Stephen Wolf

2020 election delivered a crippling blow to fair elections for the coming decade — thanks to the Supreme Court

Nov. 3 delivered a crippling blow to fair elections for the coming decade after Republicans scored a sweeping victory in the battle for control over redistricting following this year's census, giving them the power to gerrymander up to half of the country. The GOP is poised to draw four or even five times as many congressional districts as Democrats, almost as extreme as the advantage the party enjoyed following the 2010 wave.

But not only did Republicans secure their grip on the cartographer's pen across the country, they could also see the potency of their gerrymanders get turbocharged thanks to the radical new 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court. The future of redistricting depends heavily on what the court's new far-right majority does in three different areas:

  1. First, the court could remove remaining state-level checks on GOP legislatures, such as the ability of state courts to policy gerrymandering.
  2. Second, it could gut what remains of the Voting Rights Act and finish the job Chief Justice John Roberts started in 2013, which would particularly worsen gerrymandering in the South, particularly discriminating against Black voters and the Democrats they heavily support.
  3. Finally, the court could let Republican lawmakers draw districts based on eligible voters instead of the broader total population, further exacerbating the GOP's domination and hurting people of color.

The Supreme Court isn't the only threat, though, and it remains unclear just how much damage Donald Trump has done to corrupt the accuracy of the 2020 census. Let's delve into each of these areas, including the options Democrats have left for fighting back.

The court's most wide-reaching impact could come if it upends a bedrock of two centuries of federalism by accepting an extreme and unprecedented view of the U.S. Constitution's "Elections Clause." That clause, found in Article I, Section IV, gives the "legislature" in each state the power to set the "times, places, and manner of holding" federal elections—though it adds that Congress "may at any time make or alter such regulations"—which is why, for instance, there's a federal law from the 19th century setting a uniform date for congressional elections.

Republicans have argued in several ongoing cases over uncounted absentee ballots that this clause only empowers the state legislature itself. That claim would exclude all those who hold the power to set or interpret laws under state constitutions, such as state courts, voters (via the ballot initiative process), or potentially even governors when they exercise their veto powers.

The Supreme Court rejected this radical interpretation of the Elections Clause in a 5-4 ruling in 2015 that upheld the right of Arizona voters to strip their Republican-run legislature of the power to draw new maps through a 2000 ballot initiative that established an independent redistricting commission. However, two of the justices in the majority in that ruling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, are no longer on the court and have since been replaced by justices much further to the right.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote an angry dissent in the Arizona case and was joined by Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, all of whom of course still serve on the court. Neil Gorsuch, meanwhile, has signaled that he would accept this unfounded legal theory in a pending case over late-counted mail ballots in Pennsylvania, and Brett Kavanaugh appears likely to join his nihilistic colleagues. Amy Coney Barrett hasn't weighed in on the issue only because she didn't have time to do so before Election Day.

If the Supreme Court does hold that only literal state legislatures may set federal election laws absent congressional intervention, independent redistricting commissions enacted by initiatives placed on the ballot by ordinary citizens could get struck down in Arizona, California, and Michigan. It would also eliminate the possibility of setting up independent commissions through future initiatives in states like Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, and more.

The court could even go further and strip governors of their ability to veto new redistricting plans, if indeed only "legislatures"—free from gubernatorial involvement—can determine how elections are run. Such a move would disproportionately benefit Republicans, since it would bar many more Democratic governors in states with Republican-run legislatures (such as Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) from blocking new gerrymanders than vice versa.

Should this most extreme state of affairs come to pass, the only solution for Democrats would be to win control of more legislatures, but they'd be fighting on gerrymandered maps deliberately tilted against them.

The second grim scenario, which is the likeliest to transpire, would largely impact gerrymandering in states Republicans already control. Specifically, the Supreme Court could eviscerate the rest of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by invalidating Section Two of the VRA's ban on laws that have a discriminatory effect on voters. Chief Justice John Roberts has in fact spent his four-decade career in Washington trying to do just that, and he now has five allies on the bench—and only four are needed.

The court may gut Section Two either by finding it unconstitutional or by making its test for showing discriminatory impacts impossible to satisfy, the latter of which it could do in an Arizona voting case it will hear next year. That would eliminate the requirement stretching back three decades that maps be drawn to create districts where voters belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, like Blacks and Latinos, can elect their chosen candidates. Republicans could gain perhaps as many as a dozen more congressional seats, concentrated largely in the South, and the impact on certain state legislatures would be even more dramatic.

Lastly, the Supreme Court could make GOP gerrymandering worse by allowing Republicans to draw districts based solely on the eligible voter population instead of the total overall population, which has been the longstanding norm. Not only is the eligible voter pool whiter, it also excludes children, noncitizens, and potentially even some of the 5 million Americans disenfranchised due to felony convictions.

Using the voter population would make Republican gerrymandering more potent in several key states such as Texas, where communities with large Latino populations that lean Democratic are typically much younger and have many more noncitizen immigrants than whiter communities with fewer children.

Furthermore, people disenfranchised due to felony convictions are disproportionately Black and concentrated in Southern states such as Mississippi, which bans one in six Black citizens from voting for life, three times the rate of whites. A 2019 expose of leaked documents confirmed that Republicans have been plotting to bring this change about, and the Supreme Court did not eliminate the possibility in a 2016 ruling.

However, one key wrinkle in this plan is that the Supreme Court refused to let Trump place a citizenship question on the census last year. Trump subsequently ordered the Census Bureau to use existing administrative records to match citizenship data from other sources with the granular type of census data needed for redistricting. However, Joe Biden could block the release of such data, and litigation over it appears likely.

But even if citizenship data is unobtainable for redistricting, age data won't be, and the full adult population is still whiter than the total population, especially in places like Texas. However, Trump has also tried to sabotage the accuracy of the census by rushing an incomplete count, the damage from which is yet unknown.

Despite all this, Democrats and reformers still have a number of ways to fight back. The most important target right now is to win two Jan. 5 runoffs for the Senate in Georgia, which would split the chamber at 50 seats apiece. If, as looks likely, Joe Biden wins the presidency, Kamala Harris could break ties as vice president.

