• Elections
    • voter registration
    • campaign finance
    • redistricting
    • voter ID
    • voter suppression
    • voting technology
    • day of voting (weekend/holiday)
  • Criminal Justice
  • eCarceration
  • Environment
    • climate change
    • ocean health
    • plastics
    • ecosystems
  • Education
  • Constitution
    • Federalism
    • Religion in Politics
    • Guns/Ammo
    • Abortion/Contraception
    • Voting laws
    • Free Speech
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
    • Public Health
    • Early Childhood
    • Access/Equity
  • Federalism!
  • Signs Suggest That Nation’s Divisions May Be Deepening – Senator Ted Cruz held onto Texas for the G.O.P., and Mike Braun, a Republican, defeated Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana. But in the House, Democrats captured several Republican-held seats early, winning decisively in moderate districts.Rural voters were breaking sharply with their counterparts in suburban districts and metropolitan areas.
  • Electoral reform is looking good on the Michigan ballot so far. The measure on establishing an independent redistricting commission leads 61 percent to 39 percent, and a measure to create both automatic and election day voter registration leads 68 percent to 32 percent (marijuana legalization is also up 58 percent to 42 percent). That may convince Democrats and reformers in other states to pursue reforms with ballot initiatives. But bipartisan redistricting will also come just when Democrats would have already had a role in the process (because they won the governor race).
  • How much do you think tonight’s results go towards further polarizing Congress (roughly speaking)? I think that will be different for each chamber. If House Democrats have a bunch of people representing suburban and competitive districts, then the party may have a strong moderate — even Blue Dog — contingent. In the Senate, a bunch of the moderate Democrats have just lost.
  • The growing or solidifying city-rural divide is an important story of the night. We still have a lot to learn about the reasons for this geographic polarization. One reason might be that the same factors that affect individual voting (like race and education level) also affect everyone in a community. For example, a college educated white person in a low education area might have social networks full of Trump supporters. In addition to their friends, people may also may be affected by their broader community. For example, even people without a college degree living in a college town might come to think of themselves as part of an educated diverse area. Geographic partisan enclaves may thus be hard to reverse, once an area comes to seen by its own residents as living in a culturally red or blue state.
  • CHRISTIE ASCHWANDEN10:58 PM
    There’s still a long night ahead, but two energy/environment issues on the Colorado ballot appear to be leaning in favor of environmentalists. With 69 percent reporting, Proposition 112, which would require all new oil and gas development to be located at least 2,500 feet from occupied structures and other “vulnerable” areas, is passing by 57.5 percent. Meanwhile, Amendment 74, which would force local and state governments to pay compensation when regulations or laws reduce the fair market value of their property, is opposed by 53.3 percent of voters — and as a constitutional amendment, it requires a 55 percent yes vote to pass.
  • NATHANIEL RAKICH10:58 PM
    No surprise there. After a bit of a sluggish start, Democrats started picking up not only the seats that leaned to them, but some tougher races as well. Now it’s time to watch the margin — which definitely matters in terms of giving Nancy Pelosi (or whoever the next speaker is!) room to maneuver in terms of floor votes.
  • DAN HOPKINS10:52 PM
    Voter ID requirements often poll well, and they are doing well at the ballot box tonight. North Carolina’s voter ID ballot measure is expected to pass, and with 45 percent of precincts in, a voter ID measure in Arkansas has 79 percent in favor.
  • JODY AVIRGAN10:30 PM – I’m having a bit of a flashback to about this time two years ago, when I remember saying on the live blog that more than anything, the election is reflecting just how divided we are — urban, rural, rich, poor, different education levels. That gulf continues to grow.
  • DAN HOPKINS10:24 PM
    So far, with the Democrats roughly on serve in the House but losing Senate seats, we’re getting a powerful example of how our federalist institutions profoundly shape who wields power. We’re the same country, but our voice is filtered through very different institutions, to very different effect. What is striking is how infrequently the two institutions move in opposite directions — the last time it happened was in 1984, when the Democrats gained Senate seats but lost House seats.
