified by March 22 in odd-number years for the next year’s ballot was 11.6. 

Our newsletter State Ballot Measure Monthly tracks ballot measure certifications and news. Each edition shows the measures certified in the month of the report. Click here to subscribe.

Now, let’s take a look at two of the 10 measures currently certified for the 2022 ballot—both in Nevada. One would increase the tax on gaming facilities‘ monthly revenue above $250,000. The other would increase a sales tax that goes to public schools.

Here’s a rundown of each measure:

Gaming tax 

Currently, the Nevada Gaming Commission collects a tax on monthly gross revenue from nonrestricted licensed gaming facilities. There are three tiers:

  • 3.5% on gross revenue up to $50,000 per month,
  • 4.5% on gross revenue above $50,000 up to $134,000 per month, and
  • 6.75% on gross revenue above $134,000.

This measure would add another tier for gross revenue above $250,000 at a rate of 9.75%.

In 2019, the gross gaming tax generated $783.5 million in revenue for Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board estimated the additional tax would have generated another $317.6 million had it been in effect in 2019.

Local School Support Tax 

Currently, Nevada’s Local School Support Tax—a sales tax—is 2.25%. An additional 0.35% sales and use tax was imposed in 2015. The total Local School Support sales and use tax rate is 2.6%. 

This measure would increase the state’s Local School Support Tax 1.5 percentage points from 2.25% to 3.75%. The initiative would increase Nevada’s combined statewide sales tax to a range of 8.35% to 9.875%.

The committees sponsoring the two tax initiatives have received all their funding from the Clark County Education Association.

Process

Campaigns surpassed the 97,598 valid signatures required for each measure. The initiatives then went to the state legislature. In Nevada, the legislature has 40 days from the start of the session to act on what are known as indirect initiatives. The legislature did not enact the measures by the March 12 deadline, which sent them to the ballot in November 2022. 

Read on

Louisiana special election results

As regular Brew readers know, two special congressional elections occurred on Saturday—March 20—in Louisiana. These were the first special elections of the 117th Congress. ICYMI, here’s what happened:

  • In Louisiana’s 2nd District, none of the 15 candidates received more than 50% of the vote. Troy Carter (D) and Karen Peterson (D) were the top two vote recipients, and they head to a runoff election on April 24. Carter received 36% of the vote and Peterson received 23%. Gary Chambers (D) was third with 21%. The previous 2nd District incumbent was Democrat Cedric Richmond.
  • In Louisiana’s 5th District, Julia Letlow (R) won the election outright with 65% of the vote. Candy Christophe (D) was second with 27%. Twelve candidates ran. Letlow’s husband, Luke Letlow, won the 5th District election in November and died in December before being sworn into office. The previous incumbent was Ralph Abraham (R).

No partisan changes will take place as a result of these special elections. Looking back at special elections to the House since the 113th Congress, the highest number of partisan changes—three—occurred during the 115th Congress in 2017 and 2018. That included two seats in Pennsylvania that Democrats won after court-ordered redistricting.

Ballotpedia covered other special elections in Louisiana that voters will decide in runoffs on April 24:

  • Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education District 4: Cassie Williams (D) received 29% to Michael Melerine’s (R) 28%. Tony Davis (R) previously held the seat. 
  • Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal 1st District: Marcus Hunter (D) and J. Garland Smith (D) advanced to a runoff with 44% and 32% of the vote, respectively. Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) last held the seat.
  • Louisiana House of Representatives District 82: Edwin Connick (R) received 40% and Laurie Schlegel (R) received 36%. The most recent incumbent was Charles Henry (R).

Three other special elections so far are scheduled for the 117th Congress: Texas’ 6th District on May 1, New Mexico’s 1st District on June 1, and Ohio’s 11th District primary on Aug. 3.

Read on 

House Administration Committee to consider IA-02 results challenge

The House Administration Committee voted on March 10 to consider Rita Hart’s (D) challenge of last November’s election results in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Certified results showed Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) defeated Hart by six votes. The committee tabled Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss Hart’s appeal. The decision will allow Hart to present evidence in support of her petition to the committee, which will then present a full report to the House recommending who should take the seat.

After the decision to move forward with the investigation was announced, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said that Democrats are “literally trying to overturn a state-certified election here in Congress.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said, “It’s an election of six votes out of 400,000 votes cast. This is not unique. This has happened maybe when you were in the Capitol before, when races have been close one side or the other saying, ‘Let’s take it to the house.'” Some Democrats, such as Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D), said overturning the results would be a mistake. “Overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” Phillips said.

Last year’s general election in Iowa’s 2nd District had the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984. That year, Francis McCloskey (D) defeated Richard McIntyre (R) by four votes in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District.

