State of Elections

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Category: Massachusetts (page 2 of 2)

Solving the Epidemic of Disappearing Poll Workers – Part 1: Young People

poll workersThere is a disease spreading throughout our nation’s polling locations. The graying of America is seen most potently behind the polls. Poll workers in America have an average age in the 70s, significantly older than the average age of AARP members (64). The current elderly class of civic-minded individuals who have fulfilled their civic duty responsibly for decades have been leaving out of confusion with new technology and the effects of their old age. As this void continues to grow, more and more options will need to be considered by state and local legislatures in order to ensure that elections go smoothly. This is the first post in a series about what could be done to help solve the problem of disappearing poll workers.

Young people are the future leaders of this country, but some local election laws could be more conductive to this passing of the torch as poll workers. States could learn from one another in this respect. Massachusetts passed a law in 2008 which allowed poll workers as young as 16. 29 other states allow poll workers to be under the age of 18. Arizona allows 16 and 17 year old high-school students to miss the day of school to be a poll worker (with parental permission), and even pays them for their service. There may be some concerns about the ability of minors to act as competent poll workers, but the minors are usually well supervised. The immediate reaction to this legislation in most states has been positive, including in Minnesota, where Secretary of State Mark Ritchie remarked the 16 and 17 year old poll workers “have been a burst of energy” and “a big success.” Continue reading

Citizens United and the States

Last Updated: May 21, 2010 (new links for NY, CO)


Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, MarylandMassachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

General Links
Judicial Election Links


State of Elections tracks new, important, and interesting topics in the world of state election law. We focus on voting at the local level, as determined by state and local level election laws and practices. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. FEC has obvious implications at the federal level, but it also has dramatic impact on the states. Many state laws already in place will soon be challenged by lawsuits or altered by the legislatures. At the time of the ruling, 24 states have bans or restrictions on corporate campaign expenditures, most of which have major positions up for election this fall. Each will certainly be seeing some action, either by challenge or repeal, prior to November. Regarding this decision, two main areas of concern are its effect on state corporate disclosure laws and state judicial elections.


While Congress certainly will make plans to outline the level of transparency designed for federal elections, many of those 24 states affected will, if they have not already, enact or alter legislation requiring a certain level disclosure for state and other local elections. These new laws may take many forms including perhaps specifications on when and how to make the contribution disclosures public. State legislatures also have the ability to alter corporate governance rules within the State and may require entities to acquire shareholder permission before engaging in political contribution activity. Other disclosure regulations may aim at creating a mechanism for ensuring that corporations are not working in tandem with the candidates. Essentially, states have some control over the effectiveness of the CU decision by controlling laws involving corporate entities. State legislatures will move quickly to secure proper regulation is in place before this fall’s elections.

Judicial Elections

Not to be lost in this decision is the effect that it will have on Judiciaries across the states. While some states had already allowed it, now corporations nationwide are permitted to spend unlimited amounts of money advocating judicial elections and retention elections. Recently, the policy of electing judges has taken the spotlight Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. and leads some to question what sort of impact CU will have. Some believe elected judges will simply have to keep close watch over themselves and which cases they must recuse due to impartiality. Others believe CU will have an accelerating effect on the merit-selection movement by bringing to public attention the effect of campaign contributions on elected judges (perhaps leading to their abolition, or for more states to enact legislation for publicly-funded elections.) Still others believe this decision will have little or no measurable impact on elections.

Below are some links to reports and articles on the decision’s effect on states broadly and individually. We welcome contributions here at State of Elections. If you come across any useful articles or information regarding the Citizens United decision and how it affects your state we will gladly include it in our discussion.

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AK – Alaska Senate passe campaign finance bill which would require notice of who or what is funding political ads in television or newspaper. “Keep in mind that this bill…changes only these new communications brought by corporations and unions,” said Sen. Hollis French.

April 1, 2010

AK – Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan released an opinion on 2/19 regarding CU’s impact on AK declaring the state’s corporate spending prohibition laws unconstitutional, but may still not donate directly to candidates. It is also clear that they cannot spend anonymously, but unclear where the line is drawn. The state democrats in the legislature are moving forward with legislation which would require the top 5 contributors to an advertisement as well as filing a complete report with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

February 22, 2010

AK – Suggestions by John Havelock on making corporations ‘more democratic’ and speaks of some necessary and likely reforms such as disclosure commitments to shareholders as well as transparency with the people.

