Politics & Leadership

‘Blue Wave’ Continues Rolling In | 11-16-2018

When Election Day ended two weeks ago the “blue wave” many had predicted for the first midterm of the Trump presidency seemed relatively modest in size. But since the election that wave has continued to roll in, bringing more Democratic gains...

Politics in Brief - November 19 2018 | 11-16-2018

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR VA REDISTRICTING CASE The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by Republican lawmakers in VIRGINIA of a lower court ruling ordering 11 House of Delegates districts to be redrawn to address racial gerrymandering. That...

‘Pink Wave’ Hits State Legislatures | 11-09-2018

‘Pink Wave’ Hits State Legislatures: As anticipated, given the record number of female candidates running for political office this year , women made significant gains in state legislatures on Election Day. Preliminary analysis by the...

Mixed Results for Closely Watched Ballot Measures | 11-09-2018

Marijuana legalization was one of the most prevalent issues on state ballots on Nov. 6. And with the approval of one of those measures, Proposal 1 , on a 54-46 vote, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational...

Women Voters Help Democrats Take Control of U.S. House | 11-09-2018

The Democrats who won seats in the U.S. House last week and helped their party take control of that chamber may have women voters to thank for those accomplishments. A solid majority of female voters, 59 percent, cast ballots for the Democratic...

Politics in Brief - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

‘RAINBOW WAVE’ IN TX Fourteen, or 40 percent, of the 35 gay, bisexual and transgender candidates on the ballot in TEXAS won their races on Tuesday. State and national activists said this election cycle, which saw a record 400 LGBTQ individuals...

Host of Closely Watched Propositions on Ballot | 11-02-2018

On November 6, voters in 37 states will consider 158 ballot measures, just one more than the 157 propositions in 2016, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. Among the issues on the ballot...

Some States Easier to Vote in Than Others | 11-02-2018

Oregon is the easiest state in which to vote, according to research by political scientists at Northern Illinois University, Jacksonville University in Florida and Wuhan University in China. Using data on 33 types of election laws, including voter-registration...

Politics in Brief - November 5 2018 | 11-02-2018

APPEALS COURT ORDERS OH TO LET PURGED VOTERS CAST BALLOTS: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered OHIO to allow voters purged from the state’s registration rolls for not voting over a six-year period to participate in the Nov. 6 election...

Recreational Marijuana Movement Heads Into New Territory | 10-19-2018

Recreational use of marijuana has been approved by voters in eight states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington - and by state lawmakers in Vermont. Recreational marijuana measures are on the ballot in two...

Election Cybersecurity Left to States | 10-19-2018

During the last U.S. election cycle two years ago, at least 21 states were targeted by foreign hackers, according to the Department of Homeland Security. And with Congress having done little to address the issue other than authorizing $380 million to...

Politics in Brief - October 19 2018 | 10-19-2018

GA GOV EXTENDS VOTER REGISTRATION IN FOUR COUNTIES HIT BY HURRICANE MICHAEL GEORGIA Gov. Nathan Deal (R) issued an executive order last week extending the state’s Oct. 9 voter registration deadline for four counties where Hurricane Michael forced...

Banner Year for Voting Rights Ballot Measures | 10-12-2018

In November voters in Arkansas and North Carolina, two states where voter ID laws have been struck down by the courts, will decide whether such requirements will be enshrined into their respective constitutions. And voters in Montana will decide whether...

Electronic Voting Experts Express Concern About Wireless Voting Machines | 10-12-2018

A group of 30 researchers, activists and scientists signed a letter this month urging the federal government to issue an official warning to states that use voting machines with integrated wireless technology that the machines are vulnerable to hacking...

Membership in Some NY Unions Down Little After Janus Ruling | 10-12-2018

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that public-sector unions could no longer collect fees from non-members even if they benefited from the unions’ efforts, some predicted there would be a mass exodus of dues-paying members. But more than...

Politics in Brief - October 15 2018 | 10-12-2018

ND VOTER ID LAW ALLOWED TO STAND The U.S. Supreme Court declined to vacate a ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowing NORTH DAKOTA to enforce a requirement that voters provide a street address before casting a ballot on Election Day...

Cases of Interest to States on High Court Docket | 10-05-2018

While the confirmation fight over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was raging on in the U.S. Senate last week, the eight current justices began their new term. And there are several cases on the docket of consequence to state and local governments...