Should that come to pass, Democrats could eliminate the filibuster and pass legislation in Congress to ban congressional gerrymandering by mandating independent commissions in every state. They could also reform the Supreme Court in a variety of different ways, including by adding more seats.

Options also remain at the state level for as long as the Supreme Court's hardliners back away from the ledge and don't blow up the foundation of federalism. In a silver lining, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota all rejected GOP-backed ballot measures this year that would have made future progressive ballot measures much harder, if not impossible. Arkansas and North Dakota, meanwhile, were poised to vote on redistricting reform measures in 2020 before GOP-dominated courts threw them off the ballot, so future efforts this decade could yet succeed.

But this year's elections have already brought dire news even if worst-case scenarios don't come to pass. After a lost decade following 2010 in which Republicans repeatedly won control of key states such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin despite Democrats winning more votes, Republican minority rule is becoming self-entrenching in many states. 2020 was a key opportunity to level the redistricting playing field in many states and protect majority rule, but Republican wins have ended those hopes.

Yet even if the Supreme Court does take this country down the darkest possible paths, all hope is not lost. Examples abound of countries bringing democracy back from the brink, including a recent one nearby.

Last year, millions of citizens in Chile organized massive street protests amid widespread discontent triggered in part by a Supreme Court that kept thwarting the country's left-of-center governments. These protests led to a peaceful revolution that culminated last month with Chileans voting to write a new constitution.

Americans still have other avenues for redress, but whatever conclusions we draw from them, this week's election showed that our country remains home to a majority that believes in democracy and wants to see the will of the people honored.

Here are the key 2020 court battles that are taking shape as Supreme Court threat to mail votes looms

LEADING OFF

Supreme Court: This week, the Supreme Court set the stage for what could be the most important legal battle of the 2020 elections with its rulings in major cases over whether mail ballots may count if they are postmarked by Election Day but received afterward.

These cases rely on a radical constitutional theory that would effectively overturn the foundation of federalism and eliminate state-level judicial review when state courts try to safeguard voting rights from hostile GOP legislatures. In a worst-case scenario, this approach could allow the Supreme Court's far-right majority to throw out thousands if not millions of valid absentee ballots and potentially change the outcome of the election.

The conservative justices first reversed a lower court ruling in Wisconsin allowing postmarked ballots to count while refusing to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling in Pennsylvania that did permit such ballots count and a settlement by North Carolina officials extending the deadline by when postmarked ballots must be received after Election Day.

Shortly after those rulings came down, a panel of mostly conservative judges on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued one of the most flagrantly partisan and undemocratic decisions in years to disqualify postmarked ballots in Minnesota—a ruling that experts lambasted as "outrageous" and "indefensibly wrong" as we'll explain below.

While North Carolina and Pennsylvania decisions appear on the surface to be victories for voting rights, they may be short lived, because the issues of postmarked ballots could swiftly return to the Supreme Court after Election Day. It's very possible the court's new hardline right-wing majority could invalidate votes after Election Day even though they were properly cast at the time voters mailed them, an outcome that would be an unprecedented judicial abrogation of the right to vote.

If voters have not already voted, they should forget about returning their absentee ballots by mail and risk them not arriving on time. To mitigate the impact of a hostile judiciary, they should instead return their mail ballots at a drop-box, polling place, or local elections office if their state or locality allows it, and if that isn't an option, voters should vote in-person and do it early if that's allowed where they live.

Common to many of these cases above are two legal principles, once of which stems from a 2006 Supreme Court ruling called Purcell v. Gonzales that gave rise to the so-called "Purcell principle." That principle says courts should be sternly reluctant to change election laws or procedures close to an election in an effort to avoid voter confusion or strains on election administration. Even when some election rules may be unconstitutional, federal courts are supposed to apply a much higher burden for overturning them to avoid creating chaos (state courts operate under different procedures varying based on state constitutional law).

Citing Purcell, the Supreme Court's conservatives refused to overturn a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that overturned a lower court ruling requiring postmarked ballots to count in Wisconsin. But while the Supreme Court in Purcell did not say that no changes may ever be made when an election is near, many conservative judges have interpreted that guideline this year to block any relief for plaintiffs no matter how egregious the alleged constitutional violations.

The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, combined with Donald Trump's ongoing sabotage of the postal service creating unprecedented delays in mail delivery service, could very well have entitled the plaintiffs to relief in Wisconsin and many related lawsuits. Yet in case after case where lower federal courts have blocked GOP voting restrictions due to the pandemic, the conservatives on the Supreme Court and courts of appeals have overturned such rulings by citing Purcell regardless of how serious the violation of constitutional rights, with the high court often granting emergency stays that don't require it to provide any written explanation.

Right-wing judges over the last few weeks have brazenly wielded Purcell as a partisan cudgel against Democrats by selectively enforcing it to almost-consistently benefit Republicans and hurt voters. The Minnesota ruling in particular offers a stark illustration.

In that case, an 8th Circuit panel ruled 2-1 along ideological lines that Democratic Secretary of State Seve Simon had likely exceeded his powers and usurped the legislature's authority when he agreed three months ago in a lawsuit to count postmarked ballots received up to Nov. 10. The 8th Circuit directed Simon to segregate any postmarked ballots that arrive after Election Day as the case proceeds in case it finds his actions unlawful, strongly implying that the judges will toss out those ballots after Election Day when they issue a final ruling on the merits.

Granting a GOP lawsuit filed in September with just weeks to go, the court in Minnesota itself changed election procedures with just five days left until Election Day and after some mail voters had already voted with the postmark provision in mind. That outcome makes a mockery of Purcell by treating it as a one-way partisan ratchet for the GOP in which Republicans are allowed to wage last-minute challenges to attack voting rights—even changing the rules after ballots have been cast—but Democrats aren't allowed to do so to protect them.

Likely anticipating the catastrophic effects of an adverse ruling that could come from a potential appeal, Simon and Minnesota Democrats announced on Friday that they would hold off on trying to overturn the 8th Circuit ruling. Simon emphasized that "there is no ruling yet saying those ballots are invalid" and that Minnesota reserves "the right to make every argument after Election Day that protects voters."

