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State Elections 2020

Voters in 44 states will choose more than 6,000 state legislators on Nov. 3, 2020. Click on the partisan control in legislatures and states, statewide ballot measures and election administration tabs below to see pre-election analysis.

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Partisan Control

  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Split
  • Nonpartisan

Click on the states for details about the partisan control.

Alabama

SENATE HOUSE
R: 27 R: 75
D: 8 D: 28
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 2

Alaska

SENATE HOUSE
R: 13 R: 22
D: 7 D: 14
I: 0 I: 3
V: 0 V: 1

American Samoa

SENATE
Nonpartisan: 18
HOUSE
Nonpartisan: 21

Arizona

SENATE HOUSE
R: 17 R: 31
D: 13 D: 29
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Arkansas

SENATE HOUSE
R: 26 R: 75
D: 9 D: 23
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 2

California

SENATE HOUSE
R: 11 R: 17
D: 29 D: 61
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 1

Colorado

SENATE HOUSE
R: 16 R: 24
D: 19 D: 41
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Connecticut

SENATE HOUSE
R: 14 R: 60
D: 22 D: 91
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Delaware

SENATE HOUSE
R: 9 R: 15
D: 12 D: 26
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Florida

SENATE HOUSE
R: 23 R: 73
D: 17 D: 46
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 1

Georgia

SENATE HOUSE
R: 35 R: 105
D: 21 D: 75
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Guam

Unicameral
D:  10
R: 5
 

Hawaii

SENATE HOUSE
R: 1 R: 5
D: 24 D: 46
I: 0 I: 0
V:  0 V:0

Idaho

SENATE HOUSE
R: 28 R: 56
D: 7 D: 14
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Illinois

SENATE HOUSE
R: 19 R: 44
D: 40 D: 73
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 1

Indiana

SENATE HOUSE
R: 40 R: 67
D: 10 D: 33
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Iowa

SENATE HOUSE
R: 32 R: 53
D: 18 D: 47
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Kansas

SENATE HOUSE
R: 29 R: 84
D: 11 D: 41
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Kentucky

SENATE HOUSE
R: 28 R: 62
D: 10 D: 38
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Louisiana

SENATE HOUSE
R: 27 R: 68
D: 12 D: 35
I: 0 I: 2
V: 0 V: 0

Maine

SENATE HOUSE
R: 14 R: 57
D: 21 D: 88
I: 0 I: 6
V: 0 V: 0

Maryland

SENATE HOUSE
R: 14 R: 42
D: 32 D: 99
I: 0 I: 0
V: 1 V: 0

Massachusetts

SENATE HOUSE
R: 6 R: 31
D: 34 D: 127
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 1

Michigan

SENATE HOUSE
R: 22 R: 58
D: 16 D: 51
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 1

Minnesota

SENATE HOUSE
R: 35 R: 59
D: 32 D: 75
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Mississippi

SENATE HOUSE
R: 36 R: 76
D: 16 D: 45
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 0

Missouri

SENATE HOUSE
R: 23 R: 116
D: 8 D: 74
I: 0 I: 0
V: 3 V: 0

Montana

SENATE HOUSE
R: 30 R: 57
D: 20 D: 43
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Northern Mariana Islands

SENATE
D: 0 R: 6
Other: 3
HOUSE
D: 0 R: 13
Other: 7

Nebraska

Unicameral
49
 
 

Nevada

SENATE HOUSE
R: 8 R: 13
D: 13 D: 29
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

New Hampshire

SENATE HOUSE
R: 10 R: 158
D: 14 D: 231
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 10

New York

SENATE HOUSE
R: 20 R: 42
D: 40 D: 103
I: 0 I: 1
V: 3 V: 4

New Jersey

SENATE HOUSE
R: 15 R 28
D: 25 D: 52
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

New Mexico

SENATE HOUSE
R: 16 R: 24
D: 26 D: 45
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 1

North Carolina

SENATE HOUSE
R: 28 R: 64
D: 21 D: 55
I: 0 I: 0
V: 1 V: 1

North Dakota

SENATE HOUSE
R: 37 R: 79
D: 10 D: 15
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Ohio

SENATE HOUSE
R: 24 R: 61
D: 9 D: 38
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Oklahoma

SENATE HOUSE
R: 39 R: 77
D: 9 D: 24
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Oregon

SENATE HOUSE
R: 12 R: 22
D: 18 D: 38
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Puerto Rico

SENATE HOUSE
NPP: 21 NPP: 34
PDP: 7 PDP: 16
Other: 2 Other: 1

Rhode Island

SENATE HOUSE
R: 5 R: 9
D: 33 D: 66
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

South Carolina

SENATE HOUSE
R: 27 R: 78
D: 19 D: 44
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 2

Pennsylvania

SENATE HOUSE
R: 28 R: 109
D: 21 D: 93
I: 1 I: 0
V: 0 V: 1

South Dakota

SENATE HOUSE
R: 30 R: 59
D: 5 D: 11
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Tennessee

SENATE HOUSE
R: 28 R: 73
D: 5 D: 26
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Texas

SENATE HOUSE
R: 19 R: 84
D: 11 D: 66
I: 0 I: 0
V: 1 V: 0

Utah

SENATE HOUSE
R: 23 R: 59
D: 6 D: 16
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Vermont

SENATE HOUSE
R: 6 R: 44
D: 22 D: 94
I: 2 I: 12
V: 0 V: 0

Virginia

SENATE HOUSE
R: 19 R: 45
D: 21 D: 55
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

Virgin Island

Unicameral
R: 0
D: 11
Other: 4

District of Columbia

Unicameral
D: 12
R: 0
Other: 1

Washington

SENATE HOUSE
R: 20 R: 41
D: 29 D: 57
I: 0 I: 0
V: 0 V: 0

West Virgina

SENATE HOUSE
R: 20 R: 58
D: 14 D: 41
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 0

Wisconsin

SENATE HOUSE
R: 18 R: 63
D: 13 D: 35
I: 0 I: 0
V: 2 V: 1

Wyoming

SENATE HOUSE
R: 27 R: 50
D: 3 D: 9
I: 0 I: 1
V: 0 V: 0
Longer descriptiont than title AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI

Overview

blogThe elections to determine control of state governments will have a tremendous impact on issues Americans care about. From how their children are cared for and educated to public safety, policing, guns, abortion, infrastructure, access to health care, taxes, economic development …  the list seems endless. Yet every four years, including 2020, is a “presidential election year,” and the race for the White House gobbles up most of the attention from the media as well as American voters. Who occupies the White House, though, is only one office to be decided on Nov. 3.

State elections arguably matter more because the policies that most affect the lives of Americans are determined in state capitols. This year, 5,876 regularly scheduled legislative races (plus several dozen special elections) are on the ballot in 44 states.

These legislative races are critical for two major reasons. First, when aggregated, they determine whether Republicans or Democrats control each state’s policy agenda. Second, they determine who holds the reins for next year’s redistricting processes.

First things first: political control.

Political Control: Legislative Chambers

Going into the election, of the nation’s 7,383 legislators, 3820 (52%) are Republicans; 3,436 (47%) are Democrats, 82 (including all 49 Senators in Nebraska) are either independents or from another party, and 45 seats are vacant. Democrats have not held a majority of seats in the nation’s legislatures since the 2010 election, when Republicans took the lead. 

The number of individual legislators representing each party in the national aggregate doesn’t matter nearly as much as the number of chambers held. That’s because the majority party sets the agenda, chamber by chamber and state by state. On that metric, of the 98 chambers that have partisan control, 59 are held by Republicans (that’s 60%) and 39 by Democrats (40%).

Nebraska is unicameral, a one-chamber legislature, and elected on a nonpartisan basis. The “partisan” chambers equal 98 in the 50 states. It’s also important to note that the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have races to control their legislatures as well. Puerto Rico in particular will be very competitive.

That 59-39 chamber count is a big advantage for Republicans. The GOP has been ahead in the chamber count since 2010, a blowout year when 13 chambers shifted from Democratic control to Republican. The exact numbers of chambers held by each party has fluctuated since. The 2016 election was the high-water mark for Republican chamber control when they had the majority in a whopping 66 chambers.

Republicans have a strong incumbency advantage going into November. Democrats need to net nine chambers to reach parity, 10 to pass Republicans in chamber control. Pre-election, it’s not easy to identify chambers that might flip from Democratic to Republican. The GOP will primarily be playing defense. Democrats have opportunities for gains, yet it will be a heavy (though not impossible) lift for Democrats to overtake Republicans, particularly given this seems to be a year of national uncertainty. On average, 12 chambers change party in each general election cycle.

Political Control: Legislatures (Both Chambers Combined)

In 49 states it takes two chambers to tango—or at least to pass a law. Unified party control of both chambers is the holy grail from a partisan perspective.

Now—preelection—only the Minnesota Legislature is split, with the Senate held by Republicans and the House by Democrats. This is the first time since 1914 that all but one legislature is controlled by a single party. Republicans of course hold the lion’s share of legislative control, with 29 states, or 59%, and Democrats holding 19 states, or 38%.

The number of chamber flips will determine the number of divided legislatures when 2021 legislative sessions begin. In the meantime, we can wonder whether the shift toward only one split legislature after the 2018 election was a statistical anomaly—or whether it indicates increasing polarization.

State Political Control: Adding in the Governors

That question of whether states are gravitating toward single-party control may best be answered by taking governors into account.

Factoring governors in, far more state governments are divided than legislatures. The GOP controls all three power positions in 21 states; Democrats control 15 states; and 13 have one power position held by a different party than the other two.

And yet, nearly three-fourths of states have governors and legislatures of the same party, a sign that ticket-splitting may be waning. In 2012 splits were as low as 12, and throughout the 2010s, it has been below 20. On the other hand, in the 2000s, there were always more than 20 states with divided governments.

Only 11 states have an election for governor in 2020, and they are not likely to produce much change. Only two are open seats (Montana and Utah).  According to the venerable Cook Political Report, only Montana is considered a toss-up. At this point, all incumbents are favored to win.

That means any change in state control is likely to come from changes in legislative control than in who occupies the governors’ mansions. The political battle for states comes down to the thousands of legislative races.

Redistricting

When 2020 census data lands in state capitols next year it kicks off a year or more of redistricting. In most states, legislatures are in charge of the traditional seat of redistricting authority.

In most states where legislatures redraw maps, the majority party controls the process. Parties are likely to look for political advantage as they work through map iterations and toward final districts that will stay in place for the next decade. They also must comply with strict laws preventing racial discrimination and requiring districts to be even in population or risk having courts overturn their work.

Most redistricters will be elected in 2020. In the states where the legislature does redistricting and the governor has veto power, this year we’ll see elected:

  • All senators in 14 states.
  • Roughly half the senators in 23 states.
  • All state representatives in 37 states.
  • Half the state representatives in North Dakota.
  • Governors in eight states.

In other words, 2020 is the big year for electing the people who will set the geography for the next decade’s elections.

Questions? Contact Ben Williams

For more on partisan control:

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Ballot Measures

  • States with ballot measures
  • N/A

Click on the colored states to learn about the ballot measures pending in this particular state.

Longer descriptiont than title AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TX TN UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI

Alabama

State flag Amendment 1: Citizenship Requirement for Voting
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 2: Judicial System Restructuring Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 3: Judicial Vacancies Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 4: Authority to Recompile the State Constitutions
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 5: "Stand Your Ground" Rights in Franklin County Churches
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 6: "Stand Your Ground" Rights in Lauderdale County Churches
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Alaska

State flag Ballot Measure 1: North Slope Oil Production Taxes
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Ballot Measure 2: Ranked Choice Voting and Campaign Finances Disclosures
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Arizona

State flag Proposition 207: Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 208: Tax on Incomes Exceeding $250,000 for Teacher Salaries and Schools Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Arkansas

State flag Issue 1: Sales Tax Continuation for Highway System
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Issue 2: Term Limits Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Issue 3: Amendment to the Process for the Submission, Challenge, and Approval of Proposed Initiated Acts, Constitutional Amendments, and Referenda
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Issue 6: Practice of Optometry Referendum*
Type: Popular Referendum | Change: Statutory
*This measure will appear on the ballot, but the results will not be counted.

California

State flag Proposition 14: Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 15: Schools and Local Communities Funding Act
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 17: Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 18: Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 19: Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 20: Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 21: The Rental Affordability Act
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 22: App-Based Drivers Regulations Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 23: Regulation of Kidney Dialysis
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 24: Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 25: Overturn a 2018 Law that Replaced Money Bail System with a System Based on Public Safety Risk
Type: Popular Referendum | Change: Statutory

Colorado

State flag Amendment 76: Citizenship Qualification of Electors
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 77: Local Voter Approval of Gaming Limits in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional and Statutory

Amendment B: Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment C: Charitable Bingo and Raffles Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Proposition 113: National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Referendum
Type: Popular Referendum | Change: Statutory

Proposition 114: Restoration of Grey Wolves
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 115: Prohibition of Late-Term Abortions
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 117: Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Proposition EE: Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

District of Columbia

State flag Initiative 81: Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Measure
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Other

Florida

State flag Amendment 1: Citizenship Requirement to Vote
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 2: Raising Florida's Minimum Wage
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 3: All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 4: Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 5: Limitation on Homestead Exemption
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Georgia

State flag Amendment 1: Dedicating Tax and Fee Revenue Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 2: Allow Residents to Seek Declaratory Relief from Certain Laws Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

HB 344: Tax Exemption for Certain Charities Measure
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Idaho

State flagRequire 35 Legislative Districts Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Illinois

State flagConstitutional Amendment No. 1: Limitations on Income Tax
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Iowa

State flag State Question 1: Constitutional Convention Question
Type: Automatic Referral | Change: Other

Kentucky

State flagMarsy's Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Terms of Judicial Offices Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Louisiana

State flagAmendment 1: No Right to Abortion
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 2: Oil and Gas Wells Valuation Methodology
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 3: Use of Budget Stabilization Fund for Declared Disasters Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 4: State Expenditure Limit Calculation
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 5: Payments in Lieu of Property Taxes Option Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 6: Homestead Exemption Special Assessment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 7: Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Maryland

State flagQuestion 1: Legislative Authority over State Budget Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Question 2: Sports Betting Expansion Measure
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Massachusetts

State flagQuestion 1: Right to Repair" Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Question 2: Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Michigan

State flagSJR G: Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

SJR O: State and Local Park Funds
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Mississippi

Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A: Medical Marijuana Amendment
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

HCR 47: Remove Electoral Vote Requirement and Establish Runoffs for Gubernatorial and State Office Elections
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

HB 1796: State Flag Referendum
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Missouri

State flagAmendment 1: State Executive Term Limits
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 3: Missouri Redistricting Process and Criteria, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Montana

State flagBallot Issue #11: Allow for a Legal Age for Marijuana Amendment
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Ballot Issue #14: Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

C-46: Initiative Petition Signatures in Legislative Districts
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

C-47: Initiative Petition Signatures in Representative Districts
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

LR-130: Concealed Carry Laws
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Nebraska

State flag Amendment 1: Elimination of Slavery as a Punishment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment 2: Tax-Increment Financing
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Initiative 428: Payday Lender Interest Rate Cap Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Initiative 429: Authorize Laws for Gambling at Racetracks
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Initiative 430: Authorizing Gambling at Racetracks
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Initiative 431: Tax on Gambling at Racetracks
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Nevada

State flagQuestion 1: Higher Education Reform, Accountability, and Oversight
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Question 2: Recognition of Marriage Regardless of Gender
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Question 3: State Board of Pardons Commissioners
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Question 4: Constitutional Rights of Voters
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Question 6: Renewable Energy Promotion Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

New Jersey

State flagPublic Question 1: Marijuana Legalization
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Public Question 2: Property Tax Deduction and Exemption for Peacetime Veterans
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Public Question 3: Delayed State Legislative Redistricting Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

New Mexico

State flagElections and Terms of Non-Statewide Officeholders Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Public Regulation Commission
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Public Education Bond Issue
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Other

Public Libraries Bond Issue
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Other

Senior Citizens Facilities Bond Issue
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Other

North Dakota

State flagBoard of Higher Education
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Initiated Constitutional Amendments
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Oklahoma

State flagQuestion 805: Criminal History in Sentencing and Sentence Modification Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional

Question 814: Decrease Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Deposits and Fund Medicaid Program Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Oregon

State flagMeasure 107: Campaign Financing
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Measure 108: Cigarette Tax Increase
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Measure 109: Psilocybin Program Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Measure 110: Drug Addiction Treatment Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Rhode Island

State flagName Change Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

South Dakota

State flagConstitutional Amendment A: Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Constitutional


Constitutional Amendment B: Local Sports Betting
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional


Initiated Measure 26: Medical Marijuana Initiative
Type: Citizen Initiative | Change: Statutory

Utah

State flagAmendment A: Gender Neutral Terminology Update
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment B: Legislator Qualifications
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment C: Slavery and Involuntary Servitude Prohibition
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment D: Municipal Water Rights and Water Supply
Type: Legislative Referral |Change: Constitutional

Amendment E: Right to Hunt and Fish
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment F: Legislative Session Start Date Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Amendment G: Use Income and Property Tax Revenue to Support Children and Individuals with Disabilities Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Virginia

State flagRedistricting Commission Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Motor Vehicle Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Washington

State flagReferendum 90: Sex Education in Public Schools Measure
Type: Popular Referendum | Change: Statutory

SJR 8212: Authorize Fund Investment of Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Account Amendment
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Advisory Vote 32: Advisory Vote on SB 5323
Type: Advisory | Change: N/A

Advisory Vote 33: Advisory Vote on SB 5628​​​
Type: Advisory | Change: N/A

Advisory Vote 34: Advisory Vote on SB 6492
Type: Advisory | Change: N/A

Advisory Vote 35: Advisory Vote on SB 6690
Type: Advisory | Change: N/A

Wyoming

State flagAmendment A: Debt Limit for Municipal Sewer Projects
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Constitutional

Puerto Rico

State flagPuerto Rico Statehood
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory

Virgin Islands

State flagConstitutional Convention Question
Type: Legislative Referral | Change: Statutory


General Election 2020 Ballot Measures

blogAs of Sept. 28, voters across the country will weigh in on at least 124 ballot measures on Election Day. And voters already decided eight ballot measures during the primaries—most notably, Missourians and Oklahomans both opted to expand Medicaid.

Measures get on the ballot in one of two ways: through a citizen initiative—where citizens have an idea for a statutory or constitutional change and gather signatures to place it on the ballot—or through a referral to the ballot from the legislature.

Thirty-eight of the Election Day measures are citizen initiatives. That number represents a significant decrease from 60 citizen initiatives in 2018 and 72 in 2016—due in large part to COVID-19 and public safety measures that made in-person signature-gathering nearly impossible. For context, 2020 will be the first presidential election year since 1928 where voters in Washington state won’t see a single citizen initiative on their November ballots. The rest of the measures are referred to the ballot by the legislature.

Seventy-nine of the measures would make constitutional changes. Thirty-four propose statutory changes (one Colorado measure would actually make both constitutional and statutory changes), and the other 12 include four popular referenda, four non-binding advisory questions, three bond issues and Iowa’s automatic decennial question asking if voters want to hold a constitutional convention (per the Hawkeye State’s constitution).

Taxes, criminal justice, and marijuana and other drugs remain popular topics for ballot measures, and this year, health and elections are popular, too—perhaps appropriate in a year with a pandemic and a presidential election.

Criminal Justice

In California, a referendum seeks to repeal SB 10, which would replace cash bail with pretrial risk assessment later this year. Voters will also see parole reform and parolee voting rights on the ballot in the Golden State. Kentuckians may experience déjà vu as they weigh in on Marsy’s law—a measure that provides specific constitutional rights for crime victims and has been passed by 12 states—for the second time; voters in the Bluegrass State passed the measure in 2018, but it was overturned due to issues with the ballot language. Both Nebraska and Utah will decide whether slavery as a punishment remains in their constitutions.

Elections

Three states—Alabama, Colorado and Florida—have measures seeking to clarify their constitutions so that “only a citizen” can vote. Citizen initiatives in Alaska and Massachusetts seek to implement ranked-choice voting. Alaska’s measure provides for open primaries, as well, which is also on the ballot via citizen initiative in Florida. In California, voters will decide whether 17-year-olds can vote in primaries, and Coloradans will weigh in on an effort to overturn the legislature’s decision to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Health

Missouri and Oklahoma passed Medicaid expansions during the primaries, and this November, Oklahomans will also consider whether to appropriate funds from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust to secure matching federal dollars for the state’s Medicaid program. In Colorado and Oregon, voters will consider legislatively referred measures proposing cigarette taxes to fund health and other programs. Coloradans will also weigh in on a citizen initiative to establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program. Abortion restrictions are on the ballot in Colorado and Louisiana. And in Washington, voters will consider a referendum on SB 5395, which requires schools to provide comprehensive sex education for all students. An optometry-related referendum in Arkansas will appear on the ballot, but a recent state supreme court decision means the results will not be counted.

