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Weekend Elections Briefing, March 20-21, 2021: LA Specials, Voting Reform, Scotland

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Elections Briefing 3-20-21 Louisiana Georgia Sturgeon

The American electoral calendar is heating up with US House special elections, and Scotland’s first minister is in some hot water in this weekend’s Briefing.

US Election News

Louisiana US House Special Elections Preview

Two US House districts in Louisiana head to the polls on Saturday for their special jungle primaries. A majority of the vote is required to win outright, but as both races have a slew of candidates in the mix, it is not likely anyone will claim victory today. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to a runoff.

If anyone has a chance at lapping the field tonight, it’s Julia Letlow (R), running in the 5th District. She is the widow of Luke Letlow, a Republican elected to Congress in November but who died from COVID-19 complications days prior to taking office. Letlow has cornered the market on big Republican endorsements, including Donald Trump, the state GOP, and Ralph Abraham, the former congressman here.

The 2nd District will for certain head to a runoff. It is believed that Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson, both Democrats, will be in it. This New Orleans-based seat is deep blue, but the sheer volume of candidates will push this forward to a second round in April. Troy Carter has the most endorsements by far and is considered the favorite overall.

Georgia Legislature Tones Down Elections Reform Bill

It has been discussed on Electionarium that Georgia is proceeding with sweeping elections reform. Some components of that legislation has been controversial. Word now is that Georgia Republicans, who are the driving force behind the bill, are looking to scale back on some of those points. Specifically, it is understood that the GOP will no longer pursue an end to no-excuse absentee ballots and will extend early voting on weekends beyond what the bill says at present.1 This will not quiet all of their critics, but it will remove some of the touchier segments of the bill. Republicans believe it will strength election integrity, while Democrats believe it will disenfranchise voters, especially minority voters.

Former Florida State Senator Charged

Frank Artiles, a Republican former state senator in Florida, has been charged in connection with alleged attempted manipulation of a 2020 legislative race. The charges hold that Artiles gave tens of thousands of dollars to an independent spoiler candidate by the name of Alex Rodriguez, in an effort to confuse those voting for the Democrat, Jose Rodriguez. Please note this is not the same Alex Rodriguez who used to date J-Lo and played for the Yankees. Among the charges against Artiles is swearing to an electoral falsehood, a felony.2

Artiles was a state senator in Florida for just five and a half months, resigning in 2017 after hurling racial slurs at other senators and after an investigation was announced looking to campaign finance irregularities. Prior to that, Artiles was a three-term state representative from the Kendale Lakes area of Miami-Dade.


International Election News

Canadian Conservatives Debate Climate Change in Platform

Conservative parties in many places in the world may not be as receptive to the environmental agenda as their liberal counterparts; that’s putting it in charitable terms. Nevertheless, the Conservative Party of Canada, holding its national convention this weekend, will consider a plank that inserts that “climate change is real” into their platform and pledges action. As one may expect, it is meeting opposition from within the convention. The Conservatives are open to addressing climate change in their platform to some degree, at least if leader Erin O’Toole has his way, but this plank may be a bridge too far.3

The platform may come into direct scrutiny this year as it’s not impossible that Justin Trudeau will call a snap 2021 election. However, the NDP will not vote to bring down the government while the pandemic continues.

Scotland Committee to Say Sturgeon Misled Them

It was the news that Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon did not want to hear, but some expected: the Alex Salmond inquiry, before which she recently testified, has reportedly found that she misled them. It was a 5 to 4 vote against Sturgeon, who has been bitterly at odds with her predecessor Salmond. Given that the opposition had five seats on the board and the SNP four, it’s not a stretch how the vote went in terms of partisan breakdown. Sturgeon also has to be worried about the other commission which is investigating whether or not she breached the ministerial code in her dealings with Salmond’s case. If she did, she will be expected to resign.4


Election Calendar

The jungle primaries in LA-02 and LA-05 are on Saturday.
The Israeli election is on Tuesday.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial election is on Thursday.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Reid Wilson, “Georgia Republicans back away from some voting restrictions,” The Hill, 19 March 2021.
  2. Associated Press, “Former Florida state senator charged with three criminal counts in sham candidate scheme,” NBC News, 19 March 2021.
  3. John Paul Tasker, “Conservatives debate whether to declare that ‘climate change is real’ at policy convention,” CBC News, 19 March 2021.
  4. BBC News Staff, “MSPs on Alex Salmond committee say Nicola Sturgeon misled them,” BBC News, 19 March 2021.

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United States Elections

2021 Louisiana 2nd District Special Election

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