February 12, 2010

AK – With less than 70 days left in the session, the AK State legislature is scrambling to get a bill through before they adjourn. State Senate Judiciary Committee has asked legislative lawyers to draft a bill requiring disclosures, disclaimers and reporting by corporations and labor unions as a first step.

February 12, 2010

AK – Legislative Panel to Discuss CU. Alaska has laws for disclosure for non-profits and individuals but had a ban on corporate spending of this type before CU. The panel will make it a priority to determine what sort of limitations, if any, are possible, before the election this fall.–Panel-to–contain–campaign-court-decision-?instance=home_news_window_left_bullets

February 3, 2010

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AZ – Disclosure bill was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 1st. This requires corporations and labor unions to file campaign finance reports with SOS office within one day of spending $5000 on statewide race, $2500 on legislative race, and $1000 in county or local race. Also, all campaign ads must ‘state clearly’ who paid for them. Interesting to note the bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

April 1, 2010

AZ – Commentary by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on the need for enacting legislation to require disclosure. Senate Bill 1444 and House Bill 2788 will bring AZ into compliance with CU while specifically requiring:

-Corporations, unions or LLCs to file reports within 24 hours of making campaign expenditure over certain amounts ($5k for statewide, $2.5k forlegislative, or $1k for local)

-Additional reports to be filed for each subsequent expense beyond those amounts

All will be reported to a web-based system to provide voters with nearly real time. The legislation has bipartisan support.

March 12, 2010

AZ – Focusing on Arizona’s law development, this article outlines some different methods state legislatures have attempted to comply with CU. Arizona intends to enact new legislation for disclosure and reporting that go beyond current requirements for independent committees (which is described in the article as the ‘middle of the road’ approach.) Thanks to for the link.

March 5, 2010

AZ – Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, backs overhaul of informed electorate in light of CU. Two bills have cleared committees and are awaiting debate on each chamber’s floors. The article ends on a thought provoking quote by AZ House Rep. Bill Konopnicki, “I’m concerned that we don’t have the time to fully vet these components.”

February 25, 2010

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CA – LA Times and LA Weekly differ on how they believe this will impact Los Angeles, perhaps affecting developers and billboards. It will be easier for corporations to donate than in years past where they first had to form a PAC or contribute to an advocacy group.

February 18, 2010

CA – Details about CU impact, while briefly looking into California’s history of limitless corporate spending over the last decade.

January 22, 2010

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CO – A new bill was introduced which would require any corporate entity to register an independent committee if donating $1,000 or more. Also included is a illustrative fact sheet which serves as somewhat of a guide to the background behind the bill proposal.

April 26, 2010

CO – A bill will be introduced this year into the state legislature which would attempt to limit the impact of CU by adding disclosure requirements. CO Republicans are still thinking about suing the state to overturn parts of the state’s current campaign-finance law.

March 24, 2010

CO – Governor Bill Ritter, has been granted his request of review current campaign finance laws. Lawmakers and other interested parties brief’s on the constitutional determination of their laws are due March 5th.

February 12, 2010

CO – Legislature to ask Supreme Court for Clarification on how CU Affects State laws.

February 3, 2010

CO – GOP initiates lawsuit in response to CU. A 2002, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure that banned direct corporate or union expenditures in state race is sought to be overturned. Candidates believe this will affect the campaigns this fall.

January 22, 2010

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CT – Act proposed “To provide that independent expenditures made by an entity are properly disclosed and ensure that such expenditures are properly attributed to the entity making the expenditure.”

March 12, 2010

CT – Memo for State General Assembly summarizing Citizens United and its impact on CT:

-Two statutes that prohibit corporations and unions from contributing, also noting that there are no disclosure or attribution requirements, which the state is likely to adjust after removal

-Also discusses public financing and has created a compelling state interest in becoming more active in matching grants and enabling candidate participation.

Also included is a table of state responses which is current as of publication.

March 2, 2010

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HI – Hawaii state leaders can do a few things in reaction to CU:

-Limit and disclose corporate political spending

-Uphold our “pay to play” reform laws

-Ensure (timely) campaign reporting for special elections

-Disclose lobbyists’ campaign donations

February 23, 2010

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IA – Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law today the finance provisions outlined below, which aims to regulate the consequences of the Supreme Court decision in order to ensure proper disclosure of campaign spending.

