Ballotpedia’s Day day Brew: 30 state legislative races determined

30 state legislative races had been determined fewer than 100 votes in 2020

The saying goes, “each vote counts.” For these races, fewer than 100 votes determined the winner. 

Out of the 5,875 complete state legislative elections in 2020, 30 (0.5%) races had been determined fewer than 100 votes. Twenty-nine of the races had been for a state Home, and one was for a state Senate.

Listed below are some extra highlights for you:

  • Partisan management modified in 15 (50%) of the 30 races. 13 of the partisan adjustments (43.3%) had been Republican pickups, and two (6.67%) had been Democratic pickups. Fifteen seats didn’t change partisan management.
  • Of the 30 seats, 15 had been gained Democratic candidates and 15 Republicans.
  • Of the 86 state legislative chambers that held elections in 2020, 14 (16.3%) had at the least one race that was determined fewer than 100 votes.
  • The narrowest margin in any state legislative election final November was for a seat within the New Hampshire Home of Representatives. Incumbent Timothy Fontneau (D) defeated Harrison deBree (R) 4 votes.
  • The New Hampshire Home of Representatives had 11 races determined fewer than 100 votes—greater than another chamber. As of 2010, there have been, on common, 3,291 folks in every New Hampshire Home district, making them the smallest state legislative districts within the nation. 
    • The Vermont Home of Representatives had 5 races determined fewer than 100 votes—the second-highest quantity after the New Hampshire Home.
  • A lot of the races occurred in districts with small inhabitants sizes in comparison with the remainder of the nation. Twenty-four races (80%) had been in districts with a inhabitants of lower than 25,000. Districts that measurement made up 26.3% of all state legislative districts as of 2010.

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New York voters to resolve redistricting-related constitutional modification on the 2021 common election

The primary 12 months of a decade means redistricting, and in New York voters can have a chance to weigh-in on a poll measure that might influence how the state attracts districts for the subsequent decade.

On Jan. 20, the New York State Meeting permitted an modification that may make adjustments to the redistricting course of within the state, together with the redistricting cycle to be primarily based on the 2020 U.S. Census. The modification will seem on the Nov. 2, 2021 poll.

The measure would change vote thresholds for adopting a redistricting plan when one political social gathering controls each legislative chambers. It could additionally add necessities for counting sure individuals for redistricting functions. 

Proponents of the measure argue that the present system will give Republicans an undue benefit within the redistricting course of. Opponents argue that the modification reduces, or eliminates, a minority energy’s capability to have any enter and thus makes redistricting extra partisan.

The state Senate permitted the modification on Jan. 12. Because the state structure requires that constitutional amendments be permitted throughout two successive legislative classes earlier than going to voters, each legislative chambers permitted the modification in 2020 as nicely. 

The state Senate vote was 42- 20, alongside social gathering strains. The state Meeting vote was 100-50. Most Meeting Democrats (99 of 106) voted ‘sure’ on the modification, and 7 Democrats and all 43 Republicans voted ‘no’ on the modification.

The New York State Legislature might place a number of different constitutional amendments on the poll in 2021, together with a number of associated to electoral coverage and an environmental rights modification.

Maintain studying on the hyperlink beneath to be taught extra concerning the modification.

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Taking a look at 2021 state supreme courtroom vacancies

One other 2021 panorama we’re taking a look at is upcoming state supreme courtroom vacancies. Thus far this 12 months, there have been two new state supreme courtroom vacancies in two of the 29 states the place alternative justices are appointed as an alternative of elected. The vacancies have each been brought on retirements. These two vacancies carry the overall variety of 2021 state supreme courtroom vacancies to 5.

  • In Colorado, Chief Justice Nathan Coats retired on Jan. 1, when he reached the necessary retirement age of 72. Gov. Jared Polis (D) appointed Maria Berkenkotter to the state Supreme Court docket on Nov. 20, 2020. Berkenkotter is Polis’ first nominee to the seven-member supreme courtroom. 
  • In South Dakota, Chief Justice David Gilbertson retired in early January, when he reached the necessary retirement age of 70. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) appointed Scott P. Myren to the state Supreme Court docket on October 28, 2020.

Presently, Maine is the one appointment state which had a emptiness in 2020 which has but to be stuffed.

Three extra states will see vacancies from retirement on their state supreme courts in 2021:

  • Leslie Stein, June 4, New York
  • Joel Bolger, June 30, Alaska
  • Eugene Fahey, Dec. 31, New York

In Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) will fill the emptiness. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will fill each of the vacancies on the New York Supreme Court docket.

In 2020, there have been 23 supreme courtroom vacancies in 16 of the 29 states the place alternative justices are appointed as an alternative of elected.
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