Taglocal elections

Ohio village council recall election to be held Feb. 23

A special recall election seeking to remove four Woodmere Village Council members from their seats is scheduled for February 23, 2021. Woodmere is a town in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, with a population of 884 people as of the 2010 census. The board members subject to recall are board president Jennifer Mitchell Earley and members Glenda Todd Miller, Lisa Brockwell, and Craig Wade.

The recall election ballot asks one question for each of the four members: “Shall [council member’s name] be allowed to continue as Member of Council?” If a majority of the votes are in the affirmative, the member will remain in office; if a majority of the votes are in the negative, the member will be recalled. The question of replacement for any recalled member is not on the ballot and will be addressed after the recall election, if necessary.

The recall effort began in October 2020. Recall petitioners, known collectively as the Woodmere Project, cited the council’s failure to install a sidewalk along the village’s main road and its inability to keep the village’s website up-to-date as grounds for the recall. Petitioners also accused the four council members of pitting residents against each other.

The recall opponents alleged that a lack of transparency about the contents of the recall petition misled the residents who signed it. Petitioners were required to obtain 45 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

The recall election was originally scheduled for January 19, 2021, but was canceled after the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections determined petitioners did not submit the required number of signatures. The effort was initially certified as having enough signatures due to confusion over whether petitioners were submitting initial or supplemental signatures. Petitioners then re-submitted signatures sufficient to get the recall on the ballot on February 23.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Five candidates file to run in Mar. 9 special election for Orange County Board of Supervisors

On January 25, the filing deadline passed to run for one of the five seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors in California. The special election to fill the vacant District 2 seat is scheduled for March 9. Five candidates filed to run in the special election: Katrina Foley, John M. W. Moorlach, Kevin Muldoon, Janet Rappaport, and Michael Vo.

The special election was scheduled to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Michelle Steel, who was elected to represent California’s 48th Congressional District on November 3, 2020. Steel served on the board from 2015 to 2021.

Orange County, California, had a population of 3,114,000 in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau. 

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Year-end analysis of local ballot measures in the top 100 largest cities in the U.S.

There were 314 local measures on the ballot for voters in the nation’s 100 largest cities in 2020. These spanned 26 different states and Washington, D.C. Ballotpedia’s year-end analysis dives into approval rates, notable topics and measures, bond and tax measures, and the types of measures.

Here are some highlights:

  1. 252 measures (80.3%) were approved, and 62 (19.7%) were defeated. There were 109 (34.7%) in California.
  2. 174 measures (55.4%) proposed bond issues or taxes. Of those, 126 were approved, and 48 were defeated.
  3. There were 92 local bond measures. The measures proposed a total of $32.16 billion in bond money. Voters approved 67 measures amounting to $25.567 billion. Voters rejected 25 measures amounting to $6.593 billion.
  4. Twenty-two measures (7.0%) concerned elections, campaigns, voting, and term limits.
  5. Twenty measures (6.4%) concerned law enforcement or police policies.
  6. Washington, D.C., became the fifth city to decriminalize psilocybin and the first city to decriminalize all entheogenic plants and fungi.
  7. Fourteen measures were put on the ballot by initiative signature petitions, and 300 were referred to the ballot by city councils, county boards, school boards, special district boards, or, in two cases, state legislatures.

Jason Williams defeats Keva Landrum in Orleans Parish District Attorney race

Jason Williams (D) defeated Keva Landrum (D) in the December 5, 2020, general election for the Orleans Parish, Louisiana, District Attorney. Williams received 57.8% of the vote, while Landrum received 42.2%.

Williams is an at-large member of the New Orleans City Council, a seat he won in 2014. Landrum served as a judge at the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court until July, 2020, when she resigned to enter the District Attorney race.

Williams and Landrum advanced from the first-round of voting on November 3 after neither received more than 50% of the vote to win, as required under Louisiana’s majority-vote system. Landrum received 34.8%, while Williams received 29.4%.

Incumbent Leon Cannizzaro (D), who was first elected in 2008, declined to seek re-election, leaving the seat open for the first time in 12 years.

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Ballotpedia identifies 20 local police-related ballot measures decided Nov. 3

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, cities and counties introduced police-related measures. Ballotpedia tracked 20 such measures that appeared on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

All 20 measures were approved or were ahead pending the count of remaining ballots. Note: All vote counts were as of 6:00 p.m. EST on Nov. 11.

Cities and counties that approved these police-related issues in November included:

○ Los Angeles County, California

○ Oakland, California

○ San Diego, California

○ San Francisco, California

○ San Jose, California

○ Sonoma County, California

○ DuPage County, Illinois

○ Akron, Ohio

○ Columbus, Ohio

○ Portland, Oregon

○ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

○ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

○ Kyle, Texas

○ King County, Washington

Three notable measures among the 20 were:

Los Angeles County Measure J – This measure requires that no less than 10% of the county’s general fund be appropriated to community programs and alternatives to incarceration. It prohibited the use of those funds for incarceration or law enforcement purposes.

Columbus Issue 2 – This measure created the Civilian Police Review Board to investigate alleged police misconduct, subpoena testimony and evidence during the investigations, make recommendations to the Division of Police, and appoint and manage the new position of Inspector General for the Division of Police. Prior to Nov. 2020, Columbus did not have a police oversight board or commission or an equivalent agency. According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, 20 of the 25 largest city police departments in the U.S. had an oversight board or commission in place as of the beginning of 2020.

Portland Measure 26-217 – This measure amended the city charter to establish a new police oversight board to replace the existing police review board. It allows the new board to subpoena witnesses, request police documents and evidence to investigate complaints made against the Portland Police Bureau, and impose disciplinary actions up to termination of law enforcement professionals. It also authorizes the board to recommend policing policy to the Portland Police Bureau and Portland City Council.

At least four mayoral offices changed partisan control in the 100 largest cities Nov. 3

Twenty-nine of the 100 largest U.S. cities held mayoral elections in 2020. Of the 24 elections called so far, four party changes have taken place, with Republicans losing three offices and Democrats losing one. Democrats and independents each flipped two offices:

• In Honolulu, Hawaii, independent Rick Blangiardi won the open seat. Democratic mayor Kirk Caldwell was term-limited.

• In Irvine, California, Democrat Farrah Khan defeated incumbent Christina Shea (R).

• In San Diego, California, Democrat Todd Gloria won the open seat. The incumbent, Kevin Faulconer (R), was term-limited.

• In Scottsdale, Arizona, independent David Ortega won the open seat. Incumbent Jim Lane (R) was term-limited.

In those four cities—and in most of the nation’s largest cities—mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, though many officeholders and candidates are affiliated with political parties. Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2020.

In 15 of the 29 cities that held elections in 2020, the incumbent was Republican at the start of 2020. Twelve incumbents were Democratic, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Mayoral races in Riverside and Stockton, California, remain undecided. December runoff elections for mayor will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Dec. 5); Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 12); and El Paso, Texas (Dec. 15).

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Incumbent Mayor Ted Wheeler wins re-election in Portland, Oregon

Image of City Hall in Portland, Oregon.

Incumbent Ted Wheeler defeated Sarah Iannarone and write-in candidate Teressa Raiford in the general election for mayor of Portland, Oregon. Wheeler was first elected in 2016.

Nineteen candidates ran in the May 19 primary. Wheeler received 49.1%, Iannarone received 24%, and Raiford received 8.5%. In 2016, Wheeler won during the primary with 55% of the vote.

This race drew media attention following protests in Portland over law enforcement’s use of force and the death of George Floyd. During his campaign, Wheeler said he led on police reform and the city’s COVID-19 response.

George Gascón defeats incumbent Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey

George Gascón defeated incumbent Jackie Lacey in the nonpartisan general election for Los Angeles County District Attorney, the nation’s largest local prosecutorial district.

Gascón served two terms as San Francisco District Attorney, winning election to succeed Kamala Harris in 2011 and winning re-election unopposed in 2015. He did not seek election to a third term in 2019. Lacey was first elected as Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2012 and was re-elected unopposed in 2016.

Lacey was the first-place finisher in the March 3 nonpartisan primary, winning 49% of the vote to Gascón’s 28%. Preliminary returns suggest Gascón won 54% of the general election vote to Lacey’s 47%.