Ballot Box Weekly: Paint barely dry on 2013 elections with less than one month until first filing deadline of 2014
- 1 November 13, 2013
- 2 What happened at the polls?
- 3 Looking ahead: upcoming elections
- 4 Elections scoreboard
- 5 Election highlights
- 6 State legislatures
- 7 School boards
- 8 State courts
- 9 Congress
- 10 State and local ballots
Edited by Geoff Pallay
Welcome to the sixth edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We'll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, nonpartisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.
This week's Ballot Box Weekly features a closer look at some of the storylines from last week's election, along with a glimpse at some unresolved races including elections in Louisiana on Saturday. For all the details of this year's races, visit the Ballotpedia and Judgepedia election hub pages. Even as we have barely closed the books on the 2013 elections, we're less than one month away from the first candidate filing deadline for elections in 2014.
What happened at the polls?
Although the election took place 8 days ago, not every race has been decided. Still, a lot more is clear now than the morning after November 5 polls closed. Let's take a look.
- The Virginia Attorney General has two candidates separated by razor-thin margins, with a likely recount looming.
- The majority coalition of the Washington State Senate was strengthened last week by a special election win. Jan Angel (R) defeated Nathan Schlicher (D) in a seat that was previously held by a Democratic State Senator, Derek Kilmer. The race was the most expensive state legislative campaign in Washington history, drawing more than $2.3 million in spending.
- Washington Advisory Vote 3 has shifted to a 5 point lead in favor of being maintained, which moves that measure from "too close to call" to defeated. The measure asked voters if they wished to maintain the law. A vote to "approve" the measure would have eliminated the law, whereas a vote "against" the measure was a vote in favor of the law. The question was non-binding, which meant that the law would have stood either way. Of the 31 state ballot measures, 24 were approved, 6 were defeated and 1 is still undecided.
|Election Coverage across Ballotpedia/Judgepedia -- November 11-November 17, 2013|
|Arkansas State Senate District 21 Primary||November 12, 2013||1|
|Louisiana State House District 87||November 16, 2013||1|
|Louisiana's 5th Congressional District||November 16, 2013||1|
|Louisiana Judicial Elections||November 16, 2013||5|
Highlighted Race: Virginia Attorney General Election
- See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013
Provisional ballot counting concluded yesterday and Herring has a 163-vote lead. The state Board of Elections will certify the results by November 25. If the race results in a tie, the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly would choose a winner, likely giving the race to Mark Obenshain. If Herring's victory holds, the Democratic Party will have won the three state executive races on November 5 -- Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.
In the event of a recount, elections officials double-check and re-add totals from voting machine records. During the 2005 recount, the returns from nine precincts were also examined by hand. The recount cannot take place until after the vote is certified by the Board of Elections. Once that occurs, the apparent losing candidate has 10 calendar days to file a recount petition with the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. A study of statewide recounts by FairVote between 2000 and 2012 found the average shift to the final total to be about 0.03 percent, enough to give the election to either candidate. As local election boards recount their tallies, corrections have already been made. The boards are combing through ballots, looking for errors.
The recount court, which determines the procedures of the recount, consists of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court where the recount petition was filed and two other judges appointed by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Virginia. The court then appoints recount officials to represent the respective parties to the recount. Once all the votes cast are recounted, the court certifies the candidate with the most votes as the winner.
Upcoming Candidate Filing Deadlines
Looking ahead: upcoming elections
|Quote of the Week|
- November 16, 2013: Louisiana House District 87 will hold a special election on November 16. Rep. Girod Jackson, III (D) resigned on August 22, 2013, after being charged with tax fraud and failing to file taxes. Democrat Ebony Woodruff is the only candidate in the special election.
- November 16, 2013: Louisiana Judicial Elections: Five judicial seats will be decided across the state of Louisiana.
- November 19, 2013: Local ballot measure in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If this measure is approved by voters it would be the first city to ban abortions after 20 weeks. This measure will be voted on in an all-mail election.
- November 19, 2013: Four state legislative seats will be up for special election.
