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

As states harness technology to modernize their election systems, no area of policymaking has more momentum than voter registration. Online registration, automatic voter registration and Election Day registration are increasingly popular options, with election officials predicting unprecedented levels of eligible voter enrollment and government cost-savings in 2016. Yet as states move away from inefficient paper forms to embrace digital processes, new questions are emerging about verifying, sharing and securing voter registration data. 

Only three governors were elected in 2015. Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi are the only states that hold their gubernatorial elections during the year prior to the presidential election. This means that these three states can be early indicators of any voter unrest that might unleash itself more broadly in the next year’s congressional and presidential elections, and we saw some of this in the two races where candidates were vying for open seats. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) was elected to a second term, running in a state that strongly favored his political party. Both Kentucky and Louisiana have elected Democrats and Republicans to the governorship in recent years, and each race was seen as up for grabs by many political pundits. In the end, each election resulted in the governorship turning over to the other political party.

Voters decided only 28 state-level ballot propositions in 2015, as direct democracy activity continued to cool in the 21st century. High profile issues included rejection of marijuana legalization in Ohio, selection of the chief justice in Wisconsin, and sales tax changes in Michigan and Washington.

The 2000 Election debacle led to the creation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This article discusses whether the promise of HAVA, to modernize American elections, has been met, and reviews the current trends and innovations happening in elections across the country. The emerging technologies are making this an exciting time, but elections remain a people-driven and people-serving process, and we need to continue to encourage people to get involved as election specialists and poll workers.

The American public expects customer service in their everyday activities and voters are no exception. The election community has an opportunity to improve the absentee voting process for military and overseas citizens by communicating to them at each stage of progression toward a counted ballot. Adopting this practice can help empower a set of voters who may otherwise have serious doubts about their votes being counted.

The sweeping diversity explosion now underway in the U.S. will continue to impact the political landscape as the racial profiles of the electorate and voters continue to change. Testament to this is the election of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, which can be attributed, in large part, to a growing minority electorate both nationally and in previously Republican-leaning Sun Belt states. This article reviews the nation’s new racial demographic shifts with an eye to how it has changed the electorate and outcomes of the past three presidential elections, and suggesting what it may mean for the future.

The handful of state elections in 2015 resulted in very little change to the state partisan landscape. Republicans maintained their historically strong hold on state governments.

Members of The Council of State Governments’ Overseas Voting Initiative Technology Working Group discussed technology that could help U.S. military and overseas citizens in the voting process during a recent CSG eCademy webcast.

On November 8, 2016, California voters will head to the polls to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana. According to Fortune, eight states are expected to vote on marijuana initiatives this November.

CSG Midwest

Four years from now, at least one Midwestern state will be trying a new way of selecting the two major political parties’ presidential candidates. Minnesota’s SF 2985/HF 3594 moves the state from away from its existing caucus system in favor of a presidential primary.

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