While Purcell has largely guided federal courts, state courts operate under different rules due to two centuries of precedents establishing the guidelines of federalism, the second principle common to these cases. For that reason, it's particularly alarming that the Supreme Court has even considered potentially overturning state Supreme Court rulings in Pennsylvania and North Carolina where those courts were adjudicating issues based solely on state constitutional concerns without any questions of federal law at issue in good faith.

The Supreme Court left a ruling by the Democratic majority on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court in place when, for the second time in recent weeks, it refused the GOP's request for a stay that would block ballots postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later. In two separate lawsuits over a settlement where the Democratic majority on North Carolina's state Board of Elections extended the deadline by when postmarked ballots must be received from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12, the Supreme Court refused to overturn a federal lower court ruling and refused to reverse a ruling by the majority-Democratic state Supreme Court that had upheld the settlement just days prior.

But each of these cases remain ongoing, and their fates appear ominous for voting rights based on how the justices ruled on the requests for the stays and Justice Brett Kavanaugh's separate opinion in the Wisconsin case. Three justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch all would have gone nuclear in North Carolina and Pennsylvania by granting the stays, accepting an extreme and unprecedented view of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause.

The Elections Clause gives the "legislature" in each state the power to set the "times, places, and manner of holding" federal elections (though Congress "may at any time make or alter such regulations"). Republicans argue in these cases and in Minnesota that this clause only empowers the state legislature itself, not those who hold the power to set laws under state constitutions such as state courts, voters (via the ballot initiative process), or potentially even governors when they exercise their veto powers.

The Supreme Court rejected this interpretation of the Elections Clause in a 5-4 ruling in 2015 upholding the right of Arizona voters to strip their GOP-run legislature of the power to control redistricting by using a 2000 ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission. However, two of the justices in the majority in that ruling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, are no longer on the court and have since been replaced by justices much further to their right.

While Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch are not a majority on their own, Kavanaugh strongly cast doubt on the legality of counting postmarked ballots that arrive after Election Day in his Wisconsin ruling, a decision that drew fierce criticism over factual inaccuracies and Kavanaugh's having concocted a notion that "states also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter." Especially worrisome is that Kavanaugh approvingly cited a theory in the Supreme Court's infamous case Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 election for George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh's statement appears to support Trump's bogus claims that votes counted after Election Day, potentially even those that were received and not just postmarked by Election Day, are somehow illegitimate, and it's at odds with two key facts. First, no state does or ever has had official declarations of a winner on Election Night, and every state counts ballots such as provisionals and military ballots from abroad in the days or even weeks afterward. Federal law acknowledges as much by setting Dec. 8 as the last day to certify votes ahead of the Dec. 14 vote by Electoral College electors.

Second, the Republican legislatures in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, both of which saw Democrats win more votes in 2018 but the GOP win gerrymandered majorities anyway, have refused to pass laws that would allow election workers to even begin preparing absentee mail ballots for counting ahead of Election Day. Nearly every other state lets workers begin processing such votes early even if they may still have to wait until Election Day to count them, and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin's inability to do so could drag out the vote counting past Election Night.

Because Trump's demagoguery against mail voting has meant that Democrats are voting by mail at much higher rates than Republicans, Trump has made it clear that he plans to try to overturn an election loss by claiming victory on Election Night based on a partial count even in the likely event that late-counted mail ballots ultimately cause him to lose. While Kavanaugh did not side with his three colleagues who would have granted these stays, he left little doubt where his inclinations lie on the merits.

That leaves new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who did not weigh in on the requests for the stays. However, Barrett made clear via a spokesperson that she was not recusing herself but had simply not had time to get caught up to speed on the briefings, something that won't necessarily be the case if these cases return to the Supreme Court in the coming days. Trump himself has let slip that he rushed Barrett's appointment to the court just eight days before Election Day precisely because he wanted her to decide the election in his favor.

Consequently, there is a dire risk that all of the Supreme Court's conservatives aside from Chief Justice John Roberts could rule after Election Day against counting these postmarked ballots. Such a ruling would be an unprecedented assault on the sanctity of the election and a denial of due process afforded to voters in countless past cases, and such an outcome could spark a historic public backlash against the court itself.

If there's one silver lining, it may be that the potential for backlash could give the conservative hardliners pause to avoid giving congressional Democrats the public standing they would need to expand the Supreme Court by adding new justices in response. Furthermore, the potential margin of Trump's defeat itself may play into Kavanaugh and Barrett's willingness or lack thereof to brazenly discard votes, and if the polls are anywhere near close to the mark, Trump is poised to decisively lose next week.

Nevertheless, the fact that five justices on the Supreme Court appear very open if not eagerly willing to upend two centuries of established law, all to help a historically unpopular and authoritarian president cling to power in the face of a looming decisive defeat, is itself ample reason for Democrats to reform the court itself should they nevertheless overcome these barriers and win the presidency and Senate on Tuesday.

If they don't, the Supreme Court's conservative hardliners could make nakedly partisan rulings attacking the right to vote for years if not decades to come.

(Note: Daily Kos Elections contributing editor Arjun Jaikumar is representing a party in this Pennsylvania litigation. He took no part in the production of this writeup.)

FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT

Tennessee: A state court has dealt a setback to voting rights advocates by ruling that Tennessee is not required to alter its felony disenfranchisement regime to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions from other states based on how the state where they were convicted treats voting rights for such individuals.

Felony disenfranchisement is more restrictive in Tennessee than almost anywhere else in the country, requiring voters to have completely served all parts of their sentence including prison, parole, and probation, and some of the most serious offenses result in lifetime disenfranchisement. Furthermore, Tennessee requires the payment of court fines and fees before voters may regain their rights, which results in post-sentence disenfranchisement potentially for life for those unable to pay off such assessments.

Consequently, 9% of Tennesseans are banned from voting, nearly the highest rate of any state, including 22% of Black voters, which is the highest rate in the country after several states have adopted reforms to lessen their disenfranchisement rates in the last several years. It's unclear how many of those affected would see their rights restored if Tennessee treated out-of-state convictions similarly to how those voters would have been treated in their native states.

ELECTION CHANGES

Please bookmark our litigation tracker for a complete summary of the latest developments in every lawsuit regarding changes to elections and voting procedures as a result of the coronavirus.

Alaska: The Alaska Supreme Court, which has a GOP-appointed majority, has rejected a lawsuit asking that voters be notified of any problems with their mail ballots and be given a chance to fix them before Election Day. The state already requires officials to notify voters of any issues after the election.

Arkansas: A federal court has rejected a lawsuit asking that Arkansas voters be notified of any problems with their mail ballots and be given a chance to fix them. Arkansas is one of only four states that does not give voters the opportunity to address any alleged signature mismatches.

Separately, voting rights advocates have filed a lawsuit in state court challenging a state law that says that absentee ballots may only be counted on Election Day. Election officials say they plan to keep counting such ballots "regardless of how long it takes to complete the process." It appears that the case has since been transferred to a federal court.

Georgia: Republican-appointed judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have stayed a lower court ruling that required election officials to maintain paper backups of voter registration records at polling sites in the event of failures with the state's electronic voter check-in system that marred Georgia's June primary.

Missouri: A Missouri state court has rejected a lawsuit seeking to count mail ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within a few days. The court also declined to block a pair of state laws: one requiring that only voters under 65 have mail ballots notarized (elderly voters, who are exempt, typically lean Republican) and another prohibiting voters from returning mail ballots in person.

South Carolina: A federal court has ordered election officials not to reject mail ballots due to alleged signature mismatches and says that officials must also review any ballots that were previously rejected on such grounds. Ballots with missing signatures from voters or witnesses, however, will still not be accepted.

Texas: Conservative judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals have blocked a lower court ruling that held that an exemption in Texas' mask mandate for voters and poll workers violated the Voting Rights Act. Separately, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order limiting election officials to just one mail return location per county.

Taken together, it's particularly cynical of Republican state Attorney General Ken Paxton to argue that the mask mandate violates voters' right to vote when he has personally ensured that many such voters have no alternative but to vote in-person after Paxton successfully fought in court against efforts to liberalize access to mail voting.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican activists and candidates have asked the state Supreme Court to throw out all ballots cast at curbside voting locations in Harris County. The court previously rejected similar challenges filed by Republicans, but an adverse ruling here could disenfranchise over 100,000 voters if the high court grants this request.

Virginia: A Virginia state court has ruled that ballots lacking a postmark can't count if they arrive after Election Day.

Wisconsin: A Wisconsin state court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that mass ballot dropoff events in Madison were legal, saying that organizers who brought the suit and the city officials named as defendants were not in disagreement. Republicans had threatened to sue to block the events, known as "Democracy in the Park," but no such lawsuit ever came.

Majority of Supreme Court now confirmed by senates where Republicans represented fewer Americans than Dems

On Monday, Senate Republicans confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and in doing so have officially brought minority rule to the highest court in the land: Five of the six conservative justices—a majority of the Supreme Court—have been confirmed by senates with Republican majorities that represented fewer Americans than their corresponding Democratic minorities.

Further underscoring this development, three of those five justices—Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh—were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote, while the other two—John Roberts and Samuel Alito—by a president who likewise lost the popular vote for his initial term and might never have become president without that Electoral College victory. Among the conservatives, only Clarence Thomas was both appointed by a president who won the popular vote and a Senate where the majority party represented more Americans.

It isn't just the lack of popular support that delegitimizes this new Supreme Court majority: Republicans violated two centuries' worth of norms to obtain it, first with their blockade of Merrick Garland nomination and now with Barrett's rushed confirmation.

Fabricating a bogus precedent against election-year confirmations, Republicans refused to even give Garland a hearing despite the fact that there was nearly a year left in Obama's presidency. (Democrats, by contrast, had confirmed the conservative Anthony Kennedy in 1988, the last time prior to 2016 that a Supreme Court seat was vacant during an election year.) Four years after inventing reasons to torpedo Garland, Republicans then predictably turned around and confirmed Barrett a mere eight days before Election Day—and after roughly two-fifths of voters have likely already cast their ballots.

With this ill-won majority of radicals, the Supreme Court is poised to gut the rule of law, render the Voting Rights Act a dead letter, and give a green light to GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts, all so that Republicans can permanently entrench minority rule at every level of government. Donald Trump himself has openly stated that he wanted Barrett on the court before the election so that its conservatives would decide the outcome in his favor. Just days ago, four justices were willing to blow up the foundation of federalism to further Republican suppression of the vote, and Barrett may soon give them a majority in the likely event that that case returns to the court—or if not, shortly thereafter.

Since 2010 elections swept them into power across the country, Republicans have passed restrictions on the right to vote in state after state, abetted by conservative judges confirmed by the very same Senate majorities the GOP has held while representing fewer Americans than Democrats. If Democrats nevertheless overcome these barriers to voting in 2020 by winning the presidency and both chambers of Congress, it may be their last chance for the foreseeable future to rescue American democracy from Republican efforts to lock in minority rule.

The radical-right majority on the Supreme Court comes with lifetime tenure, so the conservative justices may well play the long game and draw out rulings that risk sparking a public backlash that could bolster the case for reforming the courts. If they take their time with overturning Roe v. Wade, striking down Obamacare, and invalidating what remains of the Voting Rights Act, it could then be too late for Democrats to do anything about it. Democrats must therefore act before the 2022 midterms because the GOP could regain the House, Senate, or both.

It starts with eliminating the filibuster so that an empowered Congress can rebalance the Supreme Court, potentially by adding four or more justices. A fair-minded court is necessary to protect any further reforms, such as a new Voting Rights Act, statehood for Washington, D.C., and banning gerrymandering.

If Democrats fail to do so, however, Barrett and her fellow partisan activists will roll back much of the progress of the last century while making it impossible for Democrats to govern—if they're even able to win elections again in the first place. Indeed, with his party looking likely to get swept out of power next week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has openly admitted as much. "A lot of what we've done over the last four years will be undone, sooner or later, by the next election," he conceded.

