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Alaska Libertarian Party is Probably Close to Re-Qualifying for the Ballot
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 07:31 PM)

Parties in Alaska are qualified in advance of a presidential election if they either polled 3% for Governor, or if they have registration equal to 3% of the total vote cast for Governor. In 2014 the Alaska Libertarian Party received over 3% of the vote for Governor, so its registration was immaterial as to qualified status in 2016.

In 2018, the party polled 1.85% for Governor, below 3%. Therefore, it needs registration of 3% of the gubernatorial vote to be qualified for 2020. As of the November 3, 2018 registration tally, it has 7,442, a slight increase from the previous months’ tally. Alaska won’t know the final vote cast for Governor until November 16. The election night total was 239,946, but that doesn’t include the absentee votes. Chances are the party will only need a few hundred more registrations in order to be qualified.

Huge Increase in Texas Petition Requirement
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 06:28 PM)

In 2016 and 2018, Texas required 47,086 signatures for a new party, or for a non-presidential statewide independent. But for 2020 and 2022, the requirement will be more than 83,075 signatures. The formula is 1% of the gubernatorial vote, and although the final gubernatorial vote for 2018 is not known, on election night, the number of votes cast would translate into 83,075.

The 2020 independent presidential petition will be 89,693 signatures, 1% of the 2016 presidential vote.

National Republicans unexpectedly commit $1 million to Mississippi Senate special election
(from: Swing State Project @ November 13, 2018, 06:09 PM)

In an unexpected move, Politico?s Alex Isenstadt reports that the NRSC is planning to spend at least $1 million over the next two weeks to help Mississippi GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in her Nov. 27 special election against Democrat Mike Espy, and Medium Buying says their first TV buy will start on Thursday. Additionally, a group called Mississippi Victory Fund is also deploying $300,000 to aide Hyde-Smith?s cause. So far, we haven?t seen any major spending to support Espy, and it?s not clear if Team Red is just playing it safe after a cycle full of unpleasant special election surprises, or if they?re actually worried about an upset in this conservative state.

Meanwhile, the GOP seems determined to defend Hyde-Smith?s notorious?public hanging? remark past the bitter end. Gov. Phil Bryant, who named her to this seat earlier this year, appeared with Hyde-Smith on Monday and insisted that his appointee ?meant no offense by that statement? and in fact was ?sensitive to race relations in this state.? From there, he engaged in some epic whataboutism, declaring, ?In my heart, I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African-American children that have been aborted,? adding, ?No one wants to say anything about that.? Hyde-Smith stood in silence beside Bryant the whole time.

Hyde-Smith herself has not apologized and only put out a statement on Sunday saying she ?used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.? When reporters asked her the next day if she was familiar with the state?s history of lynchings, all she would say is variations of ?I put out a statement yesterday,? and ?That?s all I?m gonna say about it.? Espy, who along with 40 percent of the state?s residents is black, was not amusedby any of this, and said Monday that Hyde-Smith was ?reinforc[ing]stereotypes that we?ve been trying to get away from for decades, stereotypes that continue to harm our economy and cost us jobs.?

Election Central Lists 2020 Presidential Primary Dates
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 05:52 PM)

Election Central 2020 has this useful chart showing 2020 presidential primary dates, in chronological order.

Of course, these dates will change in many states, due to legislation in 2019.

Kristin Olsen, a Vice-Chair of the California Republican Party and the Party?s Former Leader in the Assembly, Says Party Isn?t Viable
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 04:14 PM)

On November 9, Kristin Olsen, a vice-chair of the California Republican Party, and the leader of her party in the Assembly prior to the 2016 election, said in a public forum, “California Republicans aren’t a viable second party.” See this story.

Democrats sue over North Carolina GOP's legislative gerrymanders. They have a solid chance to win
(from: Swing State Project @ November 13, 2018, 01:41 PM)

On Tuesday, Democrats and voting rights groups filed a lawsuit in North Carolina state court arguing that Republican gerrymanders of the state Senate and state House violate the state constitution?s guarantee of "free" elections. This case has a strong chance at success, meaning it could yield much fairer maps for the 2020 elections. That could in turn allow Democrats to regain majorities in both chambers and even give the party full control over state government if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wins re-election.

Critically, this lawsuit relies solely on the state constitution, following the lead of reformers in Pennsylvania. There, a case before the state Supreme Court struck down the state's Republican congressional gerrymander earlier this year, citing Pennsylvania's constitutional guarantee of "free and equal" elections (phrasing that?s nearly identical to language in North Carolina's constitution). And because the ruling depended on the state constitution, that left little room for Republicans to seek redress in the federal courts: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the GOP's appeal, and Pennsylvania voters enjoyed a much fairer congressional map in 2018.

Consequently, if plaintiffs obtain a favorable decision in North Carolina?s state courts, there?s a good chance that the federal judiciary won?t overturn it?much as John Roberts might want to. And Democrats have a solid shot at prevailing because civil rights attorney Anita Earls just won a critical Supreme Court race to expand Democrats? majority on the bench to 5-to-2. At the same time, voters also protected the state courts by rejecting a deceptive GOP-backed constitutional amendment that would have allowed Republicans to add two more justices to the Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania?s congressional gerrymandering lawsuit took less than a year to resolve, so North Carolina could likewise see a speedy resolution that would allow the 2020 elections to take place under new maps. However, the courts could ask the GOP-dominated legislature to propose new maps, and lawmakers would do their best to maintain their gerrymanders if given the chance. (In North Carolina, the governor lacks the authority to veto redistricting measures, and Republicans still hold both chambers thanks to their gerrymandered majorities, even though Democrats won more votes statewide in 2018.)

But Republicans may not be afforded the presumption of good faith that legislators normally receivewhen courts strike down maps for constitutional violations.

Two U.S. District Court Judges Grant Particular Kinds of Relief to Georgia Voters
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 01:26 PM)

On November 13, U.S. District Court Judge Leigh May issued an injunction, allowing provisional ballots to be counted even though the voter omitted the year of birth. The order applies to Gwinnett County, which had been rejecting such ballots. Martin v Crittenden, n.d., 1:18cv-4776.

On November 12, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg issued an injunction, allowing more time for provisional voters to return to the elections office and validate their provisional ballots by showing I.D. Common Cause of Georgia v Kemp, 1:18cv-5102. This case had not been filed until November 5. Thanks to Rick Hasen for news about both of these decisions.

Republican Congressman from Maine Files Federal Lawsuit to Enjoin Ranked Choice Voting
(from: Ballot Access News @ November 13, 2018, 01:04 PM)

On November 13, Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin and some voters in his district filed a federal lawsuit to enjoin the use of ranked choice voting in last week’s election. Baber v Dunlap, 1:18cv-465. The case is assigned to Judge Lance E. Walker, a Trump appointee. Here is the 25-page complaint.

The first choice vote count shows that Poliquin has 2,000 more votes than his Democratic opponent, Jared Golden. However, 8% of the voters used their first choice votes to support one of the two independent candidates in the race. When the ranked choice process counts the next round, virtually everyone expects Golden will win. Golden has already asked to intervene in the case. Thanks to Political Wire for this news.

Maine GOP congressman files lawsuit to overturn imminent loss. It couldn't be more far-fetched
(from: Swing State Project @ November 13, 2018, 11:36 AM)

On Tuesday, MaineRepublican Rep. Bruce Poliquin filed a federal lawsuit to overturn what is expected to be a re-election defeat thanks to Maine?s new instant-runoff voting law (IRV; sometimes called ranked-choice voting). However, Poliquin's argument is beyond weak, and if he ultimately succeeds,it would make a mockery of the rule of law in much the same way thatBush v. Goredid.

After 95 percent of the initial votes have been counted, Poliquin holds a slim 46.2-45.5 plurality over Democrat Jared Golden, but because Maine voters passed a 2016 ballot initiative to enact IRV, it takes a majority to prevail. However, instead of holding a separate runoff, voters got to rank their preferences, and since nobody took a majority in the first round, the last-place finisher gets eliminated and sees their votes redistributed to each of their voters' subsequent preferences. That process repeats until one candidate wins a majority, and theBangor Daily Newsconducted an exit poll that found voters whobacked the two independent candidates overwhelmingly favored Golden in subsequent rounds.

Ever since voters passed this law, Maine Republicans and a small minority of Democratic legislators tried repeatedly to get rid of it, but voters vetoed the legislature?s attempt to repeal the law in a 2018 referendum. While Maine?s Supreme Court indicated last year in a non-binding opinionthe law was invalidated for state-level general elections, they didn?t say it was invalid for primaries or federal general elections, and the secretary of state implemented it for both of those elections.

Consequently, Poliquin isresorting to federal litigation by arguing that Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution requires only pluralities be sufficient for election to the House. However, that section literally says nothing related to whether candidates must obtain a plurality or majority?or even any election method at all?and the cases the congressmancited come nowhere close to supporting his argument that the Constitution requires only pluralities.

Furthermore, Poliquin had ample time to file this lawsuit well before anybody actually voted yet didn?t, and filing it after votes were already all cast would violate other long-standing precedents. Election law experts have derided this lawsuit as "beyond frivolous,"and there?s a good chance the courts will resoundingly reject it.

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/13
(from: Swing State Project @ November 13, 2018, 09:00 AM)

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news.

Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It?s also a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up hereto receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 4:30:49 PM +00:00 Jeff Singer

AZ-Sen: Arizona will hold a special election in November of 2020 for the final two years of the late GOP Sen. John McCain?s term, and the winner will be up for a regular six-year term in 2022. GOP Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Jon Kyl back to the Senate in September, and Kyl not only said that he wouldn?t run in the special election, but that he was only committing to serve until the end of 2018.

Speculation immediately began that, if Rep. Martha McSally lost this year?s Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, Ducey could appoint her in Kyl?s stead: McSally could then run in 2020 as an incumbent. Prominent Republicans, including McSally, didn?t want to talk about this idea out loud while she was still competing with Sinema, but McSally conceded defeat on Monday.

Other Republicans may be interested in running regardless of who gets appointed. Former Gov. Fife Symington said in October that he was considering a bid. Symington was elected to two terms in the 1990s but resigned in 1997 after he was convicted of bank fraud. However, the charges were overturned two years later in a federal appeals court, and Symington was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton (whom Symington had saved from drowning back in 1964 when they were both 19). Symington, who went on to open the Arizona Culinary Institute, mulled running for his old office in 2006 and 2010 and for the Senate in 2012, nut he passed on all three races.

A few Democrats also have made noises about getting in. Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents a safely blue Phoenix seat, said in October that he was considering running. Gallego would be the state?s first Latino senator, and the Latino Victory Fund says they?re trying to recruit him.

Another prospective Democratic candidate is Grant Woods, who served as then-Rep. John McCain?s first chief of staff in the 1980s and was elected attorney general twice in the 1990s as a Republican. But while Woods remained close to McCain (he delivered a eulogy at his funeral), he soured on his old party and endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and stared in an ad for Sinema this year. Woods expressed interest in September in running for McCain?s old seat as either a Democrat or an independent, and he changed his party registration from Republican to Democratic just after Election Day and reiterated that he was still considering running for Team Blue.

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