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Elections Briefing, March 4, 2021: Election Integrity, Tennessee, Newfoundland

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Elections Briefing 3-4-21 Pence Tennessee Newfoundland

What did Mike Pence have to say about a new proposed elections law, and what does Tennessee want to do to county elections in its state? Here’s the Thursday Elections Briefing.

US Election News

Pence Calls for Greater Election Integrity

Former vice president Mike Pence wrote an op-ed for The Daily Signal this week addressing a touchy subject for many of his fellow Republicans: election security and integrity. Pence started out by commenting that the 2020 United States elections were full of “irregularities” and then came out swinging against the “For the People Act of 2021,” a new piece of Democratic legislation that we discussed in yesterday’s Briefing. The intent of that sprawling bill is to give a federal overhaul to American elections, from campaign finance reform to voter registration and many areas in between. Pence did not hide his feelings on the legislation, calling it a “unconstitutional, reckless, and anti-democratic” bill that will tie states’ hands and weaken election integrity.1

When the House takes this up soon, it is likely to pass on a party-line vote. The Senate is the key, and specifically the moderate bloc including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D). If Manchin and the Romney-Collins-Murkowski wing of the GOP are not on board, it will have serious trouble reaching President Biden’s desk.

Tennessee Legislators Propose Non-Partisan County Elections

A pair of Republican state legislators in Tennessee have decided to take up plans to force certain counties into holding non-partisan elections. Rep. Tom Leatherwood and Sen. Todd Gardenhire proposed bill in their respective chambers, HB 1280 and SB 1342, to require non-partisan county-level elections, meaning a candidate will not show up on the ballot as Republicans or Democrats.2 But here’s the kicker: this legislation would apply to just two Tennessee counties: Davidson (Nashville) and Shelby (Memphis), both of which are overwhelmingly Democratic. The idea might be that a Republican might have a better chance of winning there if there are no party labels. Unsurprisingly, Democrats and local politicians in these counties are not fans of the proposal.

More Election Results from This Week

There were more elections from March 2nd which we did not discuss yesterday, and in fact, there are enough that we cannot hope to get them all. Here are just a handful more things that happened in the electoral forum on Tuesday:

The mayoral primary election in St. Louis, Missouri is complete. Tishuara Jones and Cara Spencer, both Democrats, will move on to the April 6 general election. St. Louis experimented in this election with top-two “approval voting,” meaning a voter could vote for one or all of the candidates in the race if they so chose, and the two highest vote-getters would advance.

The Chattanooga, TN mayoral race is going to an April 13 runoff between Tim Kelly and Kim White. The winner will succeed the outgoing mayor, Andy Berke (D).

Walt Maddox (D) was re-elected mayor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama with 56 percent of the vote.


International Election News

Israel Could Experience a Lockdown Before March 23 Election

With the nation’s vaccine rollout being hailed and cases dropping, it seems strange that Israel may be entertaining another coronavirus lockdown. However, one key scientist, Sharon Alroy-Preis, thinks it could happen soon, coming just before the nation heads to the polls on March 23.3 The COVID-19 numbers are improving, but still not sterling, with some portions of the country with a high viral reproduction rate. Needless to say, another lockdown could throw the Israeli election into chaos, as if it needs more being the fourth election in two years. Locking down at the last minute could alter the nation’s plans, perhaps necessitating a delay in the vote if legally allowed.

Newfoundland and Labrador Final Results Could Be Delayed Until Next Month

Speaking of delays, one election campaign in progress in Canada was postponed because of a spike in cases, and now, we learn that Newfoundland and Labrador’s vote count could be long and grueling. At the rate at which Elections NL predicts it can count the postal ballots, the final numbers may not land in the totals until the beginning of April.4 In theory, it could be several weeks before we know who won the 2021 NL Election. However, in practice, it may not take quite that long before the result is apparent. The Liberals have led in the campaign all along and are expected to claim a majority government.


Election Calendar

8 days until the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election.
9 days until the Western Australia state election.
13 days until the 2021 Dutch election.
16 days until the LA-02 and LA-05 jungle primaries.
19 days until the 2021 Israeli election.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Mike Pence, “Election Integrity Is a National Imperative,” The Daily Signal, 3 March 2021.
  2. WREG Staff, “Tennessee Republicans call for non-partisan elections in countywide races,” WREG-TV, 3 March 2021.
  3. Rossella Tercatin, “Corona ‘czar’: Lockdown possible before election,” The Jerusalem Post, 3 March 2021.
  4. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press, “N.L. ballot counting to begin this week and numbers suggest it could last until April,” The Peterborough Examiner, 1 March 2021.

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