Eighty-seven state Supreme Court seats (25%) up for election this year – Ballotpedia News
Welcome to Wednesday, July 13, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here is what awaits you to start your day:
- Eighty-seven state supreme court seats are up for election this year
- An Update on the United States House Special Election in Alaska
- North Dakota campaign submits signatures for marijuana legalization initiative
Eighty-seven state supreme court seats are up for election this year
Yesterday, we continued our week-long preview of the November election with a look at the 309 state executive offices that will appear on the ballot. Today we focus on the state Supreme Court elections.
Eighty-seven seats out of 32 state supreme courts are up for election this year. This represents 25% of all state supreme court seats. These elections are roughly evenly split between contested elections (where more than one candidate appears on the ballot) and retention elections (where only the judge appears on the ballot in a yes/no election).
Here’s a preview of what you can expect in November:
- Retention elections will be used for 44 judicial elections this year, while contested elections will be used for 43 judicial elections.
- Of the 87 judges up for election this year, 66 are officially nonpartisan. Thirteen judges in the running are Republicans and eight are Democrats.
It is here that the elections could change the partisan control of the court.
- Illinois: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the ground. One seat from each party is up for election, while another judge from each party is pending upholding.
- Michigan: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the ground, with one seat from each party up for election.
- North Carolina: Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the ground, with two seats held by Democrats in the election.
- Ohio: Republicans hold a 4-3 majority in the field, with three seats held by Republicans in the election.
Because many state Supreme Court justices do not run in partisan races, voters are often unaware of the political leanings of their justices. In 2020, we conducted a study of the 341 state Supreme Court justices serving at that time. As part of this study, we assigned each judge a trust score indicating their partisan affiliation. Of those 341 judges, 179 (52.5%) received Republican confidence scores, 113 (33.1%) received Democratic confidence scores, and 49 (14.4%) received indeterminate confidence scores..
Of the 341 judges surveyed at the time, 69 no longer sit in state supreme courts.
States use a variety of methods to select state Supreme Court justices, and not all do so through elections. Click here to learn more about how states select state Supreme Court justices.
You can read more about the November state Supreme Court election by clicking the link below.
An Update on the United States House Special Election in Alaska
We’ve brought you periodic updates on the twists and turns of the US House special election in Alaska. Here is another look at this race.
On August 16, Alaskans will vote in two elections for the same office: a special general election and a regular primary election for the state’s US House district general. The special general election includes three candidates and will use preferential choice voting (RCV). Former Rep. Don Young (R), in office since 1973, died in March.
Sarah Palin (R), Nick Begich III (R), Al Gross (non-partisan) and Mary Peltola (D) dropped from the top four primary on June 11. Gross pulled out of the general standings, endorsing both Peltola and fifth-placed Tara Sweeney (R). The Alaska Supreme Court later ruled that Sweeney could not take fourth place on the ballot due to the timing of Gross’s withdrawal, leaving three candidates in the special general election..
A survey research in Alaska survey conducted from July 2 to 5 showed Peltola with 40%, Begich with 31% and Palin with 29% in the first round. The poll showed Begich with 57% to Peltola’s 43% in the final round. Click here to learn more about how RCV works.
In the special June 11 primary, the 16 Republican candidates won 58% of the combined vote. The 22 non-partisan or undeclared candidates obtained 24%. Six Democratic candidates obtained 17%.
The Alaska Republican Party endorsed Begich, former President Donald Trump endorsed Palin, and the Alaska AFL-CIO endorsed Peltola. On July 9, Trump headlined a rally in Anchorage in support of Palin.
In addition to Gross, an undeclared primary candidate and three Democratic candidates supported Peltola in the special general election. Lead candidate John Coghill (R) endorsed Begich. Fifteen candidates who ran in the special elections, including Begich, Palin and Peltola, are also running in the regular elections. Peltola is the only Democrat in this race.
The House special election is the first congressional election using the new voting system Alaskans-endorsed by ballot in 2020. The June primary was the first top-four congressional primary in U.S. history. Alaska and Maine are the only states that use preferential voting in congressional elections.
North Dakota campaign submits signatures for marijuana legalization initiative
On July 11, New Approach North Dakota, one of the campaigns behind a marijuana legalization initiative, said it had submitted 25,672 signatures. The measure needs 15,582 valid signatures to appear on the November ballot.
The measure would legalize personal cannabis use for adults 21 and older and allow individuals to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three cannabis plants. The measure would require the Department of Health and Human Services, or another department or agency designated by the state legislature, to establish an adult-use cannabis program to regulate the production and distribution of adult-use marijuana. By October 1, 2023. the measure, the department could license seven cultivation facilities and 18 cannabis retailers. Marijuana would be taxed at the state’s 5% sales tax rate.
If the initiative passes, it won’t be the first time North Dakota voters have considered legalizing marijuana. In 2018, voters rejected a legalization initiative 59.45% to 40.55%. New Approach North Dakota president David Owen was also president of LegalizeND, the committee that sponsored the rejected initiative in 2018. Owen said the biggest difference between the 2018 proposal and the current initiative is that “[this initiative] is legal, regulated, controlled and restricted marijuana. It’s a marijuana program that’s very, very similar to the one that North Dakota’s State House adopted.
Alongside North Dakota, campaigns submitted signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the November ballot in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Currently, 19 states and Washington, DC have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and DC had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process.
Click below to learn more about North Dakota’s marijuana legalization initiative. Click here to read a history of marijuana laws and ballot measures in the United States.