Our weekly national and local news digest highlights a recall effort against LA County DA George Gascwheren and redistricting updates. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the State & Local Tap.
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Voting Metrics Update
Sixty-four (64) statewide measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 30 states to date. No new measures were certified for last week’s ballot.
Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for four additional initiatives in Alaska, Florida and Ohio:
Enough signatures have been verified for four initiatives in Massachusetts and Ohio to certify them for the legislature. If the legislature does not enact them, the promoters will have to collect a second round of signatures.
Thirty-eight state legislatures: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin are in regular session.
Local ballot measures: the week in review
In 2022, Ballotpedia provides comprehensive election coverage in the 100 largest US cities by population and all state capitals. This encompasses all polling places in these cities, including their municipal elections, trial court elections, school board elections, and local ballot measures. Ballotpedia also covers all local recall elections, as well as all local ballot metrics in California and a selection of notable local ballot metrics regarding elections and police-related policies. Recent and upcoming local elections are listed below:
- February 8: Voters in the Seattle Public School District will decide on two property tax levy measures.
Thirty-three (33) special legislative elections have been scheduled in 15 states this year. Eight stages have already taken place. Prior to those races, Democrats controlled seven of the seats and Republicans controlled one.
- In special elections between 2011 and 2021, a party (Republicans or Democrats) had an average net gain of four seats nationwide each year.
- On average, 57 seats have been filled by special elections in each of the last six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
- On average, 85 seats have been filled by special elections in each of the past six odd-numbered years (2011: 95, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017: 98, 2019: 77, 2021: 66).
Upcoming special elections include:
Petitions to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón are approved for circulation
Petitions to recall George Gascón from his position as Los Angeles County District Attorney in California were approved for circulation on January 27. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must collect 566,857 signatures by July 6.
Recall supporters served Gascón with a notice of intent to recall on December 7. They said crime has increased in the county since Gascón took office. They released the following statement on their website explaining why they were pursuing a recall:
“As soon as he was sworn in, District Attorney George Gascón began issuing directives to his prosecutors, ordering them to be soft on crime, coddle criminals, and trample on the dignity and rights of victims. of criminal acts. To keep our communities safe, bring just punishment to those who break our laws, and bring justice to victims of crime throughout Los Angles County, we must recall District Attorney George Gascón.
At a press conference in December, Gascón defended his policy and said he was not responsible for the increase in homicides and robberies in the county. “We are trying to radically change a system that has served no one, neither the victims of crime, nor those who are accused, nor the public,” Gascón said.
Gascón said he was trying to make the criminal justice system more efficient and fair. “We’re really trying to use the science that’s currently available, the data that’s currently available, to do our job,” Gascón said. “And I’m not going to be intimidated by political rhetoric.”
A previous recall attempt against Gascón failed to pass in 2021. Recall supporters announced on September 16 that they had not collected enough signatures to meet the filing deadline.
Gascón was elected to a four-year term in the nonpartisan general election on November 3, 2020, defeating incumbent Jackie Lacey with 53.5% of the vote.
In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 351 recall attempts against 537 elected officials. This is the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we began compiling recall data in 2012.
Hawaii and New York adopt new legislative district boundaries
The Hawaii Board of Elections officially released the state’s final legislative redistricting plan on January 31 after the Hawaii Redistribution Commission voted 8 to 1 on January 28 to approve a proposed legislative map. The plans were initially approved for public comment on October 28. On Jan. 6, the commission approved a motion to change plans for the legislative map after learning that initial plans had not properly accounted for the number of non-permanent residents on military installations in the state, which do not are not included in the legislative redistribution. Under the amended proposal, a legislative district was transferred from Oahu to Hawaii. The maps will go into effect for the 2022 Hawaii state legislature elections.
Commission Chairman Mark Mugiishi said the maps were drawn fairly. “I believe the principle of the democratic process is a fair and well-run election,” Mugiishi said. Commissioner Cal Chipchase said, “They’re going through a long iteration of considering the best available data we’ve received and responding to community concerns and questions where possible.” Commissioner Robin Kennedy, who cast the only vote against the new maps, said: “I think the community still doesn’t have the answers it needs.” Sandy Ma of Common Cause Hawaii said, “The final proposed maps do not address community concerns or testimony and still divide communities of interest.”
New York enacted new state legislative districts on Feb. 3 when Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed the proposals approved by the legislature. Earlier in the day, both houses approved the Senate and State House maps, which were included in a single bill. The State Senate voted 43-20 to approve, and the State House voted 120-27 to approve. The maps will go into effect for the 2022 elections in New York.
After the maps were passed, Hochul said, “These bills are necessary to redistribute districts and to provide certainty and clarity regarding those districts in a timely manner, allowing for the effective administration of the electoral process.” State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy criticized the maps, saying, “There is some savage, partisan gerrymandering that has taken place here. This violates the state constitution, and we’re going to try to get justice.
New York voters in 2014 approved a state constitutional amendment — Proposition 1 — that created a redistricting commission to draw legislative and congressional districts. On January 3, the New York Independent Redistricting Commission voted 5-5 on two legislative redistricting proposals, one proposed by the Democrats on the commission and the other proposed by the Republicans on the commission. The New York Legislature, which was unable to amend the proposals, rejected both cards on January 10. The commission then had 15 days to draw new maps but announced on January 24 that it would not submit any new proposals. Since the commission did not submit a revised map until January 25, the legislature was allowed to modify or create new redistricting proposals.
As of Feb. 4, 31 states have adopted legislative district maps for both houses, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. One state’s supreme court has overturned previously adopted maps and 17 states have yet to pass legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.