But regarding Barrett's confirmation—and by extension Trump's litany of judicial appointments at all levels—he gloated that the results of the election "won't be able to do much about this for a long time to come." McConnell will only be right if Democrats do not act.

These are the 2020 state races to watch for determining how redistricting plays out after the census

Next month's elections are the last that will take place before states are required to redraw their congressional and state legislative districts to reflect population changes in the 2020 census. That makes them critical in the fight against gerrymandering. Below, we'll look at key elections for governor, state legislature, and ballot measures in the states that could change who's in charge of the redistricting process for the coming decade, and be sure to bookmark the spreadsheet version of this info since we'll update it as results come in.

As things stand, Republicans would get to draw three to four times as many congressional districts as Democrats if nothing changes in 2020, and the picture is similar for state legislative maps. But Democrats are well-positioned to flip a number of key races that would break GOP's control over redistricting in important swing states like Texas, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania and help level the playing field.

Note that seat counts for state legislative chambers count third parties or independents with the major party they lean toward if any, and totals are based on the last party that held any vacant seats.

ARIZONA

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (17 R, 13 D)
  • State House: Republican (31 R, 29 D)

Arizona has had an independent redistricting commission in place since 2000, but there's a significant risk that the Supreme Court will strike down all commissions that were passed by citizen-initiated ballot measures, especially if Judge Amy Coney Barrett joins the court. Republicans control the governorship, but Democrats have an excellent shot at flipping one or both chambers this year.

That would lead to a divided government in case the commission gets struck down, meaning that, barring a bipartisan compromise, new maps would likely be drawn by the courts, which habitually favor nonpartisan districts. Republicans in the legislature have also repeatedly sought to undermine the commission, so ending the GOP's control of state government would help insulate the panel.

CONNECTICUT

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Democratic (22 D, 14 R)
  • State House: Democratic (91 D, 60 R)

Connecticut requires supermajorities to pass new maps, so Democrats would need to win two-thirds of all seats in the legislature to gain control over redistricting. It's a reach, but isn't totally implausible with Donald Trump weighing down the GOP ticket. If Democrats don't do so, it would take bipartisan support to drew new lines, otherwise the courts would get involved.

FLORIDA

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (23 R, 17 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (73 R, 47 D)

Florida voters passed two ballot initiatives in 2010 to try to ban gerrymandering, but the state Supreme Court has taken a lurch far to the right after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won in 2018 and is unlikely to enforce the amendments to curb GOP gerrymandering. However, if Democrats pull off an upset and flip either chamber, they could force a deadlock, requiring a court to step in to craft new maps in the absence of the two parties working out a deal.

GEORGIA

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (35 R, 21 D)
  • State House: Republican (106 R, 74 D)

Georgia Democrats would have to flip the state House to break the GOP's full control of state government, but that's a daunting task since the chamber is already heavily gerrymandered to benefit the GOP and the state Senate is even worse. However, a Democratic House majority can't be ruled out if 2020 turns into a true blue tsunami in the Atlanta suburbs. If that happens, redistricting would get handed to the courts unless both sides negotiate an agreement.

IOWA

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (32 R, 18 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (53 R, 47 D)

A nonpartisan agency has for decades proposed maps to the Iowa legislature, which has always adopted them. However, if Republicans remain in power following the November elections, next year would be the first time in several decades under this system that one party has unified control over state government, which would allow the GOP to simply reject the agency's proposals and implement their own gerrymanders. But Democrats have a realistic chance of capturing the state House next month. In that case, lawmakers would be likely to once again accept the agency's maps.

KANSAS

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (29 R, 11 D)
  • State House: Republican (84 R, 41 D)

Democrats need to flip just a single state House seat or three state Senate seats to break the GOP's nominally veto-proof majorities. That would allow them uphold Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's vetoes, including of a possible gerrymander that the Republican Senate leader was recently caught on tape vowing to fight for. Republicans have been running well behind their normal showing in Kansas polling this year, so Democrats may even be favored to break the GOP's supermajorities. If that happens, redistricting would be very likely to fall to the courts.

MICHIGAN

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (22 R, 16 D)
  • State House: Republican (58 R, 52 D)

Like Arizona, Michigan also has an independent redistricting commission, but while it's new for the 2020 cycle, it too could get invalidated by the Supreme Court. Even if it survives, though, litigation over the eventual maps the commission produces is likely, which is why it's critical for Democrats that they flip the state Supreme Court next month. If Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and attorney Elizabeth Welch prevail in these nominally nonpartisan elections, Democrats would turn the GOP's 4-3 advantage into a 4-3 majority of their own.

Michigan Democrats also have a good chance to overcome one of the most persistent GOP gerrymanders in the nation and finally regain the state House (the state Senate is not up until 2022).

MINNESOTA

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (35 R, 32 D)
  • State House: Democratic (75 D, 59 R)

Democrats have an excellent opportunity to flip the two net seats needed to regain control of the state Senate while holding onto their newly won state House majority, which would give one party full control over redistricting in Minnesota for the first time in the modern era. That could make it one of the rare states that Democrats could gerrymander, although as we saw in Virginia earlier this year (see our item on the state below), there's no guarantee they'd do so, especially since some of the party's candidates this year are running on a platform of redistricting reform.

MISSOURI

  • Governor: Republican
  • State Senate: Republican (24 R, 10 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (116 R, 47 D)

Missouri voters passed an initiative in 2018 to reform the existing bipartisan legislative redistricting commission by adding a nonpartisan expert to propose maps to lawmakers using an explicit partisan fairness formula, but Republicans have placed a deceptive measure called Amendment 3 on the ballot that would gut this reform. To keep this commission in place under the revised rules, voters will have to defeat the GOP's amendment.

Congressional redistricting, meanwhile, is still handled by the legislature and governor. To block a GOP gerrymander, Democrat Nicole Galloway would have to pull off an upset victory against Republican Gov. Mike Parson. Democrats would also have to overcome hostile districts to break the GOP's veto-proof two-thirds majority in at least one chamber of the legislature. Should both of these things happen, a court-drawn congressional map would be likely.

