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Following the returns, 2018

November 6th, 2018, 7:53pm by Sam Wang

Tonight’s liveblogging:

1:52am: The gubernatorial races in Wisconsin and Georgia are unresolved. However, I am done for the evening. Good night, all!

1:51am: The margin between Kemp and Abrams is currently about 110,000 votes. Brian Kemp, who is Secretary of State, has tried to suppress turnout by challenging new registrations and purging the rolls of “inactive” voters. The total number affected, currently estimated at nearly 400,000 voters, comprises about 5 percent of Georgia’s voting-eligible population. And there are Election Day voting irregularities as well. It’s not a great situation, voting rights-wise.

1:15am: Elections and ballot measures tonight make it harder to continue the gerrymanders in Michigan and North Carolina. If Tony Evers (D) defeats Gov. Scott Walker (R) in Wisconsin, that will lead to divided government, ending another gerrymander.

One state may gain single-party control: Georgia. Considering the habits of Brian Kemp (R) in voter suppression, if he becomes governor a partisan gerrymander cannot be far off. Georgia has a Republican-dominated state Assembly and Supreme Court. And Georgia has no initiative process.

There is also Florida, which remains under the control of a single party with the election of Governor DeSantis (R). It had the Fair Districts constitutional amendments to limit gerrymandering, but the state Supreme Court has shifted to the same party as the governor and legislature. There is one more House/Senate election in Florida before post-2020 redistricting.

12:22am: I’m winding down here – just a few more posts.

Supermajorities in at least one chamber of the North Carolina legislature will be broken. House: 64 R, 53 D, 3 still close. Senate: 29 R, 18 D, 3 still close. Republicans will still control both chambers thanks to their gerrymandering skills. But they can’t override the governor’s vetoes now.

11:34pm: Big news from North Carolina. Anita Earls has won her race for the North Carolina Supreme Court. That brings the court to 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Earls is a major voting rights advocate. This strengthens the one remaining check on the state legislature, which is increasingly seen by leaders of both parties as out of control. See my analysis of North Carolina.

Several anti-voting-rights measures have failed in North Carolina, one to pack the state Supreme Court and one to make election boards partisan. However, a voter-ID measure has passed.

11:28pm: Same-day voter registration passing in Maryland, 67% to 33%. This could bring 7% of the voting-age population in Maryland onto the rolls.

If automatic or same-day registration were passed nationwide, it would mean close to 40 million new registered voters.

10:51pm: This is a great night for voting-rights expansion. So far:

  • Re-empowerment (redistricting reform): Missouri, Colorado, Missouri . Waiting on Utah.
  • Re-enfranchisement: Florida.
  • Registration made automatic: Michigan again. Waiting on Nevada and Maryland.

Each of these has a huge effect, equivalent to 8-10% of voting-age population.

10:43pm: In Missouri, Amendment 1, which mandates the drawing of competitive districts, is running 19 points ahead of Claire McCaskill.

Back to Michigan – automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting are also passing.

Redistricting reform, re-enfranchisement in Florida, and automatic voter registration – this is a great night for voting rights expansion.

10:31pm: Michigan’s Proposal 2, an independent redistricting commission, is passing by a 61-39 margin. Eight points ahead of Governor-elect Gretchen Whittmer, a race that’s been called. Independent redistricting and divided government as a backup – Michigan won’t be gerrymandering any more!

10:24pm: This is very reminiscent of 2016. Purple districts coming in approximately on-target with polls, Republicans doing notably better than expected in red states (IN, ND, TN). Just now, a flip of gerrymandered House District 11 (was polling D+1%, at D+9% so far) is one example. It’s part of the Republican levee against tonight’s wave.


9:39pm: In Pennsylvania, Democrats currently lead in 9 out of 18 districts. That’s a big change from the 5 districts they carried in 2016. If this holds up, the four-seat gain is entirely due to the undoing of a partisan gerrymander, mandated by the state Supreme Court.

9:31pm: In Colorado, non-partisan redistricting (Amendments Y and Z) are currently passing by a 72-28 margin! With 43% reporting. One of four redistricting-reform initiatives. The others are Michigan, Utah, and Missouri.

8:59pm: In Florida, Amendment 4, re-enfranchising ex-felons who have served their time, has passed. That will return the right to vote to about 1.5 million Floridians, including 1 out of 5 African-Americans of voting age. This was the single largest voting-rights issue on the ballot this year. See my article on voting rights expansion on the 2018 ballot.

8:48pm: In Indiana, Donnelly (D-inc.) down by 14 points, with 47% of precincts reporting. That’s extremely different from the Donnelly +3% margin in surveys.

Tags: 2018 Election · House

12 Comments so far ↓

  • ArcticStones

    Sam, how do you account for the extreme gap between the poll averages and the result in Indiana? We are talking about 14 + 3 = 17 %. Cannot imagine that any pollsters are proud of their failure!

  • LondonYouny

    Dr. Wang does not conduct polls, and pollsters are very opaque about what they do.

  • ArcticStones

    Apparently, NBC has called Tennessee for Blacburn. And yet on, I see that Bredesen leads by 5 % and 50,000 votes! With 69 % of the precincts counted.


  • LondonYoung

    “In Missouri, Amendment 1, which mandates the drawing of competitive districts, is running 19 points ahead of Claire McCaskill.”

    This indicates a lot about the voters

    19 points is not small

    • Sam Wang

      No, not really. These initiatives do that – they run on their merits, as opposed to the incredible warfare of political races. I was just giving that as a comparison to show that it’s headed for passing.

    • LondonYoung

      I am confused at how we can disageee.

      I think voters really do want fair and competitive districting and will always vote for that when they are offered a choice.

      I don’t think McCaskill represents the views of Missouri in 2018 – at least by a 19 pct difference.

  • ArcticStones

    Anita Earls won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court! This is a big victory!

  • ArcticStones

    Is it viable for Abrams to take any legal action against the voter roll purges, voter suppression, and what might be generously describes as Election Day “irregularities” in the State of Georgia?

    Is it correct that Georgia is headed for a runoff?

    If so, might a court order Kemp to step aside as Secretary of State? And order massive voter re-enfranchisement? Is there any precedence for such judicial intervention?

    In short, what are the chances of a reasonably-fair Round 2?

    And lastly: Can a court take the drastic step of setting aside an election where the result can credibly be ascribed to cheating? Any precedence?

    • LondonYoung

      To your third question: Kemp has already resigned as Secretary of State, effective two hours ago.

    • LondonYoung

      And on “do-over” elections: most states have a constitution and/or laws in place that put gubernatorial disputes in the hands of the legislature, and not the courts.

      Of course, courts can try to order legislatures to do as the court says, but the court needs an enforcement mechanism. When SCOTUS tells a state to undo a gerrymander, the enforcement mechanism is that the house will (presumably) refuse the gerrymandered members. But if a tainted governor has the support of the state legislature, they are probably good to go.

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