The November 2013 election scoreboard has been updated to include school board races. More than 28 percent of the races analyzed were uncontested, where voters did not have a choice when going to the polls.
|Elections Scoreboard -- Breaking Down the Ballot Box|
|Candidate Election Results Analysis|
|Total races covered by Ballotpedia/Judgepedia||1,539|
|Total races analyzed||876**|
|Incumbents on the ballot||581**|
|Total incumbents defeated||78|
|Total incumbent Democrats defeated||3|
|Total incumbent Republicans defeated||8|
|Total incumbent Independents/Third Parties/nonpartisans defeated||66|
|Total uncontested races||251**|
|Total uncontested Democratic wins||24|
|Total uncontested Republican wins||34|
|Total uncontested Independents/nonpartisans wins||193|
|Ballot Measures Results Analysis|
|Total state measures||31|
|State measures approved||24|
|State measures defeated||6|
|State measures too close to call||1|
|Total local measures++||139|
|Local measures approved||83|
|Local measures defeated||49|
|Local measures too close to call||7|
|**At the time of publication, analysis for the state court races had not been completed. Those figures will be included in next week's edition of the Ballot Box Weekly. The total races analyzed refers to state legislative, school board, state executive and congressional races.|
++These reflect the 139 local measures tracked by Ballotpedia writers in six states. It is not a comprehensive total.
It's always election season somewhere. Here are some snippets of election news across the various Lucy Burns Institute project areas.
- See also: State legislative election results, 2013
Arkansas State Senate District 21 held a special runoff election yesterday. Sen. Paul Bookout (D) resigned on August 21, 2013, after he was fined $8,000 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for spending campaign funds on personal items. A special election was called for January 14, 2014. The runoff election will be to determine both the Democratic and Republican candidates. The Democratic runoff pitted Steve Rockwell against Radius Baker while Dan Sullivan and John Cooper squared off in the Republican runoff. Both races are separated by less than 100 votes and are too close to call.
- See also: 2013 school board election results
201 school board general elections were held across the country on November 5. States covered by Ballotpedia staff included California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Major issues included financial policies and changing education standards, including the implementation of new federal Common Core standards in some states.
The number of seats up in different states included:
- California: 114 seats
- Colorado: 51 seats
- Connecticut: 35 seats
- Massachusetts: 40 seats
- Ohio: 54 seats
- Pennsylvania: 60 seats
- Texas: 32 seats
- Virginia: 28 seats
- Washington: 78 seats
Now that the results have come in, here are some areas of note
- A total of 376 incumbents sought re-election and 302 were successful for an 80.3 percent re-election rate.
- Districts in New York and South Carolina had 100 percent re-election rates though these districts had relatively few seats in our coverage.
- School districts in Washington had the most incumbents (53) seeking re-election on November 5, 2013 with an 88.6 percent re-election rate.
- School districts in New Jersey were least likely to return incumbents to office with a 55.1 percent re-election rate.
- Candidates in the Denver Public Schools elections raised $595,118.21 prior to November 1, the largest amount among school board elections covered by Ballotpedia.
- Voters in the Bridgeport Public Schools election chose three Democratic candidates who ran in opposition to current Superintendent Paul Vallas and Mayor Bill Finch. A slate including Andre Baker, Jr., Dave Hennessey and Howard Gardner won a September primary against three candidates endorsed by Finch and the local party committee. Baker, Hennessey and Gardner opposed Finch's efforts in 2011 to seek a state takeover of the district and the reforms pursued by Vallas. This slate is joined on the board by Republicans Joe Larcheveque and Steve Best, who were concerned with continued Democratic dominance over district policy.
- Jeni Rice won election to the Yakima Board of Directors over incumbent Graciela Villanueva despite withdrawing from the race in September. Rice announced her withdrawal from the race nearly two months before Election Day to pursue a job opportunity. The withdrawal took place after the deadline to remove names from the ballot and Rice won election by a 25 percent margin. Villanueva alleged that voters mistook the member-elect with current member Martha Rice. Jeni Rice has stated she will accept the position despite not running an active campaign.
There are no remaining school board elections in the largest 1,000 school districts in 2013. Next year, Ballotpedia staff will be covering elections in 616 school districts for a total of 1,982 seats.
|Incumbent results by state|
|State||Total seats||Incumbents seeking re-election||Incumbents elected||Success rate|
- See also: Judgepedia's Election Central
Louisiana is holding general election runoffs on Saturday, November 16. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the result in the primary, the top-two vote getters advance to the election runoff. Of the 26 judicial seats covered by Judgepedia staff, only five were not decided in the initial primary. The five races are:
- Zoe Olivia Fleming vs. Barron C. Burmaster, Jefferson Parish Juvenile court
- Larry Spencer vs. Jerry Arbour, East Baton Rouge Parish Justice Court, Ward 3, District 3
- Anne Thompson vs. Darryl M. Taylor, St. Tammany Parish Justice Court, Ward 4
- Mark Vicknair vs. Harry Cantrell, Louisiana Magistrate Court, Criminal District Court
- Steven Jupiter vs. Clint Smith, Orleans Parish Traffic Court, Division D
Louisiana will hold a special election for its 5th Congressional District.
