The Council of State Governments’ Elections Center offers our members and other interested parties data and analysis regarding the 2012 elections. Looking at elections in all three branches of state government from across the nation, the Elections Center is a resource for both pre- and post-election party control data and how the outcomes might affect various policy areas heading into 2013.

Post-Election Gubernatorial Party Control 

Pre-Election Gubernatorial Party Control

Post-Election Legislative Party Control

 Post-Election Legislative Party Control

Pre-Election Legislative Party Control 

  2012 Gubernatorial Winners 

2012 Lieutenant Governor Winners

  2012 Attorney General Winners

  2012 Secretary of State Winners

  2012 Treasurer Winners

  2012 Auditor Winners

  State Leaders and the New Congress

  2012 State Supreme Court Winners

  2012: Current State Officials Seeking Congressional Seats



Colorado election officials were regularly seeing 70, sometimes 80, percent of voters casting their ballots by mail. That’s because the state offered the ability to vote as a permanent absentee. To do so, however, voters had to apply for permanent absentee status. That changed with a 2013 law that standardized the vote-by-mail process. Now, everyone in the state receives a ballot by mail that they can cast by either mailing it back or taking it to a voter service center.

Colorado is among several states in recent years to pass laws improving the election system and increasing voting access.

The process for U.S. military servicemembers and other citizens overseas to vote in federal, state and local elections is benefiting from some much-needed enhancements, according to elections experts and federal officials at a session presented by CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative Monday.

“The process of overseas voting has been drastically improved in recent years,” said Mark Raugust, voting action officer for the U.S. Department of State. 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments recommends that each state’s elections Web site provide specific information for UOCAVA voters, and that each Web site provide a link to the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the full funding of HAVA requirements to help states improve electronic communication and information available to military and overseas voters.

The 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act aims to ensure U.S. military personnel, their dependents and other U.S. citizens living overseas have sufficient time to request and receive ballots and states allow enough time for the ballots to be counted. Significant progress has been made, but more improvements are needed. In this session, key stakeholders shared their perspectives in working to enhance voting for overseas Americans and discussed the need for state-level policy improvements.

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The Council of State Governments, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, launched a $3.2 million Overseas Voting Initiative in late 2013 to improve the U.S. overseas voting process. CSG is working to develop policy solutions to ensure that overseas voters have the tools to vote while serving their nation abroad. That effort will be the subject of a workshop 9-11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11, during the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

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To explain Minnesota’s nation-leading election figures — high percentages of eligible voters who are registered, for example, and who turn out on Election Day — Rep. Steve Simon doesn’t start by talking about his home state’s laws.
He begins with a factor that is unwritten and transcends generations.
“Minnesota has a civic culture that encourages and celebrates voting,” he says. “It isn’t something you can legislate.”
Across much the Midwest, in fact, that tradition of civic engagement is strong; voter turnout rates, for example, are higher than the national average — sometimes much higher in states such as Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
But while state election laws don’t tell the whole story, their importance in the nation’s democratic system is widely understood, with the recent political and legal battles over voter identification being perhaps the most prominent recent example.

Most states have state laws prohibiting false statements against candidates.  Are they constitutional?  Well the Supreme Court didn’t decide…

In Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus the Supreme Court held unanimously that Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) had alleged a “sufficiently imminent injury” to bring a preenforcement challenge to the constitutionality of Ohio’s campaign “false statements” statute.  

In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama the Supreme Court will decide whether Alabama’s redistricting plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by intentionally packing black voters into districts already containing a majority of black voters. 

The Alabama legislature’s 2010 redistricting plan maintains the number of House and Senate majority-black districts.  But because most of the majority-black districts were underpopulated, the Legislature “redrew the districts by shifting more black voters into the majority-black districts to maintain the same relative percentages of black voters in those districts.” Black voters allege that packing them into super-majority districts limits their potential influence in other jurisdictions.

More than 5.85 million Americans - nearly 1 in 40 adults - have lost the right to vote due to a felony conviction. Only two states - Maine and Vermont - do not restrict the rights of felons to vote. The remaining states have widely differing laws regarding how and when felons may regain the right to vote.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released its latest Elections Performance Index, or EPI, which now includes an interactive tool that allows states to compare their election administration performance to one another and across similar elections. The annual Pew study measures election administration by evaluting indicators like wait times at polling locations and voter turnout. The report found that, between 2008 and 2012, state election performance overall improved by 4.4 percentage points, and 40 states plus DC improved their score over the same time frame.