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Weekend Elections Briefing, March 27-28, 2021: Georgia Elections, Biden, Tasmania

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Elections Briefing 3-27-21 Georgia Biden Tasmania

What was the reaction to the new Georgia elections reform bill, and where will another state be heading to the polls soon? We have a busy Weekend Briefing.

US Election News

Georgia Elections Bill Passes, Controversy Ensues

It’s been discussed for weeks, but the Georgia legislature finally passed its omnibus elections reform bill. We went into some of its key points several weeks ago in a prior Briefing. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the bill, making it become law, and there has been some swift negative reaction from outside groups who claim it is intended to make it harder to vote in Georgia. The New Georgia Project was one of the plaintiffs in a suit against the law seeking an injunction to declare certain provisions unconstitutional.1

A Democratic state representative from Atlanta, Park Cannon, attempted to interrupt the bill signing in protest when she was arrested. The arrest was caught on video.2 Tensions are running high in the Peach State, with Republicans passing the law after Donald Trump maintaining for months that the state’s electoral votes were stolen from him due to voter fraud. Kemp is seeking re-election next year.

Pelosi Urges Dems to Dodge California Runoff

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has a simple message for those in her party looking to join the recall election field: Don’t. Her aim is for the Democrats to line up behind embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to fight off what looks like will be a recall election later this year.3

Were no Democrats to run, it would set a stark contrast to what happened in the 2003 recall of Gray Davis. His own lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, ran in addition to a number of other minor Democratic candidates. Democrats forming a united front in 2021 would put all their eggs in the basket of having to defeat the recall outright as there would be no candidates on the other question for them to support. On the other end, so far, the Republicans have no well-known star candidate like an Arnold Schwarzenegger to carry the torch.

The last California recall was wild, and this one figures to be no different.

Texas Elections Reform Legislation Hits Snag

Well, the Great State of Texas was going to take up some elections reform legislation this past week, but procedure got in the way. The bill before the Texas House of Representatives intends to cut down on voter fraud by, for example, requiring ID from those who are helping a mail-in voter complete their ballot. However, the bill is on hold as Rep. Briscoe Cain (R), the chairman of the House committee handling it, adjourned the hearing for lunch but didn’t schedule a time to reconvene.4 That’s one way to shoot yourself in the legislative foot.

On Biden Saying He “Expects” to Run in 2024

During his Thursday news conference, President Joe Biden was asked about his intent to seek re-election in 2024. He said that at the moment, it’s his expectation that he will run again. The media picked this up and ran, forgetting about everything else he said.

Now, let’s calm down for a minute. He said he “expects” to run, which is like saying “sure, I’m thinking about it, but I will get back to you.” On election day 2024, Biden will be just shy of his 82nd birthday. What some in the media are taking as a firm commitment to run was more like a college head coach saying he expects to still coach at his school a week before he gets hired by a blue-chip program and leaves. In 2023, it can just as easily become “well, I expected to run, but as it turns out, I’m not going to – later, folks.”

Biden can’t say two months into his term that he’s not going to run again. That’s a great way to make himself a lame duck before his 100 days are even finished.

For those who watched live, you may also recall that Biden was asked who he thought would be the GOP nominee against him in 2024. Most would see this as a fairly preposterous question for March 2021, ourselves included. It’s all talk until the primary maneuvering begins in a couple years.

International Election News

Newfoundland and Labrador Results Expected Saturday

At noon local time on Saturday, Elections NL will release the long-awaited election results in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The election was postponed twice due to COVID issues on Newfoundland, and what looked like a Liberal runaway re-election no longer looks quite so lustrous for Andrew Furey’s government. We finally got a new poll from Forum Research on the eve of the election, showing the Liberals with a 14-point lead.5 Other polls had the lead at more like 40 at the start of 2021. Forum predicts a Liberal majority with 23 seats, not far off of our guess of 25. We had it closer to 30 in January.

Furey’s own approval rating is cracking as well, showing that the Liberals may in fact have been damaged by the ongoing election fiasco. All will be known in short order.

Tasmania to Vote in May Election

Australia delivered a political surprise heading into the weekend with the state of Tasmania announcing there would be a May 1st election. Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein is taking Tasmania to the polls a year ahead of schedule just days after his party lost their majority in the Parliament.6

Gutwein took over for Will Hodgman in 2020 and is seeking a third consecutive term for the Liberals. Hodgman won back-to-back majority governments before turning over the Liberal leadership to Gutwein. Early polling suggests they may be on their way to another majority, with plenty of time to go.

Election Calendar (from Saturday)

10 days until the Greenland general election.
16 days until the Yukon territorial election.
28 days until the Louisiana-02 special runoff.
35 days until the Texas-06 special jungle primary.
35 days until the Tasmania state election.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. John Kruzel, “Georgia’s restrictive new voting law hit with legal challenge,” The Hill, 26 March 2021.
  2. Kelsey Vlamis, “A Georgia lawmaker was charged with a felony while protesting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signing of a new voter reform bill,” Insider, 26 March 2021.
  3. Jeremy B. White, “Pelosi to California Democrats: Don’t run in Newsom recall,” Politico, 25 March 2021.
  4. John Engel, “Texas GOP election bill stalls, hundreds unable to testify due to committee chairman’s mistake,” KXAN-TV, 25 March 2021.
  5. The Forum Poll, “Expected Victory for Incumbent Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador Election,” Forum Research, 24 March 2021.
  6. Adam Langenberg and staff, “Peter Gutwein calls Tasmanian state election for May 1,” ABC News, 26 March 2021.

Now For Your Commentary

Canadian Elections

2021 Newfoundland and Labrador Election

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