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State Elections 2020

Voters in 44 states chose nearly 6,000 state legislators on Nov. 3, although votes are still being counted. Click on the partisan control, statewide ballot measures and election administration tabs below for postelection analysis.

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Postelection Partisan Legislative Control

Map is being updated as results are confirmed.

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Preelection 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

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The 2020 votes are (mostly) tallied, and the topline is that not much changed in terms of control of legislatures or states.

With 5,876 regularly scheduled legislative races in 44 states, the big surprise is that only two chambers—the New Hampshire House and Senate—changed hands. The GOP won both. New Hampshire is perhaps the nation’s swingiest state, with one or both chambers flipping in six of the last eight elections.

On average, 12 chambers change party in each general election cycle. This time? It’s four—including 2019’s shift for the Virginia House and Senate (from R to D) and this year’s New Hampshire news. That means over the two-year cycle, the parties came to a draw. 

A draft of our partisan composition table can be found here. Please note that this draft is based on preliminary results and is subject to change. 

Partisan Control: Legislative Chambers

Going into the election, of the nation’s 7,383 legislators, 3,820 (52%) were Republicans; 3,436 (47%) were Democrats, 82 (including all 49 senators in Nebraska) were either independents or from another party, and 45 seats were vacant. Democrats have not held a majority of seats in the nation’s legislatures since the 2010 election, when Republicans took the lead. While NCSL does not have an exact count of elected legislators, it appears that Republicans increased their numbers on net nationwide. 

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, 61 are held by Republicans, and 37 by Democrats.

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 held races to control their legislatures as well.

The GOP has been ahead in the chamber count since 2010, a blowout year when 24 chambers shifted from Democratic to Republican control. The 2016 election was the high-water mark for Republican chamber control when the party held the majority in a whopping 66 chambers.

Partisan Control: Legislatures (Both Chambers Combined)

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

Both preelection and postelection, the Minnesota Legislature is the only split in the nation, with the Senate held by Republicans and the House by Democrats. When the two chambers parted ways in 2018, it was the first time since 1914 that all but one legislature was controlled by a single party. Republicans, of course, hold the lion’s share of legislative control, with 29 states and Democrats holding 18 states.

State Partisan Control: Adding in the Governors

The 2020 election saw only 11 governor races, and they, like legislatures this year, weren’t a major change agent. All incumbents won, and in the two open seats, Montana and Utah, a win by the Republican party wasn’t a surprise.  

Factoring governors in, far more state governments are divided than legislatures. The GOP gained control of all three power positions in two states this year: New Hampshire and Montana, where the new Republican governor replaced the outgoing Democratic governor.  That gives the GOP 23 states, compared to the Democrats’ control of 15 states. In 11 states, one power position is held by a different party than the other two. Eleven is the lowest split government control since 1952. In the 2000s, the number of splits was always 20 or higher.

In total, three-fourths of states have governors and legislatures of the same party, a sign that ticket-splitting may be waning nationwide.

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 the traditional seat of redistricting authority.

When legislatures redraw maps, the majority party controls the process, and in most states, the governor has veto power. Because redistricting is such a coveted responsibility, both parties cared more than ever about legislative outcomes this year. But—as said before—little changed and that means Republicans are in the catbird seat.

Where they can, both 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; it’s just harder for the minority party to have its interests considered when the majority party controls all the seats at the redistricting table. And yet, all states must comply with strict laws preventing racial discrimination and requiring districts to be even in population or risk having courts overturn their work.

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

blog

As of Nov. 11, voters across the country approved at least 87 of 124 ballot measures on Election Day. Earlier in the year, voters decided eight additional 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 general election measures were citizen initiatives, 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. Voters passed at least 25 of the citizen initiatives, and that number will likely inch upward as the counts are finalized. The rest of the measures were referred to the ballot by the legislature, and 60 have passed.

Seventy-nine of the measures sought to make constitutional changes. Thirty-four proposed statutory changes (one approved Colorado measure actually makes 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—to which they said “no thank you.”

Marijuana and Other Drugs

The night’s biggest trend? Every marijuana and drug measure passed. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, while voters in Mississippi and South Dakota approved medical marijuana programs. Washington, D.C., voters decriminalized entheogenic plants and fungi, including psilocybin. Oregonians decriminalized small amounts of certain controlled substances, such as heroin and cocaine, and the Beaver State also legalized psilocybin—becoming the first state ever to do so.

Health

Health topics—including medical marijuana—were big on ballots this year. Voters decided to approve taxes on tobacco and vapor products in Colorado and Oregon. Coloradans also approved a citizen initiative establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program—the first state in the nation to do so through a ballot measure. Washington passed Referendum 90, which upheld the legislature’s bill requiring public schools to provide comprehensive sex education for all students. Californians rejected a citizen initiative to establish certain requirements for kidney dialysis clinics. And a ballot measure staple, abortion, split with voters. Louisianans passed abortion restrictions, while Coloradans rejected them.