Hart’s and Miller-Meeks’ lawyers have until March 29 to provide written answers to a series of questions from the committee. If the committee recommends the matter to the full House, the chamber will decide the outcome by a majority vote as provided for in Article I, Section 5, of the U.S. Constitution. Click the link below for a full timeline of events leading up to this.

The House Administration Committee has dismissed most contested election cases that come before it. According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, out of 107 contested election cases filed between 1933 and 2009, the candidate who contested the election won three times. 

Read on 



The Daily Brew: One year ago – how state governments responded to COVID

Welcome to the Monday, March 22, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. COVID-19 policy changes – one year ago this week
  2. Register for our election systems briefing on Wednesday 
  3. Three challenge Pittsburgh mayor in Democratic primary

COVID-19 policy changes – one year ago this week

One year ago tomorrow—March 23—Oregon became the fifth state to issue a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. California was the first state to do so on March 19. At the federal level, President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27. That was the first of now three aid packages Congress passed and presidents Trump or Biden have signed.

Throughout March and April 2020, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Several of those policies are still in place. We’ll be periodically looking back on those events of one year ago. Today let’s explore a sampling of the events that happened one year ago this week.

Stay-at-home orders:

The specifics of each stay-at-home order varied from state to state, but they all closed certain categories of businesses and required people to stay home unless doing activities designated as essential. 

  • On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued Executive Order No. 20-12, directing individuals to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placing restrictions on non-essential businesses. Also, the stay-at-home order Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued on March 22 went into effect.
  • On March 24, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued stay-at-home orders.

Travel restrictions

  • On March 24, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered travelers flying into Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • On March 26, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order requiring people flying to Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or New Orleans to self-quarantine for two weeks.

School closures:

  • On March 23, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) extended the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, through April 20. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) extended the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, to May 1.
  • On March 24, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that schools would remain closed through April 23. The Hawaii Department of Education announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 6, would last through April 30.

Election changes:

  • On March 23, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed a law authorizing municipalities to postpone any elections originally scheduled to occur prior to May 30, 2020, to any date on or before June 30, 2020. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) announced that absentee voting in the June 2, 2020, primary election would open on April 23, 2020—40 days before the primary election.
  • On March 24, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) announced plans to conduct all voting in the June 9, 2020, primary election by mail.

Federal government responses:

  • On March 24, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would use the Defense Production Act to acquire 60,000 coronavirus testing kits.
  • On March 25, the U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to pass the CARES Act, which included individual payments of $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000 annually.
  • On March 27, the House passed the CARES Act on an unrecorded voice vote and Trump signed it.

For a list of policy changes Ballotpedia covered on other days one year ago this week, click here.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery

Register for our election systems briefing on Wednesday 

Last year, Alaska became the second state in the country (along with Maine) to pass ranked-choice voting statewide. Earlier this month, St. Louis became the second city in the U.S. to use approval voting, where voters select any number of candidates they want on their ballots. In June, New York City voters will use ranked-choice voting in mayoral primaries for the first time. 

Voters approved all these changes and more through ballot measures in recent years.

The landscape of election systems has changed quite a bit in the past year. On Wednesday, March 24, Ballot Measures Project Director Josh Altic and staff writer Amée LaTour will hold a briefing on recent ballot measures that have changed how people vote in certain states and cities around the country

They’ll discuss the measures I mentioned in Alaska, New York City, and St. Louis, as well as those in several cities in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont. They’ll also highlight interesting primaries using new election systems this year. 

The briefing is at 11 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday. And if you can’t attend the presentation live, we’ll send you a link to the recording when it’s available so you can watch it on your schedule. I hope you’ll join us!

Register here

Three challenge Pittsburgh mayor in Democratic primary 

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will face three challengers—state Rep. Edward Gainey, Tony Moreno, and Michael Thompson—in the city’s Democratic primary on May 18, according to an unofficial list issued by Allegheny County as of March 18. No Republican candidates filed to run. The filing deadline was March 9. 

Peduto was first elected in 2013 with 84% support to Republican Joshua Wander’s 12%. Peduto won the Democratic primary that year with 52% of the vote against three other candidates. In 2017, Peduto won the Democratic primary against two other candidates with 69% of the vote and was unopposed in the general election.

The primary winner will advance to the city’s mayoral general election on Nov. 2. Independent candidates have until Aug. 2 to file. If no independent candidate files, the May 18 Democratic primary winner will be unopposed in the general election.

As of January, 64 mayors in the nation’s 100 largest cities were Democrats, 25 were Republican, and 11 were independent or nonpartisan. Between 2014 and 2020, 68.2% of incumbent mayors sought re-election; of these, 17.6% were defeated in their bids for re-election.

Read on