Marijuana and Other Drugs

Medical marijuana is under consideration in Mississippi and South Dakota. Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Voters in Oregon will decide whether to legalize psilocybin mushrooms. If the measure passes, Oregon will become the first state to legalize the hallucinogenic fungus. A citizen initiative in Washington, D.C., seeks to decriminalize “entheogenic plants and fungi,” defined as plants and fungi that contain ibogaine, dimethyltryptamine, mescaline, psilocybin or psilocyn.

Taxes

The Colorado legislature referred a constitutional amendment that seeks to repeal the Gallagher Amendment, which set property rates in the state constitution. If passed, the measure would freeze current residential and nonresidential property tax rates and allow the state to adjust property tax assessments under state law. Colorado voters will also consider a citizen initiative requiring voters to approve the creation of certain fee-based state enterprises that are exempt from the Centennial State’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. A California citizen initiative aims to tax commercial and industrial properties based on their market—rather than purchase—value, with the additional revenue going to local governments, schools and community colleges. Arkansans will decide whether to continue a 0.5% sales tax that funds transportation, and voters in New Jersey and Virginia will weigh in on tax deductions and exemptions for veterans. A proposal to increase taxes on oil and gas production is on the ballot in Alaska. Arizonans will consider a citizen-initiated tax on incomes over $250,000 to increase teacher salaries and school funding, while Coloradans will consider an income tax reduction. An amendment in Illinois would repeal the state’s flat-rate personal income tax, enabling the legislature to enact a graduated income tax.

Other Highlights
  • After deciding to remove the confederate battle emblem form the state’s flag, Mississippi will ask voters to approve or reject a new state flag design.
  • Legislatively referred measures in Arkansas and Missouri seek to amend each state’s term limits.
  • A citizen initiative aiming to reintroduce grey wolves will be on the ballot in Colorado. This measure is the first time voters in any state will have a say in bringing back an endangered species.
  • Florida voters will consider a citizen initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15. Similar measures in the last five years have all passed.
  • Statehood is on the ballot in Puerto Rico—the sixth ballot mesure on this issue since 1967.
  • Redistricting is on the ballot in Idaho, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia—all as legislatively referred measures.
  • In California, voters will decide whether app-based transportation and delivery drivers, such as those who drive for Uber or Lyft, are independent contractors. If passed, the measure would override AB 5, which assumes workers are employees—not independent contractors—unless meeting certain criteria.
  • Various forms of gambling are also up for a vote. Coloradans will determine whether certain cities may expand allowed gaming types, as well as changes to charitable bingo and raffles. Marylanders and South Dakotans will consider authorizing sports betting. Nebraskans will also vote on three gambling-related measures.

You can view all of the ballot measures from the 50 states and Washington, D.C., at the NCSL Ballot Measure Database.

Questions? Contact Mandy Zoch

For more on ballot measures:

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Election Administration

  •  Ballots must be received before Election Day
  • Ballots must be received by Election Day
  • Postmarked ballots accepted after Election Day

Click on the colored states to learn about ballot deadlines and processioing date.

Alabama

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Noon on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Noon on Election Day

Alaska

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 10 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: 7 days before Election Day

Arizona

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 14 days before Election Day

Arkansas

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7:30pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 7 days before Election Day

California

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: 29 days before Election Day

Colorado

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Connecticut

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 14 days before Election Day

Delaware

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Friday before Election Day

District of Columbia

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Not notshowingified

Florida

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 22 days before Election Day

Georgia

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Hawaii

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Idaho

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 8pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Illinois

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 14 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Indiana

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Iowa

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Monday after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: The day before Election Day

Kansas

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Prior to Election Day, timing not notshowingified

Kentucky

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 8am on Election Day

Louisiana

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 4:30pm the day before Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: The day before Election Day if the parish has more than 1000 absentee ballots, or on Election Day if less than 1000 absentee ballots

Maine

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 7 days before Election Day

Maryland

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 10 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Oct. 1, 2020

Massachusetts

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Michigan

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

Minnesota

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Processing upon receipt and envelopes opened seven days before Election Day.