NEBRASKA

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (30 R, 19 D; half of seats up)

Republicans control Nebraska's unicameral and nominally nonpartisan legislature, but they lack the two-thirds supermajority needed to overcome a filibuster of any new gerrymanders unless they gain three seats, an unlikely outcome with the districts that were last up in Trump's 2016 romp. The GOP could also eliminate the filibuster with a simple majority, but it's far from clear that enough Republican lawmakers are willing to make that move. If the status quo prevails, new maps would be handled by the courts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • Governor: Republican
  • State Senate: Democratic (14 D, 10 R)
  • State House: Democratic (234 D, 166 R)

The most likely outcome according to the polls is that Democrats retain their legislative majorities in New Hampshire while Republican Gov. Chris Sununu wins another term and maintains the ability to veto Democratic-drawn districts. However, it's possible that Sununu could still lose to Democrat Dan Feltes if the bottom truly falls out for the GOP, which would allow Democrats to pass their own maps.

NEW JERSEY

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2021)
  • State Senate: Democratic (25 D, 15 R; up in 2021)
  • State House: Democratic (52 D, 28 R; up in 2021)

New Jersey's Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the heavily Democratic legislature don't face the voters again until 2021, after legislative redistricting is supposed to take place. However, if Democratic legislators get their way, redistricting would be pushed back to the 2023 election cycle if voters pass Question 3 and the census doesn't provide the data lawmakers need by Feb. 15. Delaying redistricting two more years would further disadvantage the state's growing Asian and Latino populations, likely to the benefit of white Democratic incumbents in primaries.

No matter which year New Jersey conducts its redistricting, the process will see two bipartisan commissions (one for Congress and one for the legislature) appointed by a combination of legislative leaders and state party leaders calling the shots, so Democrats won't have the chance to adopt extreme partisan maps regardless of how 2020 turns out.

NEW YORK

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Democratic (40 D, 23 R)
  • State Assembly: Democratic (107 D, 43 R)

New York has a bipartisan redistricting commission appointed by lawmakers, but legislators could override the commission's recommendations and pass maps to their own liking if they have a two-thirds supermajority. Democrats are just two seats shy of the two-thirds mark in the state Senate and are likely to maintain their supermajority in the Assembly.

However, many Democratic lawmakers in New York have often been all too happy to ignore their party's broader interests if it means getting a seat that's safe from a primary challenger. It's therefore unclear whether Democrats would even be able to pass aggressive partisan gerrymanders even if they were to win supermajorities.

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Governor: Democratic
  • State Senate: Republican (29 R, 21 D)
  • State House: Republican (65 R, 55 D)

North Carolina has seen the worst and most pervasive Republican gerrymandering of any state in modern history, and those battles are likely to continue if Republicans keep control of the legislature this year, since Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is unable to veto most redistricting bills. However, Democrats have a chance to solidify their 6-1 majority on the state Supreme Court and could even sweep the court if they win all three seats up this year.

State courts curtailed the GOP's gerrymanders last year, but while those court rulings curbed the worst excesses of Republican gerrymandering, they didn't entirely eliminate the problem, and judicial review is not guaranteed to succeed again given the increasingly radical proceduralism by the U.S. Supreme Court. Fortunately, Democrats have a very real chance to flip the state House and possibly even the state Senate this year despite the flawed maps.

OHIO

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (24 R, 9 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (61 R, 38 D)

Ohio's legislature is almost hopelessly gerrymandered by Republicans, but if Democrats Jennifer Brunner and John O'Donnell oust both GOP incumbents up for election to the state Supreme Court, Democrats would gain a 4-3 majority on the bench. Such a majority could mean the difference between actually enforcing the protections added to Ohio's constitution in a 2018 bipartisan deal to reform congressional redistricting, or whether those provisions remain toothless, as Republicans intended them to be.

OREGON

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Democratic (18 D, 12 R; half of seats up)
  • State House: Democratic (38 D, 22 R)

In 2019, Oregon Republicans repeatedly fled the state to deny Democrats the two-thirds legislative supermajority needed for a quorum to conduct any business, successfully defeating a Democratic bill to enact climate protections. They're likely to repeat that move with redistricting next year if GOP state Sen. Kim Thatcher beats Democratic state Sen. Shemia Fagan for the open secretary of state's office, because if lawmakers don't pass new legislative districts by July 1, 2021, the secretary of state takes over the process,

Consequently, the secretary of state's office could be winner-take-all for either party, since Democrats have a firm grip on the legislative majority. If, however, the GOP once more succeeds at quorum-busting, a court would draw the congressional map barring a compromise. Democrats, though, have an uphill shot at gaining two-thirds control of the legislature outright if they gain two seats in each chamber, which would give them complete control over redistricting regardless of the secretary of state race.

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (29 R, 21 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (110 R, 93 D)

Like North Carolina, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has a Democratic majority that, in 2018, issued a ruling striking down the GOP's congressional gerrymander. However, there's no guarantee that the court would draw another fair map after 2020 even if Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf once again blocks Republican legislators from passing an extreme gerrymander, especially if the U.S. Supreme Court interferes. Democrats have a plausible chance at flipping the state House next month and long-shot odds of flipping the state Senate. Even if they flip only one chamber, however, breaking the GOP's hold on the legislature could strengthen Democrats' hand in court or in negotiations on a compromise.

Since the state Supreme Court determines the majority tiebreaker on the bipartisan commission used for legislative redistricting, a Republican effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would effectively gerrymander the court could be even more consequential. The GOP passed their amendment earlier this year and would need to pass it again after 2020 before voters weigh in via a 2021 referendum, but a Democratic state House could stop that power grab dead in its tracks.

TEXAS

  • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
  • State Senate: Republican (19 R, 12 D; half of seats up)
  • State House: Republican (83 R, 67 D)

The most important state for Republican congressional gerrymandering is Texas, and thanks to a gerrymander that overreached earlier this decade and failed to anticipate how Donald Trump would repulse once-reliable GOP voters, Democrats have a legitimately good chance of taking a majority in the state House. Indeed, Democrat Beto O'Rourke won a majority of seats in 2018 despite losing 51-48 overall to Ted Cruz.