  • NATHANIEL RAKICH10:17 PM
    There are plenty of silver linings for Democrats in Texas. Beto may have carried some House candidates over the line: Lizzie Fletcher in the 7th District and Collin Allred in the 32rd District are both currently ahead of GOP incumbents. Even Gina Ortiz Jones is running even with Republican Rep. Will Hurd in the 23rd District, which was expected to stay red. Plus, now Beto can run for president unencumbered!
  • DAN HOPKINS10:17 PM
    Micah, obviously Senate seats are, ahem, very valuable things, so the key question is understandably who won. But I do think that there are moral victories: If a campaign energizes voters, recruits, activists, gets people registered — that’s all going to reshape politics down the road. Once voters are registered, parties are substantially more likely to turn them out.
  • impact of voter suppression
  • Kevin Cramer v. Heidi Heitkamp
    Marsha Blackburn v. Bob Corker
    Martha McSally v. Jeff Flake
    Mitt Romney v. Orin Harch
    Rick Scott v. Bill Nelson
  • Senate-House split – Constitution broken / only affinity across party lines is weed/medicaid
  • we are no longer a nation
  • AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX10:12 PM
    We’ve got a Roy Moore flashback in Alabama, where a constitutional amendment allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed on state, public, and school grounds has 73 percent of the vote with about half of precincts reporting. Fifteen years ago, Moore was stripped of his seat on the state Supreme Court after defying a federal judge’s order to remove an enormous granite Ten Commandments from the lobby of the judicial building. Proponents of this amendment are anticipating a legal fight that could go to the Supreme Court, where they are hoping for a sympathetic hearing from the new conservative majority.
  • NATE SILVER10:10 PM
    ABC News has just called Texas for Ted Cruz, in a race that looks like it will wind up pretty close to the polls.
  • KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON10:08 PM
    If Texas winds up being one place where Democrats actually outperform expectations, maybe keep an eye on the Texas 21st. This was a “likely Republican” seat, and with only 11 percent in, Republican Chip Roy is in the lead 50 percent to 48 percent over Democrat Joseph Kopser. Chip Roy served as Sen. Ted Cruz’s Chief of Staff.
  • GEOFFREY SKELLEY10:08 PM
    Republican Rep. Dan Donovan lost to Democrat Max Rose in the New York 11th, which is mostly made up of Staten Island. Based on an analysis I did just before the election using CityLab’s neighborhood density index, the 11th was the ONLY Republican-held seat that was purely urban out of 34 in the whole country. Now all of them are in Democratic hands.
  • medieval theocracy – Alabama looks like it will probably pass a state policy against abortion. With 31 percent of precincts reporting, 66 percent have voted yes on Amendment 2, which would make it state policy to ‘recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life.’
  • DAN HOPKINS9:59 PM
    I only have nearly complete Senate data for a few dozen counties now, but in Florida, it’s noteworthy that the key demographic predictor of backing Scott is just what it was for Trump in 2016: the percentage of the county that is college-educated. In Florida at least, population density isn’t predictive once you account for the percentage with a bachelor’s degree.
  • AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX9:50 PM
    According to CNN, North Carolina is a “yes” on its voter ID measure, which would amend the state’s constitution to require voters to provide photo ID when they vote in person. The legislature passed a similar requirement back in 2013, but it was overturned by the courts, saying it targeted black voters with “almost surgical precision.”
  • “bluebloods” college basketball yuck
  • ANNA MARIA BARRY-JESTER9:27 PM
    In Michigan at least, weed seems to be the great bridge across the urban/rural, left/right divides.
  • Amendment 4 passes in Florida. Giving voting rights to 1.5 million felons.
  • KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON9:14 PM
    Just a quick note on the world of polling accuracy: If Republicans win the Florida Senate and gubernatorial contests, that’ll be a surprise to anyone who saw today’s final NBC/Marist poll. It had the Democrats winning each race by 5 points, although the polling averages were a bit closer. But while pollsters can argue about margins of error and such, if a variety of other races break for Republicans, expect these Florida elections to be held up as more proof that the polls are missing out on undercover Republican voters.
