Let the Re-Election Guessing Games Begin: Ballots & Boundaries

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Now that states know whether their congressional delegations will shrink or grow, it’s time to indulge in one of Washington’s favorite games: Guessing who won’t risk making re-election pitches to voters accustomed to being represented by someone else.

Four House members are retiring and another four have declared their interest in another job—including Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D), who announced a bid for the U.S. Senate ahead of the Census Bureau confirming that Ohio will lose one of its 16 districts. Ryan’s northeastern Ohio district has been trending Republican and could be dismantled.

U.S. Congress Members Not Seeking Re-Election in 2022

Other House members to keep an eye on include Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D), who could run for governor again rather than seek re-election in a state where Republicans control the line-drawing process.

Retirements spike in redistricting years and so do election defeats, for the new maps will produce some intraparty incumbent-versus-incumbent matchups.

In the 2012 election, 13 House members were defeated for re-election in the primary—as many as in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 primaries combined—and eight of them lost to colleagues. — Greg Giroux

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OREGON: ANOTHER SEAT AT THE TABLE

Republicans in the Oregon Legislature have proven multiple times that they’re willing to stop doing their job to get what they want—like leaving the state rather than provide a quorum to vote on a bill responding to climate change. Their latest hardball move led to a big prize: an extra seat on the House redistricting committee.

That panel now has three Democrats and three Republicans.

If lawmakers squabble and miss the deadline to draw legislative boundaries, the job falls to the secretary of state, a Democrat.Hillsboro NewsTimes

MICHIGAN, OREGON, INDIANA: MORE TIME

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and the state’s new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have filed a joint petition asking the Michigan Supreme Court to delay the state’s Nov. 1 political map adoption deadline until Jan. 25, 2022.

The Oregon Supreme Court has given lawmakers until Sept. 27 to draw new legislative district boundaries. Lawmakers, citing U.S. Census delays, sued for extra time. That Legislature has missed the July 1 constitutional date to finish the task eight out of 10 times in the past 100 years.

And Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill (H.B. 1372) letting the state General Assembly keep itself in session until Nov. 15 for redistricting. Normally the part-time Legislature would ditch Indianapolis at the end of April. — Alex Ebert and Joyce E. Cutler

ARIZONA: COURT CASE AND ‘TEMPER TANTRUM’

Maricopa County election officials moved nearly 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 election to the arena at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix for examination by auditors hired by Republican lawmakers.

A court hearing is scheduled for later today, the Arizona Republic reports. Democrats want a judge to stop the unusual partial recount; vendor Cyber Ninjas wants the way it handles ballots to be a protected trade secret; and there are questions about legislative immunity — if you can’t sue the Legislature while it’s in session, is it OK to sue over this legislative edict?

The audit may throw a wrench in plans to pass voting restriction bills in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a 16–14 majority. Sen. Kelly Townsend (R) sunk a bill (S.B. 1485), at least temporarily, to remove some voters from the state’s early voting list, explaining she won’t approve any election bills until the audit is complete.

Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R) accused Townsend of throwing a “temper tantrum” because a committee didn’t consider her election bills. — Brenna Goth

FLORIDA: WE’RE NOT GEORGIA

Florida’s Senate has passed a bill (S.B. 90) that would require voters to show additional identification when registering to vote in person or by mail, and vote-by-mail requests would need to be renewed after each general election. The measure doesn’t include the restrictions on absentee voting or ballot drop boxes sought by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and wouldn’t outlaw giving a drink to people waiting in line to vote, which is part of the new Georgia lawthat generated some corporate backlash. “This bill is not Georgia 2.0,” said Sen. Dennis Baxley (R), the bill’s sponsor.

Florida House members have proposed a lot of revisions. — Jennifer Kay

KANSAS: ‘PROBLEM THAT DOESN’T EXIST’

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed Republican-backed election bills (HB 2183) (H.B. 2332) that among other things would have barred the governor, secretary of state, or the courts from changing election rules. It would have made it harder for groups or people not related to voters to deliver their absentee ballots to election officials, and required candidates to deliver ballots only from immediate family members. “This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Kelly said in a statement. “It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans…not to stop voter fraud.” — AP

MONTANA: VOTER ID COURT CHALLENGE

A lawsuit filed by the Montana Democratic Party says new state laws will burden all voters, but will hit younger ones the hardest. One of those measures, which Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed the same day the suit was filed, limits use of student ID cards as proof of identity to vote. — Tripp Baltz

IDAHO: HIGHER HURDLES

Initiatives must now have signatures from all 35 state legislative districts under a bill (S.B. 1110) signed by Gov. Brad Little (R). That’s a change from the previous requirement for signatures from 6% of eligible voters statewide in 18 districts.

Bill proponents said the old process favored urban areas. The law kicks in as backers of an initiative to legalize medical marijuana are trying to collect 65,000 valid signatures by May 1, 2022, to get the measure on that November’s ballot. — Joyce E. Cutler

Ballots & Boundaries is your weekly check-in on what states are doing to change voting laws and reconfigure political boundaries in once-a-decade redistricting. SUBSCRIBE

To contact the reporters on this story: Brenna Goth in Phoenix at bgoth@bloomberglaw.com; Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at jcutler@bloomberglaw.com; Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com; Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bloomberglaw.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com; Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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