VA Gov Vows Veto of GOP Redistricting Plan | 10-05-2018

Hours after Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox (R) announced his intention to hold a special legislative session to consider a GOP plan with some Democratic support to address a federal court ruling that 11 House districts drawn by the Republican majority...

Politics in Brief - October 8 2018 | 10-05-2018

WV SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SPARED IMPEACHMENT After over an hour of deliberation, the WEST VIRGINIA Senate voted 32-1 not to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker over her part in a court spending scandal. Three of the state’s other justices...

Will Scores of Newly Registered Young Voters in FL Show Up | 09-28-2018

So far this year, about 450,000 people have registered to vote in Florida. Thanks to the youth movement spurred by the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February and big spending by various groups on get-out-the-youth-vote drives, about a quarter...

Bipartisan Redistricting Plan Proposed in VA | 09-28-2018

Republican leaders in the Virginia House proposed a new plan - supported by at least four Democratic lawmakers - to address a federal court ruling that 11 House districts drawn by the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly in 2011 were racially...

Politics in Brief - October 1 2018 | 09-28-2018

TX VOTER ROLLS SWELL TO 15.6M Nearly 400,000 names have been added to TEXAS’ voter rolls since March. The total number of registered voters in the state is now 15.6 million, 1.6 million more than at the time of the last midterm election, in 2014...

State Justices Face Growing Impeachment Threat | 09-14-2018

Last month the West Virginia House voted to impeach all of the sitting justices on the state’s Supreme Court. And this week the Senate will begin its impeachment trial for those justices. At least a couple of the justices have been charged...

Some Statehouses Vulnerable to ‘Blue Wave’ in November: | 09-14-2018

There’s been a lot of talk about the “blue wave” that may sweep Democrats into control of the U.S. House in November. But the seas are also looking pretty favorable for Democrats in some state legislative chambers. If Colorado...

Politics in Brief - September 17 2018 | 09-14-2018

NM SUPREME COURT RULES OUT STRAIGHT-TICKET VOTING The NEW MEXICO Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) did not have the authority to reinstate straight-ticket voting after that option was discontinued...

NC Balance-of-Power Struggle Shifts From Courts to Ballot Box | 09-07-2018

The latest court battle in the ongoing power struggle between North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and Republicans who control both chambers of the state’s General Assembly appears to be over. The legal skirmish began in late June when the legislature...

Politics in Brief - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

EDUCATION FUNDING MEASURE OFF AZ BALLOT The ARIZONA Supreme Court has blocked a measure from the state’s November ballot that was aimed at increasing the tax rate on residents making more than $250,000 a year from 4.54 percent to 8 percent to...

Voters Gravitate to Political Poles in Key Aug. 28 Primaries | 08-31-2018

Primary elections were held in three states on Aug. 28. And a few of the results suggest that the energy of the Democratic and Republican parties is moving to the left and the right, respectively. In Florida’s gubernatorial primaries, Democrats...

Power Struggle Ratchets Up in NC | 08-31-2018

North Carolina’s General Assembly convened a special session on Aug. 24 to consider changes to two constitutional amendments bound for the state’s November ballot that could shift power from the governor to state lawmakers, part of an ongoing...

Politics in Brief - September 3 2018 | 08-31-2018

PUSH IN VA TO RATIFY ERA Advocates for the Equal Rights Amendment launched a campaign in VIRGINIA this month to make that state the 38th and final one to ratify the amendment guaranteeing equal rights for all Americans regardless of sex more than 40...

Primary Elections Held in Four States | 08-17-2018

Four states – Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin – held primary elections on Aug. 14. In the Democratic primaries, one of the major Election Day themes was diversity. In Connecticut, Democrats nominated Jahana Hayes, a teacher...

Local Election Officials in Tough Spot on Cybersecurity | 08-17-2018

Cybersecurity has local election officials across the country caught between a rock and a hard place, according to those gathered at the annual DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas this month. They said they don’t have the knowledge or the resources...

State and Local Candidates Want to Use Campaign Funds for Child Care | 08-17-2018

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled in May that candidates for congressional office can use their campaign funds to pay for child care. Since then, state and local candidates across the country, including an unprecedented number of women, have...