April 8, 2010

IA – The Senate passed a bill 49-1 to require corporations and unions to publicly disclose when they spend more than $750 on independent campaigns. Any commercials would also have to identify the company or union who paid for the ad. This is an edited down version of the originally proposed bill which had included a shareholder approval requirement and the ability for shareholders to withhold their own funds from the donation.

March 2, 2010

IA – The Iowa legislature is moving to pass Senate Study Bill 3210. Some highlighted provisions:

-Requiring disclaimers on advertisements paid for by corporations.

-Requiring board, CEO or stockholder approval before a corporation can use funds for independent expenditures.

-Prohibiting foreign-controlled companies from playing any role in Iowa elections.

February 11, 2010

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KS – While no law in Kansas has been directly affected by the CU decision, it appears an indirect effect has been to encourage some change. A new bill, which is being stalled at the moment, would change a requirement in companies who donate more than $150 to a campaign. The bill would change the confusing requirement of listing the industry that the donating corporation is in to listing the actual name of the corporation.

March 15, 2010

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MD – Article discusses generally about the options of states and specifically about a MD  ‘package of bills to limit the worst aspects of the decision’ which propose to:

-Require a majority shareholder or union member vote to approve specific expenditure

-Banning “pay to play” which would prevent state funded organizations from campaign expenditures

-Compelling public disclosure of all political disbursements by corporations and unions

This article includes more quotes than a similar one listed below.

March 13, 2010

MD – Testimony of Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, before the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Maryland Senate. Section II deals with specific effects of Maryland as to corporate spending, pay to play laws, and the role of the Maryland voter. Torres-Spelliscy outlines the measures she believes need be taken in Maryland to, “Reclaim a Voter-Based Democracy.”

February 25, 2010

MD – Supporters in MD have already begun a movement for public financing for elections with a bill. The bill would create a voluntary public financing system in MD General Assembly campaigns. Similar legislation has previously passed the house but failed in the senate. Supporters hope the high court’s decision will spur the change.

February 23, 2010

MD – Democratic senators and delegates outline a set of bills to restrict corporate spending in state elections. Those mentioned in article:

-Requiring corporate executives to get two-thirds approval of shareholders for a political expenditure.

-Prohibiting businesses with state contracts worth more than $5,000 from engaging in such efforts.

-Mandating disclosures of corporate expenditures to the state Board of Elections.

January 29, 2010

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MA – Statement from Office of Campaign and Political Finance interpreting the decision noting most importantly that direct contributions are still prohibited

January 2010

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MI – GavelGrap reports a watchdog group, Michigan Campaign Finance Network, is urging the SoS to help enact rigorous financial disclosure rules following CU. $45 million in television campaign advertisements have gone unreported since 2000, including almost a third of that being independent expenditures on state Supreme Court races. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has also asked the SoS for a declaratory ruling on how CU affects MI state law.

March 17, 2010

MI – Department of State response to CU. A corporation, union or domestic dependent sovereign must register a political committee under the MCFA after spending $500.00 or more in independent expenditures in support of or opposition to state or local candidates in a calendar year.,1607,7-127-1633_8723_15274-230880–,00.html

January 2010

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MN – The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board this week voted unanimously to ask staff to draft a memorandum on CU. Gary Goldsmith, Campaign Finance Board Executive Director believes their current statute will still apply in some way, “We’re just trying to figure out how to make it apply.”

April 7, 2010

MN – Minnesota’s first test? Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is filing suit to challenge state law that limits their spending in light of CU.

Copy of the complaint:

February 16, 2010

MN – Current MN restrictions on corporate express advocacy and formation of PACS are now unconstitutional. David Schultz reccomends three options:

(1) Take the current state disclosure laws and make them applicable to corporations.

(2) Increased disclosure, perhaps mandate that any corporate expenditure must be disclosed at the time it is made.

(3) Increased disclosure requirements for any corporate PACs (to watch for foreign involvement, or require shareholder approval, etc.)

January 26, 2010

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MO – Missouri lifted limits on campaign contributions in 2008. New changes to MO campaign finance law are being proposed along with new ethics legislation this session, but it is unlikely to pass with the current similar makeup of represenatives which lifted the limits just two years ago.

February 21, 2010

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MT – A lawsuit has been filed in Helena in order to attempt to overturn the state’s current ban on corporate spending in elections. The law currently reads, a “corporation may not make a contribution on an expenditure with a candidate.” The owner of the corporation challenging, Champion Painting, has said he wishes to exercise first amendment rights against rising taxation and regulation.

March 9, 2010

MT – Montana has individual limitations on spending already in place, but enacting similar legislation to corporations is now likely unconstitutional. Difficulties are cited with new inability to regulate spending based on the identity of the speaker. Low budget elections in states like Montana may see the biggest impact. The average state senator in Montana’s 2008 election won by spending only $17,000.

February 18, 2010

MT – Statement by Attorney General Steve Bullock with a brilliant overview of Montana’s history with corporate spending on elections and looking forward to future legislation in the state.

February 2, 2010

MT – Montana’s 1912 voter-passed ban on corporate donations is up for challenge. Removing the ban means that currently there are no limits on corporations spending.

January 24, 2010
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NH– Bill in NH was passed from the House now on to the Senate in New Hampshire which would update their ban on corporate spending by requiring any independent expenditure over $500 to be reported by noon the first business day after spent. Also, businesses and labor unions are required to display a statement of disclosure in at least 12% of the vertical screen throughout the ad with an audio announcement.

March 11, 2010

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NJ – Bipartisan commission led by Senator Bill Baroni (R – Mercer, Middlesex) to review NJ’s campaign finance laws, ” to ensure that we do everything we can.”

January 21, 2010

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NY – An overview article which discusses the CU decision, New York’s current state of law with independent expenditures, and some possible measures for the future in discussion.

May 2010

NY – NY Lesiglature proposed a bill with specific disclosure requirements for corporate shareholders:
-Majority approval for yearly spending
-Annual report to each shareholder and SoS with specific donations
-Provide a business rationale for each donation
Penalties for not abiding are not specified, but would be left up to the SoS. It is still uncertain whether it would apply to unions, but the bill does apply to not-for-profit corporations. It may be up to the unions to declare themselves that classification

April 15, 2010

NY – New York State Assembly introduced a bill which would require corporate contributions for independent expenditures to have shareholder approval. Although New York has no direct laws affected by CU, this appears to be an indirect result of the ruling.

February 17, 2010

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NC– State legislature has been bouncing around the idea of publicly financed elections for the State’s largest cities. The CU decision is cited as the primary motivation. It is too early to tell at this point whether the Senate will address the pending bill in the short summer session.

March 27, 2010

NC– Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said the ruling is likely to result in even more out-of-state money being spent to influence local races. Some think the ruling could result in greater transparency about precisely who is behind a television attack ad, or influence citizens to favor public financing.

January 21, 2010

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OH – Ohio will have to modify currrent ban on campaign contributions. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner believes a direct impact will be more political TV advertising.

January 22, 2010

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OK – In a quick fix, Oklahoma State Senate voted 24-21 to alter the definitions in campaign finance to essentially delete the prohobition of corporate expenditures.

March 11, 2010

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PA – Pennsylvannia will review it’s statute to determine if the CU “directly controls” it. Reaction comments from both PA US Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey as well as some reactions of PA watchdog groups are included.

January 22, 2010

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SD – Secretary of State Chris Nelson is preparing legislation to conform with the CU ruling. The deadline for state government agencies to introduce new legislation has passed, so Nelson is likely to ask that a minor bill on campaign laws be amended to include the new provisions.

January 25, 2010

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TN – A debate over definitions of ‘foreign corporations’ and how they may be able to spend in the state took a grip on a question not yet often asked; Can a corporation that is based in another state independently spend money in a different states election? The new bill, proposed by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, would disallow “foreign corporations” from putting money into TN politics and defines foreign as anyone who would not be able to vote for the candidate. While this was an interesting debate, it caused much confusion and was ultimately abandoned for a number of reasons, including potential unconstitutionality.

March 8, 2010

TN – A call for legalizing direct corporate campaign contribution. Good quotes from Ron Ramsey, candidate for state senator, about how he cannot control the messages corporations can now advertise in his support (as long as it isn’t direct).