  • A world with even greater urban-rural polarization, which is roughly what we’re seeing in the results so far tonight, is a tough world electorally for Democrats given how rural areas have a disproportionate amount of influence in the Senate.
  • the economy
  • DAN HOPKINS8:52 PM
    Trump activates prejudice — but doesn’t increase it
    As I mentioned earlier, I just finished overseeing the thirteenth wave of a panel survey of American adults. And given President Trump’s use of racially charged rhetoric, you might expect that white Americans’ prejudice has risen since he won the presidency in late 2016. But in fact, the opposite is the case: self-reported prejudice is actually down among both white Democrats and white Republicans in the past two years. The key to understanding the role of prejudice in contemporary politics is that Trump didn’t amplify it, he instead activated it: Trump’s rise led prejudice to be more integrated with voter choice. So prejudice has become more predictive of how white Americans vote, even if it’s also been on the decline.
  • AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX7:43 PM
    In political-family news, Greg Pence just won the U.S. House seat that his brother, Vice President Mike Pence, used to represent in Indiana. Greg Pence has never held political office, and his record as a business executive is … mixed, to say the least.
  • Constitutiuon outdated / rural urban split deepening
  • With reports of long lines to vote, it’s worth noticing that there’s political science research on this from my University of Pennsylvania colleague Stephen Pettigrew. But the key effect won’t be seen until the next election: As wait times get longer, voters’ probability of voting in the next election drops.
  • abortion and contraception
    guns and ammo
  • Ollie, thinking about those scanners backing up made me wonder how old the voting machines in New York are. Usually, when we talk about aging vote technology we end up talking about the risk of hacking — but it goes beyond that. The older the machines are, the more likely they’re just going to run into basic maintenance and equipment failure problems, and the harder it will be to find replacement parts. Ten or 15 years is kind of the lifespan for these machines. But, according to a report by the Brennan Center, most states are working with machines that are already a decade old.
  • Putting a polling place inside a gated community, and requiring people to show ID to enter that community even though they don’t need it to vote, seems like a real problem.
  • AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX5:42 PM
    A lot of people (including at least one election official) seem to find the long lines that have been reported today exciting — a sign of voter enthusiasm. But while it certainly shows voters’ determination, this is really evidence of an under-resourced election system.
  • voter power index
  • gerrymandering
  • DC/Puerto Rico
  • federalism / small states
  • CLARE MALONE10:30 AMOn High Alert For Hacking
    Back in April, I laid out the nightmare Election Day hacking scenario: thousands of voters turned away from their polling places after foreign adversaries tampered with online voter registration systems; actual votes changed after hackers infected software because of mistakes made by local election officials. It’s not a pretty picture. But it’s one we’ve been forced to confront after it was revealed that Russians had scanned 21 state elections systems in 2016 to look for security vulnerabilities — and they actually managed to break into Illinois’s system. Those breaches made for disheartening news about the state of our election infrastructure. So have the reports that foreign governments continue to target the emails of elected officials during the midterm elections. Hackers are also trying to compromise the systems of private companies that provide voting machines and election software to the federal government. Election security oversight is anemic at best in America. In part, this is because of federalism; states — not the federal government — oversee elections. Rules about security procedures and what equipment is used vary from state to state, county to county, city to city. The Election Assistance Commission, the federal body that’s supposed to oversee industry security, is largely powerless, serving mostly to make recommendations. Also, it was hacked after the November 2016 election. As I reported this summer, we also know that some state governments don’t have the most proactive security procedures when it comes to shoring up their online presences. Election security experts told me then that states were ignoring vulnerabilities that could be exploited in the future. And as voters cast their ballots today, you can be sure that American officials — from the lowliest vote tabulators to the most senior members of our intelligence services — will be thinking about what happens if someone finds a catastrophic way to exploit our cyber weaknesses.