Politics in Brief - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

UNION MEASURE HELPS DRIVE HIGH VOTER TURNOUT FOR MO PRIMARY MISSOURI’s Proposition A, a referendum on a law passed last year prohibiting mandatory union fees ( SB 19 ), helped drive turnout for the state’s Aug. 7 primary election to its...

VA Committee Approves Impeachment Articles for Whole Supreme Court | 08-10-2018

West Virginia’s House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment for all four sitting justices on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals: Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Allen Loughry, Justice Robin Davis and Justice Elizabeth...

Labor Notches Right-to-Work Win in MO | 08-10-2018

After suffering a major setback at the U.S. Supreme Court in June , organized labor scored a decisive victory at the ballot box in Missouri last week. In a referendum ( Proposition A ) vote that was part of the state’s Aug. 7 primary, Missourians...

Dems Outside DC Join Push for Statehood | 08-10-2018

Some progressive Democrats outside Washington, D.C. are jumping on the bandwagon for making the District the 51st state. Dan Pfeiffer, an aide to former president Barack Obama, has been advocating for statehood on the “Pod Save America” podcast...

Politics in Brief - August 13 2018 | 08-10-2018

NOT EVERY VOTE WILL BE COUNTED IN PA THIS NOVEMBER Over 2,000 absentee ballots cast by PENNSYLVANIA voters in the November election likely won’t be counted, according to local election officials. The problem, they say, is that outdated election...

Redistricting Reform Movement Shifts to State Ballots | 08-03-2018

The nationwide movement to remove politics from the process of drawing political districts suffered a major setback this year when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected three cases dealing with partisan gerrymandering - the drawing of maps in a way that disproportionately...

Politics in Brief - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

STATES TEMPORARILY BLOCK 3D PRINTABLE GUNS U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik temporarily blocked the TEXAS -based company Defense Distributed from publishing blueprints on the Internet for making plastic guns on 3D printers. That decision came...

Initiative to Split Up CA Barred from Ballot | 07-20-2018

In a unanimous ruling last week, California’s Supreme Court blocked an initiative aimed at splitting California into three separate states ( Proposition 9 ) from appearing on the state’s general election ballot this year, pending a future...

States Seek to Soften Blow of SCOTUS Union Ruling | 07-20-2018

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public workers who opt out of union membership can’t be required to pay fees supporting union collective bargaining efforts even if they benefit from them. The decision is expected...

MD Elections Board Has Russian Ties | 07-20-2018

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) announced last week that they’ve asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the state’s election system after...

Politics in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

CA REQUIRES REPORTING OF VOTER DATA BREACHES CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation last week requiring people and organizations that obtain voter registration data to report security breaches of that information. Assemblyman Marc Berman...

Voting Rights Effort Shifting to Ballot Box | 07-13-2018

A number of voting-rights measures are bound for states’ ballots this year. In Florida, for example, voters will weigh whether ex-felons should be allowed to vote. In Maryland, voters will decide whether people should be allowed to register to vote...

How SCOTUS Nominee Could Impact States’ Rights | 07-13-2018

The confirmation hearing for U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, isn’t expected to begin until at least late August. But Kavanaugh’s rulings in a couple of...

Politics in Brief - July 16 2018 | 07-13-2018

BAN ON NON-CITIZEN VOTING POTENTIALLY HEADED FOR ND BALLOT Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment in NORTH DAKOTA to explicitly bar non-U.S. citizens from voting in the state’s elections have submitted more than 35,000 signatures, well...

Less Than Half of HI Judges Female | 07-06-2018

Thirty-nine percent of the 80 state judgeships in Hawaii are currently held by women, according to an analysis of online judicial data by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser . That rate is three percent higher than it was in 2004 but still well short of the...

Push for ‘Top-Two’ Primary in FL | 07-06-2018

A grassroots campaign has kicked off in Florida to open the state’s primary elections to all voters and advance the two top finishers, regardless of their party affiliation, to the general election. Last week, a group called Florida Fair and Open...

Politics in Brief - July 9 2018 | 07-06-2018

MA HIGH COURT UPHOLDS PRE-ELECTION DAY VOTER REGISTRATION BLACKOUT MASSACHUSETTS’ Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, has upheld a state law barring voters who haven’t registered at least 20 days before Election Day...