February 2, 2010

TN – A bill has been proposed in the house which would revise current TN ban on corporate spending to only ban the spending by corporations that “do not have the authority to transact business within the state.” Thanks to

A co-sponsor of the legislation, Representative Kent Coleman , is quoted below:

January 29, 2010

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TX – Texas has historic moment as it witnesses it’s first ad for a candidate placed by a corporation .
Also, Huffington:

March 22, 2010

TX – David Schenck in a Guest Column for The Texas Tribune asks an interesting question: Will CU help to aid the end of judicial elections in Texas and nationwide?

Feb 2, 2010

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UT– Utah is examining its campaign contributions as ‘free speech.’ Perhaps they were encouraged by either the public’s reaction to it or the decision of Citizens United itself.

March 1, 2010

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VT – The house judiciary committee voted 10-0 to reccomend passage  of large bill which included an alteration of campaign finance law. Under the bill would be a reporting requirement of any spending over $500 on an election message within 30 days of an election. There still remains a possibility that this will be rewritten.

March 14, 2010

VT – State of Elections interview with former state senator and representative Matt Dunne about how Citizens United will affect VT. The Entergy-owned Vemont Yankee nuclear plant that has recently been found to be leaking tritium is likely to be a major player in the gubernatorial race this fall in light of the high courts decision. Dunne is running to be the democratic candidate in the election.

March 3, 2010

VT – Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Sears is pushing (as co-sponsor) for a new campaign finance bill to be passed and go into effect in the 2010 election in response to CU. Governor Jim Douglas is supportive of some ideas, but does not believe the bill should apply to this year’s campaign as he does not wish to “change rules in an election season.”

February 24, 2010

VT – Citizens United decision may undermine case of Vermont Right to Life’s ability to advertise politically without reporting who is funding them.

February 10, 2010

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WV – Brennan Center reports on the passing of HR 4647 which will improve disclosure and disclaimer rules regarding corporate spending on independent expenditures over $1,000. Anyone who provides over $250 for that will also be disclosed. The filings will be posted online. Also is an improved “stand by your ad” disclaimer provision requiring clear identification of the persons responsible for it within the ad itself.

March 19, 2010

WV – The House of Delegates passed two measures this week regarding disclosure of those donating to campaigns, including an attempt require corporations to disclose its donations to its shareholders. While two similar bills have already been defeated, this bill still faces a tough challenge with claims of “loopholes” and “vaugeness.” But the House democrats are hopeful that at least the bill to trigger disclosure reporting and transparency. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Kessler asks, “Are we going to start seeing the Chik-fil-a West Virginia Secretary of State Bowl, or the Gatorade Gubernatorial Election?”

March 2, 2010

WY – HB68 will update Wyomings current ban on corporations from contributingg any promotion of election of any candidate to conform with CU. The new law will effectively read that it does not limit corporations “from exercising its first amendment rights to make independent expenditures for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate.” However, the bill failed to acquire the necessary 2/3rds vote required during a budget session. A reintroduction attempt is likely.

February 10, 2010

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WI – The WI Senate passed a bill which would require notice to be filed with election officials that they obtained approval from shareholder majority. The vote would have to be retaken every two years. Interestingly, they also voted against an amendment which would apply the same standard to unions (a republican amendment 18-15 against).

April 13, 2010

WI – An opinion article written by Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Barbara Lawton, describes a way to ‘blunt’ the Supreme Court’s decision in CU: Public financing for elections. She says the bills are written and waiting for their sponsors to move forward with it. While it would not directly address the issue of independent expenditures, it would level the playing field without specifically adding limits to traditional campaign donations, which she believes is being treated with increased skepticism.

March 1, 2010

WI – Opinion article from Andrea Kaminski on how CU might affect judicial elections in the state

February 2, 2010

WI – Wisconsin, with a wide open race for governor this fall, stands to feel heavy impact from CU. Most likely in the form of 30-60 second negative and/or demoralizing TV ads.

February 2, 2010

WI – VIDEO: Campaign 2010 panel that featured attorney Mike Wittenwyler, Jay Heck of Common Cause of Wisconsin, UW-Madison Associate Professor Howard Schweber, and Jonathan Becker, a division administrator for Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which enforces campaign finance laws, debate what the CU ruling means for Wisconsin

January 28, 2010

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WY – HB68 will update Wyomings current ban on corporations from contributing any promotion of election of any candidate to conform with CU. The new law will effectively read that it does not limit corporations “from exercising its first amendment rights to make independent expenditures for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate.” However, the bill failed to acquire the necessary 2/3rds vote required during a budget session. A reintroduction attempt is likely.

February 10, 2010

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Over 30 Organizations have signed a letter asking Congress to consider a Shareholder Protection Act in light of CU. Some requested provisions include requiring shareholder approval over certain dollar amounts and requiring institutional investors to inform all persons in their investment funds of their voting history on corporate political expenditures.
Thanks to electionlawblog and Rick Hasen for the link.

April 8, 2010

National Center for State Lesiglatures has a comprehensive list of legislation currently being acted on in each state in response to CU (an excellent page). Also lists current bans on corporation and union spending by state.

March 15, 2010

States are scrambling to put together legislation in response to citizens united. At least 8 states are pushing for increased disclosure, and a few others are pushing for shareholder approval requirements. Jeff Patch, spokesman for Center for Competitive Politics says, “If the legislature does not give them a clear picture, it could result in a free-for-all.”

March 12, 2010

USA Today provides an overview of the wide variety of changes that states are making to conform with CU. Some states are taking an extremely proactive approach with measures like shareholder approval while others may only be seeking to repeal their current bans.

February 25, 2010

VIDEO – National Institute on Money in Politics breaks CU down audio-visually with a ‘get to know the basics’ approach. This short video gives a quick overview of how the states in general were affected by citizens united.

February 25, 2010

PBS’s Bill Moyer’s list of Affected State Laws

February 5, 2010

Congress may test allowing states to limit out-of-state corporate spending

February 4, 2010

CU may also have dramatic effect on state ‘Pay-to-Play’ Laws

January 25, 2010

NYT Article on Effect on 24 States with Contrary Laws

January 23, 2010

National Institute on Money In State Politics Report

January 22, 2010

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National Journal: nder the Influence’s Eliza Newlin Carney has a response for those who argue the 26 States that already had bans on corporate spending limits. A good summarization of the recent history of influencing events on how people view judicial elections.

April 12, 2010

New Republic article by Adam Skaggs from the Brennan Center zeroing in on some specific state judicial races that are sure to be impacted by CU (IL, WA) while generally projecting how it is likely to impact judicial elections. He advocates for public financing in states with judicial elections.

April 3, 2010

USA Today article disects the Brennan Center’s study on money in judicial elections and reflects on a few select states working on new legislation, partly to limit the possible impact of state bans on corporate spending being lifted from CU.

March 31, 2010

Sherrilyn Ifill comments about the impact of CU on judicial elections in states. The article begins with a historical backdrop to the elections and goes on to mention potential issues that are raised including increased loss of public confidence, Ifill argues, which might be solved by public financing. Thanks to for the link.

March 17, 2010

A new study according to the Justice at Stake and Brennan Center reveals money raised in judicial elections has more than doubled since the 1990s. Justice Ginsburg has spoken out against judicial elections as an extreme concern in the American court system. Even without the measurable impact of CU on indirect spending, it is clear judicial elections are changing.

March 17, 2010

More quotes from former SCOTUS Justice O’Connor while sitting on panel called by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. Voters have twice shot down similar legislation. The article references both CU and Massey Coal cases in showing possible support this year could lend itself to reform.,0,7551927.story

March 4, 2010

Focused on MI, the article, titled Exploring Options for an Independent Judiciary, cites different methods of reforming judicial elections. Seth Anderson, executive director of the American Judicature Society believes, “we will see more nasty campaigns than ever before” because of CU.

March 2, 2010

Justice for Sale (VIDEO), PBS’s Bill Moyer’s program on the issue of judicial elections with specific remarks to CU’s impact. Moyer remarks, “There’s now a crooked sign hanging on every courthouse in America reading ‘Justice for Sale.’”

February 19, 2010

CU to Impact Impartiality of Courts?

February 4, 2010

Reformers Hope CU Kills Judicial Elections

February 1, 2010

O’Connor Addresses ‘Problem’ of CU Ruling

January 26, 2010

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Links compiled and maintained by Alex Grout, a student at William & Mary School of Law


Treves buy essays visited the king daily and then, on the 21st, an improvement was observed.

