Tagnews event

Redistricting review: Colorado Supreme Court adjusts redistricting deadlines

The Colorado Supreme Court modified its schedule for reviewing congressional and state legislative redistricting plans on July 26. This prompted the state’s congressional redistricting commission to adjust its own deadlines for submitting a final plan to the court for review.

The court’s July 26 order requires the congressional commission and all other interested parties to submit briefs “seven days after [the commission] … submits a final [congressional] plan and relevant accompanying materials to the supreme court for review, but in any event no later than Oct. 8.” The court will issue a ruling on the plan by Nov. 1. On Aug. 2, the congressional commission voted to adjust its own deadlines accordingly. It will approve a final plan by Sept. 28 and submit that plan to the court by Oct. 1. The commission’s original deadline for adopting a final congressional plan was Sept. 1.

The congressional redistricting commission originally petitioned the court to extend the deadline for submitting a final plan to Oct. 28. In response to the court’s July 26 order, Commissioner Bill Leone said, “We asked for a schedule, and they gave us a slightly different schedule — it’s not as much as we asked for, but it’s more than we have.”

For the state legislative district plan, the court set Oct. 22 as the briefing deadline. The court will issue a ruling on the plan by Nov. 15. The state legislative redistricting commission has not yet determined whether it will extend its original Sept. 15 deadline for submitting a final plan to the court for review.

To date:

  • Two states have enacted state legislative district plans: Illinois and Oklahoma.
  • In one additional state (Colorado), redistricting authorities have released drafts of proposed congressional and state legislative district plans.


OIRA reviewed 43 significant rules in July

Photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 43 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in July 2021. The agency approved no rules without changes and approved the intent of 38 rules while recommending changes to their content. Five rules were withdrawn from the review process.

OIRA reviewed 73 significant regulatory actions in July 2020, 51 significant regulatory actions in July 2019, 36 significant regulatory actions in July 2018, and 19 significant regulatory actions in July 2017. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 53 significant regulatory actions each July.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 308 significant rules in 2021. The agency reviewed a total of 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of August 2, 2021, OIRA’s website listed 65 regulatory actions under review.

OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Every month, Ballotpedia compiles information about regulatory reviews conducted by OIRA. To view this project, visit: 

https://ballotpedia.org/Completed_OIRA_review_of_federal_administrative_agency_rules

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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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Incumbents advance in Wichita City Council primary races

Voters in Wichita, Kan., held a nonpartisan primary election on Aug. 3 for two seats on the city council. The general election will be held on Nov. 2.

Of the three city council seats on the ballot in 2021, only two required a primary election. In the race that did not require a primary election, District 1 incumbent Brandon Johnson and Myron Ackerman will face off in the general election. Johnson was elected to the city council in 2017.

In the District 3 race, incumbent Jared Cerullo and Mike Hoheisel advanced past the primary by defeating Jason Carmichael, Jerome Crawford, Ian Demory, Cindy Miles, and Tevin Smith. According to unofficial results, Cerullo and Hoheisel received 29% and 27% of the vote, respectively. Cerullo was appointed to the city council in March 2021 to replace James Clendenin. Clendenin resigned on Dec. 31, 2020, after being censured for his role in an attempt to falsely accuse Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple (D) of sexual harassment.

In the District 6 primary, incumbent Cindy Claycomb and Maggie Ballard defeated Martin Garcia, Loren John Hermreck, Dereck Reynolds, and Andy Speck. Claycomb received 41% of the vote, and Ballard received 44%. Claycomb was elected to the city council in 2017.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the U.S. by population. It had an estimated population of 389,938 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 68 cities, including 40 mayoral elections.

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Filing deadline approaches to run for municipal office in Minneapolis, St. Paul

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota is on Aug. 10. Prospective candidates may file for:

The nonpartisan general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Elections for all five offices will use ranked choice-voting. A ranked-choice voting system is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are, respectively, the first- and second-largest cities in Minnesota, and the 46th- and 65th-largest in the U.S. by population.



Douglas Peters resigns from Maryland Senate on July 30

Maryland Sen. Douglas Peters (D) resigned from his position in the Maryland Senate on July 30. Peters, who represented District 23, first assumed office in 2007, and was subsequently re-elected three times. 

Peters had announced his resignation at the beginning of July, following his appointment to the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R). In a statement, Peters called it “an honor of a lifetime to serve my neighbors at the city, county, and state level,” and that he looked forward “to serving on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.”

Peters’ departure from the state Senate leaves a vacancy in his district that will be filled by appointment. The appointee will serve until the district is up for election at next year’s midterms. The state Senate’s partisan composition is 31 Democrats, 15 Republicans, and one vacancy. While both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are under Democratic control, the governor of Maryland is Republican, preventing a Democratic trifecta.

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Lawsuit filed over Newsom recall voter guide language

On July 29, 2021, recall organizer Orrin Heatlie and the California Patriot Coalition sued California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) in Sacramento County Superior Court seeking to change the language in the official voter guide for the recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Newsom’s proposed official argument in the voter guide describes the recall as “an attempt by national Republicans and Trump supporters to force an election and grab power in California.” The plaintiffs allege this language, which was provided by Newsom, “mirror(s) his and his supporters’ paid advertisements” and amount to paid advertisement.

Newsom’s proposed language refers to himself as “Democratic governor,” which the plaintiffs are also challenging. On July 12, 2021, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled that Newsom would not have his party affiliation on the recall ballot because Newsom did not file a party preference form in response to the recall petition.

Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom’s campaign, called the lawsuit baseless. “The facts are clear — this is a partisan Republican recall: one that was launched by Republicans like Heatlie and Netter and funded almost exclusively by Republican donors, the RNC and allies of Donald Trump,” he said.

A hearing in the case will take place on August 4. The deadline for public review and legal challenges related to the voter guide is August 6. The voter guide will be mailed to voters by August 24.

The recall election will present voters with two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are running in the election. The candidates to receive the most media attention and perform best in polls so far are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R), and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose (R).



Alabama House of Representatives District 63 special election set for Feb. 1, 2022

Election officials have scheduled a special election for the District 63 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives for Feb. 1, 2022. The seat became vacant after Bill Poole (R) resigned on July 31 after Gov. Kay Ivey (R) appointed him the director of the Alabama Department of Finance. The primary is on Oct. 19, the primary runoff if no candidate receives a majority of the primary vote is on Nov. 16, and the filing deadline is on Aug. 17.