Rodney Alexander (R) was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs and thus resigned his congressional seat. Louisiana's 5th Congressional District leans heavily Republican -- Alexander won election in 2012 and 2010 with more than 77 percent of the vote. Two Republicans -- Neil Riser and Vance McAllister -- will be on the ballot when voters go to the polls. The two candidates advanced easily past the primary on October 19, 2013. Riser led the primary with 32 percent of the vote. Riser is currently a member of the Louisiana State Senate while McAllister has never held elected office.
Ballotpedia staff compiled analysis of the 2013 ballot measures.
- Historically, elections on odd-numbered years see approximately 45 measures on average. Going back to 1989, the average number of measures on the ballot in an odd-numbered year is slightly more than 43, with about 9 states featuring ballot measures. With only 31 statewide measures on the ballot in 6 states, 2013 had less than half the average number of measures on the ballot.
- A total of $48,487,923.00 was contributed to ballot measures in 2013, according to official reports filed as of November 5, 2013.
- In 2013, a grand total of 133 initiatives were filed with intent to circulate for signature gathering. Of those 133 initiatives, only 3 made it on the ballot. Thus only .023 percent of proposed initiatives were certified.
- In total, 2011 featured 22 legislative referrals, while 2013 featured 23. 2013 had one more referral on the ballot than 2011.
So far, there are 47 ballot measures certified for 2014.
- Ballot Box Weekly
- November 5, 2013 election results
- Vote totals continue to shift in race for Virginia Attorney General
- 2013 Elections review: Democrats take control of two Virginia races and Christie breaks a record
- Local measures post election report: Fracking bans and marijuana taxes approved but Cincinnati pension initiative suffers crushing defeat
- Ballotpedia:Analysis of the 2013 ballot measures
- Few surprises in 2013 statewide ballot measure elections
- gigharbor.patch.com, "Gig Harbor's Nathan Schlicher Will Replace Derek Kilmer in State Legislature," August 19, 2013
- wei.sos.wa.gov, "State candidates in lot order," accessed August 5, 2013
- blogs.seattletimes.com, "Democrats lose state Senate seat as Schlicher concedes," November 7, 2013
- NYS Board of Elections State Supreme Court Election Unofficial Returns Nov. 5, 2013
- WJLA "Mark Obenshain would win Virginia attorney general seat if vote ends in tie," November 12, 2013
- Time, "With 163 Vote Attorney General Victory, Virginia Democrats Sweep State," November 13, 2013
- Richmond Times Dispatch, "Obenshain, Herring too close to call in AG race," November 6, 2013
- Washington Post, "History suggests Herring would have a shot in Va. recount,” November 6, 2013
- Virginia State Board of Elections, " Virginia Recounts and Contests – the Basics," accessed November 6, 2013
- Texas Secretary of State, "Important 2014 Primary Election Dates," accessed November 13, 2013
- These figures refer only to the elections that are covered by Ballotpedia and Judgepedia staff. They may not be comprehensive. If you would like to send details about an election not covered, contact us
- Richmond Times Dispatch, "Herring now holds lead in AG race," November 12, 2013
- LifeNews.com, Measure to Ban Abortions in Late-Term Abortion Capital Gets Enough Signatures," July 24, 2013
- ABQ Journal, "Abortion bill is likely to be on city’s ballot," July 26, 2013
- thenewstribune.com, "Arkansas lawmaker steps down from Senate seat," August 20, 2013
- Star-Telegram, "Rockwell, Cooper lead tight races in Ark. primary," November 12, 2013
- Colorado TRACER, "Candidate and Candidate Committee Detail," accessed October 29, 2013
- Connecticut Post, "School board results all about the mayor," September 12, 2013
- Yakima Herald, "School board candidate who withdrew from race says she plans to serve," November 7, 2013