Elections

The Council of State Governments’ Elections Center offers our members and other interested parties data and analysis regarding the 2014 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 2015.

Post-Election Legislative Control

 

2014 Gubernatorial Winners

2014 Lieutenant Governor Winners

2014 Secretary of State Winners

2014 Attorney General Winners

2014 Treasurer Winners

2014 Auditor Winners

2014 State Supreme Court Winners

2014 Current State Officials Winning Congressional Seats

CSG Midwest
Under a new law that received unanimous approval in the state Legislature, Iowa is making it easier for members of the military and other overseas residents to vote. HF 2147 gives overseas voters an extra 30 days to request and return special absentee ballots. (The period of time was extended from 90 days to 120.) Statutory language also was changed to prevent overseas ballots from being rejected by county auditors.

For U.S. service members and citizens living overseas, participating in elections back home can be a challenge—requiring requests for ballots in advance of Election Day and allowing sufficient time for their return stateside to be counted. The Council of State Governments’ Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, is working cooperatively with the Federal Voting Assistance Program, a U.S. Department of Defense agency, to develop best practices for state and local election administrators to help make voting an easier, faster and more accurate process for military and other overseas U.S. citizen voters—and the election administrators who serve them. In this FREE CSG eCademy webcast, members of the CSG OVI’s Technology Working Group discuss the group’s efforts to research improvements incorporating technology that can help U.S. election officials facilitate and improve the overseas voting process for their constituents. Presenters also share progress toward the development of the CSG OVI Technology Working Group recommendations, which will be released in December at the CSG 2016 National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Va.

On April 22, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order that restores the voting and civil rights of more than 200,000 convicted felons.  The order applies to people who have completed their sentence, including any supervised release, parole or probation requirements.  

Vermont recently became the fourth state—following Oregon, California and West Virginia—to enact automatic voter registration. Starting July 1, 2017, eligible Vermont residents will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for a state driver’s license.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles will have a system that identifies the eligible voters and automatically sends their information to the appropriate town or city clerk for addition to voter checklists, unless the individual opts out.

“While states...

In Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission the Supreme Court confirms that state and local governments don’t have to apportion legislative districts perfectly, but they do need a good reason for failing to doing so. But we knew that before.  

The Court held unanimously that Arizona’s redistricting plan, which had a total population deviation among districts of 8.8 percent, wasn’t unconstitutional. Those attacking the plan failed to show it is more probable than not that the deviation reflects illegitimate reapportionment considerations.

In what has been described as the most important “one-person, one-vote” case since the Supreme Court adopted the principle over 50 years ago, the Court held that states may apportion state legislative districts based on total population. Local governments may do the same.  

The Court’s opinion in Evenwel v. Abbott is unanimous. All 50 states currently use total population to design state legislative districts; only seven adjust the census numbers “in any meaningful way.”   

In Reynold v. Sims (1964) the Court established the principle of “one-person, one-vote” requiring state legislative districts to be apportioned equally so that votes would have equal weight. The question in this case is what population is relevant—total population or voter-eligible population. Total population includes numerous people who cannot vote—notably non-citizens and children.

Following the 2010 census Texas redrew its State Senate districts using total-population. The maximum total-population deviation between districts was about 8 percent (up to 10 percent is presumed constitutional); the maximum eligible-voters deviation between districts exceeded 40 percent.

Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion concluding Texas may redistrict using total population is “based on constitutional history, this Court’s decisions, and longstanding practice.”

When Utah's GOP-dominated legislature didn’t foot the bill for a state-run presidential primary in 2016, it was left to the state parties to administer and fund Utah’s presidential caucuses. On March 22, the Utah Republican Party conducted one of the biggest online elections in the history of the United States by allowing eligible Utah Republicans the option of casting ballots online in the state’s closed presidential primary using desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. 

Amidst the excitement for record turnouts in Maine’s Democrat caucuses on March 6th were feelings of frustration and disappointment when lengthy delays prevented many voters from participating in the process. While the majority of states hold presidential primaries, Maine is among the few states that currently rely solely on the caucus system, where meetings are arranged by either the state or political party and voters openly show support for candidates by raising their hands or breaking into groups.

With nearly 46,000...

In May 2015, Oregon became the first state in the country to approve automatic voter registration, which allows the state to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card.

A growing number of U.S. military members stationed overseas have seized the opportunity to cast their votes in the 2016 presidential primary.  A recent study suggests that spouses of active duty military (ADM) stationed overseas could be influencing their partners to participate in the election process. The study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program found that overseas married service members were more likely to vote than their unmarried counterparts. This correlation between spouses and voting participation could be particularly useful during a time when efforts are being made to streamline the voting process and encourage more overseas military personnel to vote.

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