Incumbency Advantage? Meet the Incumbents and their Challengers in Three Major East Coast Mayoral Races this Year – Part III Boston


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As we have seen in the last blog posts, there are many important mayoral races happening this year. Issues such as police-community relations, education, and affordable housing are being discussed at the local level in preparation for these fall elections. Today we are looking at an incumbent mayor up for reelection in Boston against a city councilman and a dissatisfied citizen. In anticipation of the September primaries here is the final part of our preview:

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Incumbency Advantage? Meet the Incumbents and their Challengers in Three Major East Coast Mayoral Races this Year – Part II Buffalo


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Last week we looked at a mayoral race coming up in Rochester, but it is not the only city electing a mayor this year. With the same common themes of police-community relations, education, and affordable housing, an incumbent is seeking reelection in Buffalo. Today we will look there at a race including a candidate responding to legal issues and a retired man. In anticipation of the September primaries here is part II of our preview:

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Incumbency Advantage? Meet the Incumbents and their Challengers in Major East Coast Mayoral Races this Year – Part I Rochester


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Though 2017 is a slow year for nationwide elections, the first Tuesday in November will feature mayoral races throughout the country. Over the next week, we will dive into three such races taking place on the East Coast this fall.

Common themes include police-community relations, education, and affordable housing. Each race has an incumbent seeking reelection. Today we will look at Rochester, a race including a candidate responding to legal issues, a game store owner, and a journalist. In anticipation of the September primaries here is our preview: (more…)

How to Vote: Detroit Municipal Elections


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Detroit City Hall, Photo Credit: OldCityPics
Yesterday, we previewed the Detroit Mayoral election. Eight candidates are running to secure one of two spots in the November 8th general election, and the nonpartisan primary election is coming up this Tuesday.The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election. Detroit will also hold primaries for City Clerk and City Council.

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Back From Bankruptcy and Better than Ever? The Detroit Mayoral Race


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Picture Credit: Positively Detroit

It’s time to elect a new Mayor and City Council in Detroit, one of the largest cities hosting key municipal elections during the 2017 off-year. The Motor City elected their previous city council and mayor shortly after Kevyn Orr was appointed emergency manager during the city’s bankruptcy proceedings in 2013. That will all change next week, when Detroit will hold its first municipal elections (primaries, then general, of course) since Orr’s tenure ended following the city’s bankruptcy filing.

The election is widely seen as a referendum on Detroit’s progress since their debt restructuring. Incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan holds a significant advantage in the race. A poll out this week, surveying likely voters, has him beating out the next closest candidate, Coleman Young II, by 34 points (64 to 30%), with most of those surveyed also agreeing that Detroit has benefited “somewhat” (52%) or “a lot” (14%) in the previous four years. (more…)

Fast and Curious: Ranked Choice Voting Picks Up Steam


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Photo Credits: Pete Vankevich

In the 2016 general election, voters in the state of Maine approved a ballot measure mandating use of Ranked Choice Voting beginning January 1st, 2018 for certain federal and state officers.  Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows you to rank candidates; if your first choice doesn’t win, your second choice might.  The Maine Supreme Court, early this year, released a non-binding advisory opinion stating that RCV is unconstitutional after interpreting the state constitution to mean that a plurality of votes (the most votes) is enough to win an election to office. The future is uncertain as lawmakers in Maine have struggled to decide on the status of RCV in the state.

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The Puerto Rican Approach to Democracy: Partying


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Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Where do voters in the U.S. turnout the most? Maybe Iowa or New Hampshire, states that hold the nation’s first caucus and primary every election season? Or perhaps Washington D.C., the nation’s capital?

The answer, surprisingly, is Puerto Rico – a US territory that only sends a nonvoting member to Congress and has no electoral college representation. Turnout on the island consistently exceeds 80 percent. Only four other countries in the Western hemisphere maintain higher turnout rates, and all have mandatory voting laws. (more…)

Ballot Measures 2017: Part I


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Image: Bolder Advocacy

This year, 19 statewide ballot measures will appear on the ballot in 7 states. As Congress debates a new health care bill, which we’ve all heard about in the news, new laws have passed every week that we haven’t heard about, and on important issues including environmental protections and ethics legislation. These very same debates will be put in front of voters this fall. Here’s a look at four statewide ballot measures up for election this fall: (more…)

Redistricting Explainer: Everything you need to know about gerrymandering and the case before the Supreme Court


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Congressional Districts, Clockwise from top left: NC 12, FL 5, PA 7, TX 33, NC 1, MD 3. Image: NBC News  

For the first time in over a decade, the Supreme Court will consider whether partisan gerrymandering is constitutional. The court will hear an appeal of a District Court case that struck down Wisconsin’s State Assembly map as illegally gerrymandered last year.

Judge Kenneth Ripple, writing for the majority, noted that the map deliberately made it “more difficult for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats.” The Supreme Court’s choice to uphold or overrule the District Court’s decision could have a wide-ranging impact on redistricting across the country.

What is gerrymandering and how is it done? (more…)