welcome to The ballot, where we follow the evolution of electoral politics at the federal, state and local levels. In this month’s issue:
- Three cities approve ballot measures for preferential voting
- Redistribution Rally: Eight States Adopt Maps of Congressional and State Legislative Districts (and Other News)
- Update of legislation
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On November 2, voters in three cities – Broomfield, Colorado, Westbrook, Maine, and Ann Arbor, Michigan – approved voting measures to provide for the use of the preferential vote in future municipal elections.
- Broomfield, Colorado.: Voters approved Question 2A 51.75% to 48.25%. Question 2A provides for the use of the preferential vote in municipal and municipal elections from November 2023. Broomfield joins Boulder, Basalt, Carbondale and Telluride in holding at least some municipal elections using the preferential vote.
- Westbrook, Maine: Voters approved a referendum providing for the use of the preferential vote in the elections of the mayor, the municipal council and the school committee. This makes Westbrook the second city in Maine to pass the preferential vote in some municipal elections (the first was Portland). In 2016, Maine became the first state adopt the preferential vote for federal elections.
- Ann Arbor, Michigan: Voters approved Proposal B 72.83% to 27.17%. Proposal B provides for the use of preferential ballots in the elections of mayors and municipal councils, but only if the state enacts a law authorizing the mode. This is the second time that voters in Ann Arbor have approved the preferential vote in municipal elections, having done so in 1974 by a vote of 53% to 47%. In 1976, voters in Ann Arbor repealed the system of choice with a vote of 62% to 38%.
Thirty-two cities in seven states used priority voting on November 2: Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Utah. In 22 of these cities, preferential voting was used for the first time on November 2.
On preferential vote: A Preferential Voting System (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who obtains a majority of the first preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins the majority of the first preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated. The first preference votes cast for the rejected candidate are eliminated, which removes the second preference choices shown on these ballots. A new count is made to determine whether a candidate has won the majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate obtains an absolute majority.
In today’s roundup, we take a look at the following recent developments:
- Eight states enact maps of congressional or state legislative districts between October 1 and November 10.
- California and Connecticut set final redistribution deadlines.
Eight states enact maps of congressional or state legislative districts between October 1 and November 10
The following states (listed in alphabetical order) have adopted new congressional or state legislative district plans (or both!) As of October 1:
- Alabama: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on November 4.
- Colorado: Maps of congressional districts were adopted on November 1.
- Indiana: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on October 4.
- Iowa: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on November 4.
- Massachusetts: Maps of the state’s legislative districts were adopted on November 4
- North Carolina: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on November 4.
- Texas: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on October 25.
- West Virginia: Maps of congressional and state legislative districts were adopted on October 22.
Status of Congress redistribution: As of November 10, 10 states have passed congressional district maps, a state legislature has approved congressional district maps that have not yet come into effect, and 33 states have not yet done so (six States have only one congressional district each, which makes redistribution unnecessary). The congressional redistribution has been completed for 99 of the 435 United States House districts (22.7%).
Status of the legislative redistribution of the State: As of November 10, 12 states have passed legislative district maps and 36 states have yet to do so. A state’s legislative map awaits approval from the state’s Supreme Court. Another state will revise its plan, which was based on census estimates, at a future special session. Nationally, legislative redistribution has been completed for 444 of 1,972 State Senate districts (22.5%) and 1,243 of 5,411 State House districts (23.0%) .
California and Connecticut have set final redistribution deadlines; Virginia’s redistribution authority passes to the state Supreme Court.
- California: On September 22, the California Supreme Court set November 15 as the deadline for the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to publish the first draft district plans. The court also set a deadline of December 27 for the submission of final district plans to the secretary of state.
- Connecticut: According to the Connecticut Constitution, the Redistribution Committee was to select a card, which required two-thirds approval of both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly, by September 15. The committee missed this deadline due to delays in releasing census data. Under state law, the committee was dissolved because it missed the September 15 deadline and was replaced by a redistribution commission. Majority and minority leaders from both houses of the state legislature each chose two members to sit on the committee. The eight commissioners will choose a ninth member. The final commission deadline is November 30.
- Virginia: The Virginia Supreme Court will now have the power to draft new congressional maps in the state because the Virginia Redistricting Commission missed its November 8 deadline to submit a plan for the districts of the House of States- United. Under the constitutional amendment that created the commission, the party leaders of the House of Delegates and the Senate must appoint three special masters from each party to assist the court in the redistribution process, which they did on November, 1st. master of the list of candidates for each party. Once selected, the special masters will have 30 days to draft a proposal to submit to the court for review.
Redistribution legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked at least 239 redistribution-related bills for consideration by state legislatures.
Updated to November 9, 2021
Legislation on electoral systems: So far this year, we have followed at least 152 electoral systems bills that need to be considered by state legislatures.
Updated to November 9, 2021
Primary systems legislation: So far this year, we’ve followed at least 20 primary systems bills that need to be considered by state legislatures.
Updated to November 9, 2021