Elections

Measures requiring that only a citizen can vote passed in Alabama, Colorado and Florida. Federal law already stipulates that voters must be citizens, so these measures likely won’t have any major effects—except in Colorado. There, the change may mean that 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election will no longer be able to cast ballots in the state’s primaries. Other election reforms have fared less well. Floridians rejected a citizen initiative that would have established a top-two primary and open primary system. Ranked-choice voting failed in Massachusetts and has yet to be decided in Alaska. California voters rejected a legislative referral that would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in primaries, though voters in the Golden State did opt for felon voting rights reform by passing Proposition 17, which automatically restores voting rights after incarceration. And Coloradans supported the legislature’s decision to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Redistricting

With redistricting right around the corner, measures to alter the process passed in Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia. In Missouri, voters reversed their 2018 decision to use a state demographer as the primary map drawer. Old Dominion voters adopted a redistricting commission, and that change means that the majority of states will now have a commission of some kind, though some are merely advisory, or only come into being if the legislature fails to pass maps.

Civil and Criminal Justice

California voters rejected stricter parole and sentencing policies and stopped the legislature’s efforts to replace cash bail with pretrial risk assessments. Kentucky passed Marsy’s Law, the crime victims’ bill of rights. Both Nebraska and Utah decided to remove language allowing slavery as a punishment from their constitutions. In Michigan, voters passed a legislatively referred measure requiring a search warrant to access a person’s electronic data. Oklahoma voters declined a measure that would have prohibited a person’s past nonviolent felonies from being considered when determining a new felony sentence.

Taxes

Taxes, another hot topic, broke in both directions—with voters in some states opting for higher taxes and others choosing tax deductions. A citizen initiative to reduce the state’s income tax passed in Colorado, while an initiative to increase income taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year passed in Arizona. The legislative effort in Illinois to remove the state’s flat income tax rate failed. Coloradans decided to repeal the Gallagher amendment, which set property tax assessment rates in the state constitution. Centennial State voters also weighed in on a citizen initiative requiring voters to approve the creation of certain fee-based state enterprises that are exempt from the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights—results are close, though it looks likely to pass. In California, Proposition 15—which would tax commercial and industrial properties based on their market value, rather than purchase price—failed. Arkansans approved the continuation of a 0.5% sales tax to fund transportation, and voters in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia passed tax deductions and exemptions for veterans—all with high margins. A proposal to increase taxes on oil and gas production has yet to be decided in Alaska.

Other Notable Highlights
  • Florida voters chose to raise the minimum wage. Similar measures in the last five years have all passed.
  • California’s Proposition 22, the most expensive ballot measure campaign in American history, passed; it will classify most app-based transportation and delivery drivers as independent contractors, not employees.
  • Mississippians approved the state’s new magnolia flag design. The legislature put the question to voters after deciding to replace the previous flag, which featured the Confederate battle emblem.
  • Gun rights were on the ballot in Alabama, Montana and Utah. Voters in Alabama passed two “Stand Your Ground” rights measures, applying to churches in Franklin County and Lauderdale County. Utahns voted to establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish. In Montana, a legislative referral to remove local governments’ authority to regulate concealed carry laws eked out a tight win.
  • Coloradans approved a citizen initiative to reintroduce gray wolves. It’s the first time voters in any state have had a say in bringing back an endangered species. 
  • Various forms of gambling were also up for a vote. Coloradans said “yes” to certain cities expanding allowed gaming types, Nebraskans passed three gambling-related measures, and Maryland and South Dakota both approved sports betting measures.
  • Voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota rejected efforts to make the citizen initiative process more challenging.
  • An effort to overturn California’s affirmative action ban failed.
  • Legislatively referred measures to amend term limits passed in Arkansas and failed in Missouri.
  • Puerto Rico voted "yes" on statehood. This is the sixth time that voters have weighed in on statehood since 1967—though further action rests with Congress.

Find the latest updates on the NCSL Blog and statewide ballot measures 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

blog

The country has experienced a year unlike any in many ways, including how our elections were run. Largely because of COVID-19, more attention than ever was 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. Those small details 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 were focused on: requesting ballots, expanding eligibility, mailing ballot applications and mailing out ballots to all voters.

Now that Election Day has passed, while there were some minor issues, we did not see overly long lines, cyber threats, or major equipment malfunctions.

Eligibility for Absentee/Mail Ballots
At the beginning of 2020, 16 states required an excuse to vote by absentee ballot. By Election Day, all but four states had expanded eligibility for absentee or mail voting.

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. By Election Day, at least 20 states made the option available for voters to request their ballot online.

Sending Absentee Ballot Applications to Voters
In 2020, for the first time ever, states proactively sent 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. At least 12 states utilized this approach for the November election.

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.” This year, four more states—California, Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont­— opted to do so for the 2020 general election. Montana also allowed counties the option of sending out ballots in November.

The changes undertaken this year created a dramatically altered election landscape as we arrived at Election Day. One consequence of an increased volume of absentee/mail voting? We now have an “election window” or “election month” for voting—and races are not being called as 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: