Tagelection results

Two Atlanta Public Schools races head to runoff election

Nine seats on the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) school board in Georgia—three at-large and six by-district seats—were up for general election on Nov. 2. Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 and At-Large Districts 8 and 9 were decided in the general election, but District 2 and At-Large District 7 will go to a runoff election scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021.

General election winners were Katie Howard in District 1, Jennifer McDonald in District 4, Erika Yvette Mitchell in District 5, Eshé Collins in District 6, Cynthia Briscoe Brown in At-Large District 8, and Jason Esteves in At-Large District 9. Aretta Baldon and Keisha Carey will advance to a runoff election for the District 2 seat, while Tamara Jones and KaCey Venning will advance to a runoff for the At-Large District 7 seat.

Six incumbents were seeking re-election: Brown (At-Large District 8), Esteves (At-Large District 9), Baldon (District 2), Michelle Olympiadis (District 3), Mitchell (District 5), and Collins (District 6). Three incumbents did not seek re-election: Kandis Wood Jackson (At-Large Seat 7), Leslie Grant (District 1), and Nancy Meister (District 4).

With one-quarter of APS students enrolled in charter and partner schools, standards for renewing and expanding charter schools were major issues in this race. In 2018, the board voted 5-4 to allow KIPP Metro Atlanta, a network of charter schools, to continue to operate until 2023 when the charter must be renewed or terminated. Of the incumbent candidates in this election, Esteves and Collins supported the KIPP charter, while Brown, Mitchell, and Olympiadis opposed it.

COVID-19 response policies, including mask and vaccine mandates, were also an issue. In addition to implementing a school-wide mask policy and mandatory twice-weekly testing requirement for staff for the 2021-2022 school year, APS released a statement on Oct. 7, 2021, saying the school district would “continue to study the feasibility and need for a vaccine mandate in our district.”

The 2021 election is the last election during which every board seat is up for election simultaneously, as Georgia’s HB 1075 changed the state’s school board election process so that members’ terms are staggered. The candidates who won in odd-numbered districts will serve two-year terms expiring Dec. 31, 2023. Candidates who won seats in even-numbered districts will serve four-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2025.

Atlanta Public Schools is located in northwestern Georgia in Fulton County and DeKalb County. It is classified as a large city school district by the National Center for Education Statistics. The district served 52,377 students during the 2018-2019 school year and comprised 89 schools.



Phil Murphy becomes the first Democrat to win re-election as governor of New Jersey since 1977

Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) defeated former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R), becoming the first Democrat to win re-election as governor of New Jersey since 1977.

As of 9:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, Murphy led Ciattarelli by a margin of 19,440 votes or 0.8 percentage points. If this margin holds, it will be 13 percentage points narrower than Murphy’s initial election in 2017. It would also make this election the closest gubernatorial election in New Jersey since Thomas Kean (R) defeated James Florio (D) by a margin of 0.1 percentage points in 1981. The results may also be subject to a recount. In New Jersey, any candidate can request a recount within 17 days of the election.

Charles Stile of NorthJersey.com called the election a “race to the bottom” in a September 2021 article, citing Murphy and Ciattarelli’s negative attacks targeting the other. Murphy used campaign ads and events to portray Ciattarelli as out of touch with the state’s electorate and wanting to introduce former President Donald Trump‘s (R) agenda to the state. Ciattarelli highlighted issues such as taxes and the handling of sexual abuse allegations to frame Murphy as an elected official who does not understand the needs of average New Jerseyites.

Murphy’s win preserves New Jersey’s Democratic trifecta, as well as its Democratic triplex. A win for Ciattarelli would have broken New Jersey’s Democratic trifecta and replaced the state’s Democratic triplex with a Republican triplex.

In New Jersey, gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates run together on joint tickets. Along with Murphy, incumbent Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D) was re-elected.

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Colorado voters reject three ballot initiatives, including measure to create education program and raise marijuana sales tax

Three initiatives—Amendment 78, Proposition 119, and Proposition 120— were on the ballot on Nov. 2, and were rejected by voters.

Proposition 119 would have created the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program, also known as the LEAP Program, and would have increased the marijuana retail sales tax incrementally from 15% to 20% to partially fund the program. The measure was rejected by a vote of 54.5% against to 45.5% in favor.

Learning Opportunities for Colorado’s Kids led the Yes on Prop 119 campaign. The committee reported raising $2.58 million in contributions. The top two donors were Gary Community Investment Company, which gave $1.97 million, and Ready Colorado, which gave $625,000. Three committees registered to oppose the initiative: No on Prop 119, Coloradans Against School Vouchers, and Cannabis Community for Fairness and Safety. Together, the committees reported raising $73,530 in contributions.

Michael Fields, executive director of Colorado Rising Action, sponsored Amendment 78 and Proposition 120. Amendment 78 was rejected by a vote of 56.5% against to 43.5% in favor. It would have transferred the power to appropriate custodial funds from the state treasurer to the state legislature. Examples of such funds include pension funds and court-approved settlement funds. The committee supporting the initiative raised $1.275 million, all given by Unite for Colorado, which describes itself as an “issue advocacy organization that believes in a smaller, more accountable government.” No committees registered to oppose the measure.

Proposition 120 was rejected by a vote of 57% against to 43% in favor. It would have reduced the residential property tax assessment rate from 7.15% to 6.5% and the non-residential property tax assessment rate from 29% to 26.4%. It would also have authorized the state to retain and spend $25 million in revenue above the state’s TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) spending cap for five years, which it would otherwise be required to refund to taxpayers, to fund reimbursements to local government entities for lost revenue due to homestead exemptions given to qualifying seniors and disabled veterans. The committee supporting the measure raised $1.53 million from Unite for Colorado ($875,000), Colorado Rising State Action ($347,000), the Apartment Association of Metro Denver ($241,900), and United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. ($52,000). No committees registered to oppose the measure.

In total, $3,329,466.92 was spent by the initiative campaigns on signature gathering for the three 2021 Colorado initiatives. Campaigns needed to submit 124,632 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The average cost-per-required-signature was $8.42.

Measures that can go on the statewide ballot in Colorado during odd years are limited to topics that concern taxes or state fiscal matters arising under TABOR. The last time an initiative appeared on an odd-year ballot in Colorado was 2013. The measure, which was defeated, would have changed Colorado’s flat personal income tax rate to a graduated income rate with increased rates.



New Jersey voters reject expanded sports betting amendment, approve change to raffle law

Voters in New Jersey decided two constitutional amendments on Nov. 2, approving one and rejecting the other. Proposal 1 was rejected by 56.8% of voters. It would have allowed wagering on all college sports competitions. As of 2021, the state constitution permitted sports betting except on games held in New Jersey and on games featuring New Jersey-based college teams. Therefore, the ballot measure would have expanded sports betting to include all college sports competitions.

Proposal 2 was approved by 64.1% of voters. The ballot measure allowed organizations that are permitted to hold raffles to keep the raffle proceeds to support themselves. As of 2021, the New Jersey Constitution limited bingo and raffles to several types of organizations, including veterans, charitable, educational, religious, and fraternal organizations; civic and service clubs; senior citizen associations; and volunteer fire companies and volunteer first-aid and rescue squads. Of these organizations, veterans and senior citizen organizations were allowed to use proceeds from bingo or raffles to support their groups. The other organizations were prohibited from doing so.

Both of the constitutional amendments were put on the ballot by the New Jersey General Assembly. Legislative Democrats and most Republicans voted to put Proposal 1 on the ballot. Legislators unanimously voted to put Proposal 2 on the ballot.

Between 1995 and 2020, New Jersey voters decided 35 constitutional amendments, approving 32 (91.4%) of them. Before 2021, the last amendment to be rejected was Question 1 of 2016. It would have authorized two casinos in northern New Jersey.



Maine voters approve ballot measures, including transmission corridor initiative and right to food amendment

Voters in Maine approved each of the three measures on the ballot for Nov. 2, 2021.  As of 8:30am EST on Wednesday, 89% of precincts had reported results. Question 1 received 59% of the vote. It was designed to prohibit the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). Question 2 received 72% of the vote. It authorized $100 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects. Question 3 received 61% of the vote. It established a state right to growing, raising, harvesting, and producing food, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching, or abuses to private land, public land, or natural resources.

Question 1 prohibited the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to Sept. 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of NECEC. Segment 1 was permitted to begin construction on May 13, 2021. The NECEC is a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. The ballot initiative also required a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission lines. 

Question 1 saw $98.41 million raised between supporters and opponents. According to the Bangor Daily News, Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history, and the second most expensive political election after the $200 million U.S. Senate race in 2020.

No CMP Corridor led the campaign in support of Question 1. The PACs Mainers for Local Power and NRCM Yes on Question 1 were also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.64 million, including $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine; $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $70.77 million, including $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and $19.94 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Question 1 had the support of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Sierra Club Maine, along with Calpine Corp., NextEra Energy Resources, and Vistra Energy Corp. Question 1 was opposed by Gov. Janet Mills (D), former Gov. Paul LePage (R), U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the supporting companies.

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Republican Ryan Fazio flips seat in Connecticut Senate special election

A special election was held on Aug. 17 for District 36 of the Connecticut State Senate. Ryan Fazio (R) defeated Alexis Gevanter (D) and John Blankley (I) in the general election. Unofficial results on election night had Fazio winning with 50.1% of the vote with all precincts reporting. Gevanter and Blankley earned 47.6% and 2.3% of the vote, respectively. Fazio will serve for the remainder of the term ending in January 2023.

The seat became vacant after Alex Kasser (D) resigned effective June 22, citing her ongoing divorce proceedings as the reason for her resignation. Kasser was elected in 2018, earning 50.4% of the vote and defeating incumbent Scott Frantz (R). She won re-election in 2020 with 51.4% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Democrats had a 23-12 majority in the Connecticut Senate with one vacancy. Connecticut has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of August, 51 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 18 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Connecticut held 40 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Fazio’s win marked the first flipped seat as a result of 2021 state legislative special elections. In special elections between 2011 and 2020, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year.

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Duggan and Adams advance from Detroit, Michigan mayoral primary

Incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan and Anthony Adams advanced from Detroit, Michigan’s mayoral primary on Aug. 4, 2021. Duggan received 72.4% of the vote and to Adams’ 10%. Tom Barrow received 6% of the vote followed by Myya Jones with 5%. No other candidate received more than 2%.

Before becoming mayor, Duggan was president and CEO of Detroit Medical Center from 2004 to 2012. He was assistant corporation counsel for Wayne County from 1985 to 1986, deputy Wayne County executive from 1987 to 2000, and Wayne County prosecutor from 2001 to 2003. Duggan was first elected mayor in 2013 when he defeated opponent Benny Napoleon (D) with 55% of the vote to Napoleon’s 45%. In 2017, he was re-elected by a margin of nearly 44 points, defeating Coleman Young II (D) with 71.6% of the vote to Young’s 27.8%. Duggan said that, if re-elected in 2021, he would “work every day to continue to make sure every neighborhood has a future and every Detroiter has a true opportunity to achieve your dreams.”

Adams was an attorney as of the primary and served as deputy mayor of Detroit under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). He was also an executive assistant to Mayor Coleman Young, was a board member and general counsel for Detroit Public Schools, and was interim director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Adams said his “extensive leadership experience, unwavering commitment, and enlightened skill-set uniquely position him to move the city of Detroit forward” and that he was “committed to serving the ordinary people of Detroit and not Special Interest Groups.”

Economic development and public safety were major issues in the race. Duggan said he would work with the city council and manufacturers to bring more high-paying jobs into the city. Adams said he would support a universal basic income plan and an income-based water billing system and emphasized early intervention as a means to reduce crime. Barrow also supported a water affordability program for Detroit residents and said neighborhood revitalization projects should focus on a broader area and not just downtown.

The city of Detroit uses a strong mayor and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city’s primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city’s chief executive.

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Update on Seattle’s mayor and council primary election results

Seattle, Washington, held top-two primary elections on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Results of the races are pending. Elections in Washington are conducted primarily by mail (ballots may also be deposited in drop boxes or returned in person). Ballots postmarked by Aug. 3 will be counted. King County Elections plans to release updated vote totals each weekday until results are certified on Aug. 17. 

Below are the top five candidates in each race as of preliminary results released Aug. 3. 