Congressional Vacancies, Election Certification, and American Idol

Scott Brown, that American Idol fathering, sexiest man winning, pickup truck driving politician has won a decisive victory in Massachusetts.  But even before polls opened, there was a budding controversy over exactly when the election results would be certified and the winner seated.  Several media outlets are reporting that Democrats may attempt to delay Brown’s swearing in, in an effort to push health care reform through before Brown can take his seat.  Instead of providing yet another analysis of the current situation in Massachusetts, State of Elections is going to examine the existing law and customs governing special elections, and take a look at some previous controversies surrounding the certification of special elections. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

– The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United has been released, and it’s a doorstopper.  Weighing in at over 180 pages, the decision gives corporations, unions, and non-profits more power to spend freely in federal elections.  Of course, Citizens United has sparked quite a bit of controversy.  Rick Hasen, a leading election law scholar and member of the William and Mary Election Law Program Advisory Board,  posted a scathing critique of the opinion on Slate, and an examination of the possible future of campaign finance on the Huffington Post.  Ironically, Hasen’s book was cited in the majority opinion.

– Senator Chuck Schumer  is rumored to be working on a “universal voter registration” bill.   Originally, rumors had pegged Barney Frank as the author of the bill, sparking a mild controversy on the Hill and a fierce denial by Frank.   The possibly fictional bill would automatically register millions of people to vote.

– State of Elections has published several articles about felon disenfranchisement over the past few weeks, all of which have supported the restoration of felon voting rights.  In the interest of balance, here’s an editorial opposing the restoration of felon voting rights, written by Hans A. Von Spakovsky and John Park and published in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

– State of Elections is working on a new article, possibly a series of articles, about voting machines.  Specifically, we will be looking at New York City’s recent decision to replace its old lever operated machines with modern electronic voting machines.  If you have any information about NYC’s process for selecting a company to provide its machines, or any special knowledge about voting machines in general, please contact us at

In the kind of life they led of peripatetic, wellheeled idleness that took them on a seasonal round to paris, new york, palm beach, biarritz, monte carlo, portofino and back again the great enemy is boredom.

Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in state election law.

– The U.S. Census bureau has released its population estimates, and if their estimates are correct, 8 states stand to gain Congressional seats in 2010, and 10 states will lose seats.

– An editorial in the St. Petersburg Times accuses Florida’s “No Match, No Vote” law of disenfranchising thousands of minority voters during the 2008 presidential election.  The law denies voter registration to any applicant whose name on the registration form does not match the Social Security or Florida driver’s license databases.

– The Supreme Court has held its last session of 2009, and still has not released its decision in Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission. The Court was expected to overrule existing precedents that allowed the government to limit the amount corporations could spend on campaigns.  However, the long delay has fueled speculation that the Court’s decision may not be as clear cut as expected.  For a review of the issues involved in Citizen United, see this transcript of oral arguments and this analysis of the possible implications of the case.

MA Legislature Flirts with Unconstitutionality in Compromise Regarding Appointed Senator

The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is known best for establishing direct election of senators, but it also allows state legislatures to empower the governor to appoint a replacement to complete the term of any vacancy due to death, resignation, or expulsion. While many states have used this provision to fill their vacancies, the Amendment does not clarify whether this replacement is permitted to run for the seat in the next election. It is presumed that any legislation specifically forbidding this may be unconstitutional.

Senator Edward Kennedy’s death on August 25th, 2009 created a vacancy in the Senate. Pursuant to MA GL ch. 54, § 140, Governor Deval Patrick set a special election date for January 19th, 2010. On September 19th, 2009, in accordance with the 17th Amendment, the Massachusetts House passed a bill allowing the governor to appoint an interim senator to represent the state until the special election takes place in 2010. On September 22nd, the MA Senate also approved the bill, and the General Court with both houses gave final approval the following day. On September 24th, the governor signed the bill into law. Patrick then appointed Paul G. Kirk, Jr. as interim US senator. His appointment will expire after the special election on January 19th, 2010. Governor Patrick chose Kirk under the condition that he not run in the special election, in response to both the MA House and Senate passing resolutions requesting that the selectee not run in the special election. Continue reading

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