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.

Pre-Election Legislative Party Control

2014 Gubernatorial Candidates

2014 Lieutenant Governor Candidates

2014 Attorney General Candidates

2014 Secretary of State Candidates

2014 Treasurer Candidates

2014 Auditor Candidates

2014 State Supreme Court Candidates

2014: Current State Officials Seeking Congressional Seats

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a “single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Brandeis’ “laboratory of democracy” concept is very relevant to Alaska’s successful online ballot delivery and return voting system. Alaska is the only state that will allow its registered voters to receive and cast their ballots electronically for the Nov. 4 midterm election.

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, nearly 60 percent of registered stateside voters cast their ballots successfully. In the same election, only 18 percent of registered U.S. military and overseas voters requested ballots and slightly fewer than 13 percent of those voters actually returned ballots. This is not a new problem, according to Kamanzi Kalisa, director of the new Overseas Voting Initiative at The Council of State Governments. “For decades, members of the U.S. military and their dependents have experienced problems at every step of the overseas voting process—from registering to vote and requesting or receiving absentee ballots to returning those absentee ballots,” said Kalisa.

Proposition 47, the Reduced Penalties for some Crime Initiative, is currently on the November ballot in California. The initiative would reduce the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor crime. These crimes include personal drug use, shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, writing a bad check, as long as the amount does not exceed $950. The proposition...

Dry counties could soon be a thing of the past in Arkansas. On November 4, voters will decide by ballot initiative whether or not to keep the current system of dry and mixed counties. Passage of the measure would effectively take away the power of counties to regulate their own alcohol sales. The Alcoholic Beverage Initiative is being met with resistance from religious groups, local rights groups, and the Arkansas Beverage Retailers Association.

CSG Energy and Environment

Ballot Measure 4 touches on a familiar topic to many Alaskans – the Bristol Bay.  The bay is a 36,000 square mile fisheries reserve established by the Alaska state legislature in 1972.  As part of the legislation it required that a surface entry permit for oil and gas on state owned or controlled lands be subject to approval of the legislature to protect the fishery.  Proposed...

Two firearms initiatives are on the upcoming November 2014 ballot in Washington State. Initiative 594 would require background checks on all gun purchasers and Initiative 591 would prevent the confiscation of firearms without due process and would also prevent the state from implementing background checks unless a federal standard is established.  

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 ruled portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act related to voter IDs were outdated and unconstitutional, states took action. But laws in several states that have imposed strict new photo identification requirements for voters are in limbo, with courts questioning whether concerns over voter fraud outweigh individuals exercising their right to vote.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—With less than a month before the Nov. 4 midterm elections, voting laws in eight states are being challenged in state and federal courts, often going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. These recent court challenges are due, for the most part, to varying state’s interpretation of two Supreme Court decisions in recent years.

In 2008, the high court ruled in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that an Indiana law requiring voters to provide photo IDs at the polls did not violate the U.S....

Several amendments on the 2013 ballot attracted significant attention, most notably a proposed Colorado amendment that would have raised income tax rates and increased school funding but was rejected by voters. Notable amendments approved by voters include a Texas amendment authorizing use of $2 billion from the state rainy day fund to pay for water projects, a New York amendment allowing operation of up to seven casinos and a New Jersey amendment increasing the minimum wage. The level of state constitutional amendment activity was on par with recent odd-year elections, with only five states considering amendments in 2013, and a good deal of attention focused on qualifying measures for the 2014 ballot.

Voters decided 31 state-level propositions in 2013, a slow year for citizen lawmaking. The most controversial measures were a tax increase in Colorado and GMO food labeling in Washington. Voters also decided a large number of local ballot propositions, addressing a number of high profile issues, including minimum wage, marijuana legalization and pension reform.

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