A Democratic majority would break the GOP's full hold over congressional redistricting, likely prompting a court to draw the map, although Republicans would still retain control over legislative redistricting regardless thanks to a "backup commission" dominated by GOP officeholders. Nonetheless, a nonpartisan congressional map could mean several more Democratic seats (and greater Latino representation) following the 2022 elections, and could potentially determine control of the U.S. House that year.

While 2020's elections won't stop Republican gerrymandering at the legislative level, they could lay the groundwork for doing so in just a few years. That's because four of the nine seats on Texas' all-Republican Supreme Court are up this November, and if Democrats flip at least a few of those seats, they could take over the court as soon as the 2022 or 2024 elections and curb gerrymandering, as courts have done elsewhere in recent years.

VERMONT

  • Governor: Republican
  • State Senate: Democratic (24 D/I, 6 R)
  • State House: Democratic (107 D/I, 43 R)

Democrats and their third-party allies hold the two-thirds supermajorities needed to override popular Republican Gov. Phil Scott's vetoes and gerrymander the legislature (Vermont only has a single statewide congressional district), but it's far from a given that they would even do so given the state's penchant for rejecting the sharpest sort of partisan politics common just about everywhere else. After 2010, the Democratic-dominated state government passed new maps with wide GOP support, so something similar could happen in after 2020 in the likely event Scott wins re-election.

VIRGINIA

  • Governor: Democratic (up in 2021)
  • State Senate: Democratic (21 D, 19 R; up in 2023)
  • State House: Democratic (55 D, 45 R; up in 2021)

In a groundbreaking move, the new Democratic majority in Virginia's legislature agreed to hold votes earlier this year on a GOP-backed reform to enact a bipartisan redistricting commission. The amendment was a compromise that passed with widespread Democratic support in the state Senate but almost unanimous Democratic opposition in the state House. While the measure is not without its own flaws, it should help ensure that Virginia districts that are by and large nonpartisan following the 2020 census if it passes. The amendment is likely to pass, but not without a fight by some Democratic-aligned groups.

These ballot measures will shape voting rights for years to come

One common refrain this year amid Trump's unprecedented assault on free and fair elections is that democracy itself is on the ballot. That's literally the case in many cities and states across the country, with voters set to decide on dozens of ballot measures that will determine who can vote and how elections will work for years to come.

Daily Kos Elections has compiled a spreadsheet that catalogs 24 different measures on a variety of topics related to elections, some placed on the ballot by voters and some by state lawmakers. Below we'll explore some of the most important measures and whether they could have a positive or negative impact on fair elections going forward. 2020 was poised to be another big year for initiatives to expand voting rights and fight largely Republican gerrymandering after reformers successfully passed measures to overcome hostile GOP legislatures in Michigan and elsewhere in 2018. However, after the pandemic hit, courts around the country issued rulings hostile to direct democracy by making it nearly impossible to collect the signatures needed to get measures onto the ballot. Nevertheless, a number states are still poised to vote on key issues affecting the workings of democracy this year.

Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform

Missouri, New Jersey, and Virginia are all voting on measures that affect redistricting. In Missouri, Republicans placed a misleading amendment on the ballot that would effectively gut a reform that voters overwhelmingly passed in 2018 to make legislative redistricting fairer, trying to trick voters into repealing the reform by attaching token ethics reforms.

In New Jersey, Democrats have put an amendment on the ballot to delay legislative redistricting until the 2023 elections if the release of census data is delayed. The move is intended to protect incumbents from having to run in new districts for an extra two years to the detriment of New Jersey's growing Asian and Latino populations, whose rightful share of representation would be delayed if the amendment passes.

In an extremely unusual move in Virginia, the state's Democratic legislature allowed an amendment to pass with GOP support that would see Democrats surrender their own power to gerrymander and instead create a bipartisan commission appointed half by legislators from both parties and the other half chosen by retired judges. This reform was a compromise with Republican legislators and includes some flaws, but on the whole it should lead to relatively nonpartisan districts for Congress and the state legislature after 2020 if it becomes law.

Electoral System Reform

Efforts to replace the existing electoral system with something that more faithfully implements voters' preferences are on the ballot in several jurisdictions. These measures take aim at the existing system of plurality-winner elections that can see a third candidate play "spoiler" and cost the runner-up a victory. They all aim to ensure majority rule, but not all may end up having a positive effect.

In Alaska and Massachusetts, voters could adopt variants of instant-runoff voting (also known as ranked-choice voting) in congressional and state elections. This system, which Maine adopted in 2016 and expanded in 2019, lets voters rank their preferences and sequentially eliminates the last-place finisher by reassigning their votes to each voter's subsequent preference until one candidate attains a majority. Such systems cut down on the spoiler problem and help to protect majority rule. Alaska's measure would use a variant where the top four finishers in an all-party primary would advance to an instant-runoff general election. (It would use a regular instant-runoff for the presidency.)

A more novel reform to plurality-winner elections is going before voters in St. Louis, Missouri. This approach would adopt a variation of so-called "approval voting," letting voters cast up to one vote for each candidate and having whichever two candidates receive the most votes in the first round advance to the general election. This system aims to avoid some of the complications of instant-runoff voting but is largely untested in real elections, unlike instant-runoff voting, which has a long history both domestically at the local level and abroad.

A Florida initiative that would implement a top two "primary" for state-level elections could have disastrous effects for partisan fairness and Black and Latino representation. This system is in use in California and Washington and has seen major parties get shut out of winnable general elections solely because their vote was split between too many candidates in the primary. It could also make it much harder for Black voters especially to elect their chosen candidates and is facing a lawsuit that could invalidate it for that reason.

Finally, Mississippi's GOP-led legislature, in the face of a lawsuit, has placed an amendment on the ballot to repeal part of its 1890 Jim Crow constitution that created an Electoral College-esque system for determining the winner in elections for governor and other statewide executive offices. This system has been further strained by GOP gerrymandering, such that it would be impossible for Democrats and the Black voters who support them to ever win statewide. This reform would require majority support to avoid a runoff, a method that is not ideal but is nevertheless fairer than the status quo.

Restrictions on the Ballot Initiative Process

Republicans across the country have gerrymandered their maps and passed widespread restrictions on voting, leaving direct democracy as a critical tool for fighting back against these efforts to entrench GOP minority rule. Republicans have responded by trying to restrict the initiative process to preserve their power and have advanced measures in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota that would make it harder for reformers to place new measures of their own on the ballot in the future.

Bans on Noncitizen Voting

Republicans in Alabama, Colorado, and Florida are supporting amendments that would rewrite their constitutions to emphasize that only citizens may vote. While these measures would have no effect on the status quo, they would prevent local governments from experimenting with letting legal permanent residents who lack citizenship still vote in local elections, something a handful of small localities in the U.S. and many European democracies already allow.

Efforts to Lower the Voting Age

Lowering the voting age to 16 is an idea that has quietly grown in popularity in recent years. A handful of small localities already allow the practice in local elections, and a majority of the House Democratic caucus voted in favor of doing so federally last year. A number of foreign democracies such as Austria and Brazil already allow 16-year-olds to vote, and San Francisco could become the first major city in America to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections. Just to the east, the city of Oakland could lower the voting age for school board elections, and all of California could join a growing number of states letting 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they'll turn 18 by the general election.

Other Measures

Puerto Rico will once again vote on whether to become a state, and while the measure is not legally binding, it could spur Congress to act on passing an admission bill if Democrats retake the Senate and eliminate the filibuster. Statehood would mean that more than 3 million American citizens would gain representation in the House and Senate. It would also modestly mitigate the upper chamber's bias against voters of color and potentially lessen its partisan bias toward the GOP, too.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would assign a state's votes in the Electoral College to the national popular vote winner if states with a majority of electoral votes sign on, has gained steam since Trump's election in 2016 and saw Colorado become the first swing state to join in 2019. However, Colorado Republicans have fought back by putting an initiative on the ballot to repeal the law joining the compact. The outcome of the vote could encourage Democrats in other swing states to follow Colorado's lead, or deter them.

While nearly every state constitution protects the right to vote in some form, Nevada could go even further by enshrining the right to vote in its constitution using modernized language to protect certain methods of voting access. California, meanwhile, could expand voting rights to tens of thousands of citizens on parole for a felony conviction, joining 18 other states that don't disenfranchise anyone not in prison.

Finally, Oregon is one of the last states that allows individuals to donate unlimited sums of money directly to candidates in state elections, but that may soon change. A state Supreme Court ruling earlier this year overturned a precedent that had barred limits on campaign contributions, and now Democrats have placed an amendment on the ballot to codify lawmakers' ability to regulate campaign donations and ensure that the existence of such limits and disclosure requirements isn't dependent upon the ever-changing composition of the courts.

Below you can find a table summarizing all 24 ballot measures we're tracking, and you can find a spreadsheet version of it here.

JURISDICTIONTITLESUBJECTIMPACT ON FAIR ELECTIONSDESCRIPTION
AlabamaAmendment 1Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
AlaskaMeasure 2Electoral system reformPositive or NeutralAdopts a top-four primary with instant-runoff general election; adds campaign finance disclosure requirements
ArkansasIssue 3Ballot initiative processNegativeTightens geographic distribution restrictions for ballot initiative signature requirements in order to make liberal-supported initiatives harder
ArkansasIssue 2Term limitsNeutralLoosens lifetime term limits for legislators
CaliforniaProposition 18Voting agePositiveLets 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the general election
CaliforniaProposition 17Felony disenfranchisementPositiveEliminates disenfranchisement of voters on parole for a felony conviction
ColoradoAmendment 76Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
ColoradoProposition 113Electoral CollegeNegativeReferendum to repeal law joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact for the Electoral College
FloridaAmendment 4Ballot initiative processNegativeRequires ballot initiatives to win (at least 60%) voter support in two consecutive general elections instead of one
FloridaAmendment 3Electoral system reformNegativeAdopts a top-two primary (aka two-round system) in state-level races
FloridaAmendment 1Noncitizen votingNegativeBans noncitizens from voting in local elections by requiring citizenship for voting
IowaConstitutional ConventionConstitutional conventionNeutralDecides whether to call a state constitutional convention
MassachusettsQuestion 2Electoral system reformPositiveAdopts instant-runoff voting (aka ranked-choice) in congressional, state, and countywide elections
MississippiMeasure 2Electoral system reformPositiveRepeals Jim Crow-era "electoral college" law in statewide elections and replaces it with provision for a separate runoff election if no candidate wins a majority
MissouriAmendment 3Legislative redistrictingNegativeEffectively repeals a voter-approved 2018 ballot measure that made legislative redistricting treat both parties more fairly
MissouriAmendment 1Term limitsNeutralSets a two-term limit for statewide executive offices below the governorship, which is already subject to that limit
NevadaQuestion 4Right to votePositiveGuarantees the right to vote via certain methods
New JerseyQuestion 3Legislative redistrictingNegativePostpones 2021 legislative redistricting until the 2023 election cycle if census data release is delayed to after Feb. 15, 2021
North DakotaMeasure 2Ballot initiative processNegativeRequires a ballot initiative to win voter support in two consecutive general elections instead of one if the legislature doesn't approve it
OregonMeasure 107Campaign financePositiveAllows the legislature to set campaign donation limits and disclosure requirements in state and local elections
VirginiaRedistricting Commission AmendmentRedistricting reformPositiveCreates a bipartisan commission to draw congressional and legislative districts
Oakland, CAMeasure QQVoting agePositiveLowers the voting age to 16 in school board election
San Francisco, CAProposition GVoting agePositiveLowers the voting age to 16 in local elections
St. Louis, MOProposition DElectoral system reformPositiveAdopts approval voting primary where the top-two finishers advance to the general election for local elections

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