Weekly Wrap Up

This weekly wrap up is a little late, since we posted a summary of our Symposium on Friday instead of our typical weekly wrap up.   To anyone who was waiting with bated breath for the latest news in state election law, I apologize.

Anyway, here’s a slightly belated summary of last week’s state election law news.

– According to a study by the Brennan Center, state judges are raising significantly more money for their campaigns than ever before.  In the last decade, candidates for state judgeships have raised more than 206 million dollars, which is more than double the 83 million raised by candidates in the 1990s.

– Lawmakers in Maryland and Washington D.C. are considering abandoning their traditional September primary dates, as the requirements of the newly passed “Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act” make it impossible to hold a primary so late in the year.

– There’s some controversy in New Mexico over whether Joe Campos, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, qualified to appear on the primary ballot.  Mr. Campos received 19.69% of delegate votes in that state’s pre-primary nominating convention.  Under New Mexico law, a candidate must receive 20% of the vote to appear on the ballot, and for the last week, the New Mexico Democratic Party has been debating whether to round up to 20% and allow Campos’s name on the primary ballot.  Luckily for Campos, the party eventually ruled that the law requires them to round up.  Interestingly, a Republican candidate who received 19.5% of delegate votes was kept off the primary ballot for failing to reach the 20% threshold.

-The Democratic Party is considering launching a 20 million dollar campaign to maintain  or take control of seventeen pivotal state legislatures, in anticipation of 2011 redistricting. The party that controls those state legislatures will have the power to redraw 198 congressional districts.

– The Election Assistance Commission now provides voter registration forms in five Asian languages,  Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

Chris Biggs has been appointed the new Kansas Secretary of State. The previous Secretary of State, Ron Thornburg, resigned his position on February 15th, forcing Governor Mark Parkinson to appoint a successor to serve the remainder of the term.  Kansas elects its Secretary of State and some fear that being appointed interim Secretary will give Biggs an unfair advantage in the upcoming Secretary of State campaign.  Essentially, Biggs gets all the advantages of incumbency, without having to win an election in the first place.

– Check out our Citizens United and the States page, which tracks the impact of the Citizens United decision on the states.  The page  has reached 72 links and more are being added everyday.

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