Mayoral primary

Fifteen candidates ran in this election. Incumbent Jenny Durkan did not seek re-election. 

  • Bruce Harrell – 38.2%
  • Lorena González – 28.5%
  • Colleen Echohawk – 8.3%
  • Jessyn Farrell – 7.5%
  • Arthur Langlie – 5.8%

City Council position 9

Seven candidates ran in the primary for the seat González currently holds. 

  • Sara Nelson – 42.4%
  • Nikkita Oliver – 35.0%
  • Brianna Thomas – 14.3%
  • Cory Eichner – 4.2%
  • Lindsay McHaffie – 1.8%

City Council position 8

Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda is seeking re-election. The primary featured 11 candidates. 

  • Mosqueda – 54.6%
  • Kenneth Wilson – 18.3%
  • Kate Martin – 12.5%
  • Paul Glumaz – 5.7%
  • Alexander White – 1.6%

Seattle holds elections for mayor and two at-large city council seats every four years. The seven other council seats are elected by district every four years. The last election for those seats was in 2019.



Voters decide municipal primary elections in Clallam County, WA

Clallam County, Washington, has the nation’s longest unbroken record of voting for the winning presidential candidate, going back to 1980. Since 1920, voters in the county backed the winning presidential candidate in every election except 1968 and 1976.

Top-two primaries took place on Aug. 3 in three cities in Clallam County—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. In total, 26 offices are up for election in those cities this year.

Results of the races are pending. Elections in Washington are conducted primarily by mail, though ballots may also be deposited in drop boxes or returned in person. Ballots postmarked by Aug. 3 will be counted. The Clallam County Auditor’s office releases updated vote totals on a daily basis until all ballots are counted.

In Clallam County, nonpartisan elections skip the primary and appear only on the general election ballot when fewer than three candidates file for the election or the office is a cemetery or parks and recreation district. Below are the preliminary results from races where primaries took place in Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks as of Aug. 4. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the general election on Nov. 2, when the other 20 offices will also be on the ballot.

Port Angeles

Port Angeles School District Director Position No. 2

Jesse Charles – 25.45%

Mary Hebert – 36.08%

Jean M. Stratton – 6.06%

Port Angeles City Council Position No. 1

LaTrisha Suggs (incumbent) – 47.05%

John DeBoer – 11.43%

Adam Garcia – 41.44%

Port Angeles City Council Position No. 2

Mike French (incumbent) – 57.02%

John Madden – 35.42%

Samantha Rodahl – 7.54%

Port Angeles City Council Position No. 3

Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin (incumbent) – 41.65%

Jason Thompson – 21.06%

Jena Stamper – 37.26%

Port Angeles City Council Position No. 4

Kate Dexter (incumbent) – 53.9%

Jon Bruce – 5.4%

John W. Procter – 40.65%

Sequim

Sequim School District Director at Large, Position No. 4 (multi-county race)

Derek Huntington – 16.02%

Kristi Schmeck – 29.07%

Virginia R. Sheppard – 28.17%

Rachel Tax – 26.56%

Forks

Forks City Council Position No. 2

Josef Echeita – 31.22%

Barbara Neihouse – 9.26%

Clinton W. Wood – 58.2%

Clallam County is located in the northwestern corner of Washington. The estimated population in 2020 was 76,770. The county sits at the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, on the Olympic Peninsula.



Voters approve Washington sheriff recall election

A recall election seeking to remove Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington was held on Aug. 3. A majority of voters cast yes ballots, approving the recall. Hatcher will be removed from office once results from the election are finalized.

The recall effort began in July 2020 and was led by the Benton County Sheriff’s Guild. Members of the guild said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. 

Hatcher, who first took office in May 2017, said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing.

Washington requires recall petitions to be reviewed by a judge before they can be circulated. Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram approved the recall petition against Hatcher on Aug. 20, 2020. Hatcher appealed the decision to the Washington Supreme Court, which ruled on Nov. 6 that the recall effort could move forward and begin collecting signatures. The 13,937 signatures required to get the recall on the ballot was equal to 25% of the votes cast in the last sheriff election. Recall supporters submitted 16,552 signatures on April 23. The Benton County Auditor verified 14,215 signatures, allowing the recall to be put on the ballot.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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