Mississippi

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 5 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

Missouri

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 5 days before Election Day

Montana

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Signature verification upon receipt, envelopes opened three days before Election Day.

Nebraska

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Second Friday before Election Day

Nevada

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

New Hampshire

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 5pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Oct. 29, 2020

New Jersey

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 6 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

New Mexico

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: If more than 10,000 absentee ballots are sent in a county, they may be opened and inserted into an electronic voting machine two weeks before Election Day. If fewer than 10,000 absentee ballots are sent, processing may begin four days before the election.

New York

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7 days after Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

North Carolina

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: 5th Tuesday before Election Day

North Dakota

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Before the canvass period begins

When ballot processing can begin: Day before Election Day

Ohio

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Ten days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Not notshowingified

Oklahoma

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 10am on the Thursday before Election Day

Oregon

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 8pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 7 days before Election Day

Pennsylvania

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: 7am on Election Day

Rhode Island

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 9pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: 14 days before Election Day

South Carolina

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Nov. 1, 2020

South Dakota

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Processing may begin when sealed absentee ballots are delivered to precincts with the election supplies.

Tennessee

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Texas

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Day after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

Utah

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 7 to 14 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Not notshowingified

Vermont

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: Day before Election Day

Virginia

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 3 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: Before Election Day as needed

Washington

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Not notshowingified

When ballot processing can begin: Upon receipt

West Virginia

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 5 days after Election Day for postmarked ballots

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

Wisconsin

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: 8pm on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

Wyoming

Absentee/Mail ballot receipt deadline: Close of polls on Election Day

When ballot processing can begin: On Election Day

Absentee/Mail Ballot Receipt Deadlines AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TX TN UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI

blogThe country is experiencing a year unlike any in many ways, including how our elections are run. Largely because of COVID-19, more attention than ever is focused on election administration, from the big details on how to request and return ballots to small details on how ballots are processed by election officials. In the primaries, those small details sometimes became front-page news when absentee/mail voting rose to levels far beyond previous elections.

For some, it is a surprise to learn that elections are run according to state law, so the same laws do not apply to all states. In general, changes to election administration in 2020 have focused on: requesting ballots, expanding eligibility, mailing ballot applications and mailing out ballots to all voters.

Many states initially responded to the coronavirus by delaying primary elections, in some cases doing so twice. With the extra time, states focused on how to run elections during a pandemic, with both in-person options and more access to absentee/mail voting in most states.

Eligibility for Absentee/Mail Ballots
At the beginning of 2020, 16 states required an excuse to vote by absentee ballot. During the primaries, 12 of those states expanded eligibility for absentee voting to allow most or all voters that option. For November, eight states so far have expanded absentee eligibility, and others may well do so by legislation or executive action.

How to Request an Absentee/Mail Ballot
Prior to COVID, a handful of states had online portals where voters were able to request their absentee ballot, rather than having to apply in person or mail an application. Now at least 16 states make this option available, and more plan to have an online portal live for November.

Sending Absentee Ballot Applications to Voters
For the first time ever, states have begun sending absentee ballot applications to all voters. This encourages voters to use the absentee process and removes the need for a voter to request an absentee application. Sixteen states opted to send out applications in the primaries, and so far, eight states have indicated their intention to do so for November.

Sending Ballots to All Voters
At the beginning of 2020, five states sent ballots—not ballot applications—to all voters; this is sometimes referred to as “universal mail voting,” “voting at home” or “vote by mail.” In the past eight months, four more states—California, Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont­—have opted to do so for the 2020 general election. Montana will also allow counties the option of sending out ballots in November.

The changes undertaken this year have created a dramatically altered election landscape going into November. One consequence of an increased volume of absentee/mail voting? We now have an “election window” or “election month” for voting—and races are less likely to be called quickly. This is partly due to longer processing times associated with absentee/mail ballots, especially in states that have not experienced a comparable volume of mail ballots prior to 2020. No matter how a ballot is cast—in person during early voting or on Election Day, or by an absentee/mail ballot—the ballot is equally legitimate. States are doing whatever is necessary to make sure every vote is counted.

Questions? Contact Wendy Underhill

For more on key election administration issues: