NOTE ON METHODOLOGY: These results include the District of Columbia, even though the votes do not "count" in a technical sense.
Link to state by state comparison of 1998 and 2002 elections
The extraordinary event on election night, November 5, 2002 was the absence of exit polls. Claiming some sort of computer glitch distorted the results, the news media did no exit poll analysis of the results. Given the increasing use of electronic voting machines whose results are not verifiable, this absence of corroborating data is cause for serious concern.
Unfortunately, in the days following that election, no polling results were forthcoming. Anyway, the administration was focusing on taking the nation into war in Iraq (is there a connection?) so who cares how the people voted, or why.
Voters Cast Record Number of Ballots in 2002,Texas has the lowest Turnout
Voters cast a record number of ballots in the 2002 off-year election, sort of. Over 80 million ballots (80,008,764) were cast by about 162,613,047 registered voters, for a turnout of 49.20%. But seeing as the voting rolls are inflated by a 1996 federal court decision that prohibits purging of voting lists for 4 years, the turnout was probably well over 50%.
Also, nine states, including Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania do not report "total number of ballots cast" when compiling results. Turnout, in those nine states, is reported as the total number of votes cast for the highest office. These states cast over 15,000,000 votes, so the turnout total is at least 150,000 higher than the 80,008,764 mentioned above.
For a little bit of historical perspective, the 1976 race between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford was the first presidential race to produce a turnout of over 80 million votes.
This compares with the 74,129,035 ballots cast in 1998, an increase of 5,879,729 or 7.9%. But this does not tell the real story, because the turnout in 1998 was 2 million lower than the 76.5 million (76,502,161) ballots cast in 1994.
So, while the total number of ballots cast was a record, the relative number was not. That prize belongs to the 1994 off-year election. The 2002 turnout was up 1.41% over 1998 in relative terms, but below 1994 by about 5%.
The reason for this is that, in spite of appearances in the media about tough immigration standards and other things, the population of the United States is growing rapidly. It added 10 million people between the 1994 and 1998 off-year elections, and another 18 million between 1998 and 2002. In the two years between July 1, 2000 and July 1, 2002, the census bureau estimates that the United States population grew by 7.3 million, which is the size of the State of Virginia, the 12th largest state in the country.
One of the collateral benefits of election analysis claimed by the Institute of Election Analysis is that by careful examination of the real election results, it is possible to understand many things, including the economy. Now, if the population of the United States is growing by more than 1% a year, the fact that the economy is growing at barely that rate means that the economy is not growing at all, and if jobs are being lost while the population is growing, that means that either the economy is performing poorly, or there is a lot of underground economic activity that is not getting into the official figures.
But even ignoring the underlying demographics, the turnout in 2002 was not uniform across the whole nation. The turnout went from a high of 80.26% in Minnesota, where the death of Senator Paul Wellstone just days before the election and the manner and events surrounding the replacement of Wellstone by former Vice-President Walter Mondale attracted a lot of attention, to a low of 36.23% in Texas. (Mississippi had a turnout of 36.33% and the District of Columbia had 36.70%).
Link to Turnout Spreadsheet
The Governors' Races - The Country Is Up For Grabs
The big unreported story of 2002 was the Governors' races. Twenty-one of the 36 races changed party. The Democrats gained 11 states and the Republicans gained 10. Then, in 2003, the California recall election evened the score at 11 each. That's 58.3% changing party in 2002, 61.1% when the 2003 recall election is included.
The symmetry was astounding. Even though governors' chairs were held by independents in two states (Minnesota and Maine) going into the election, they both reverted to major parties, Minnesota going to the Republicans and Maine to the Democrats.
The results show that the whole country is up for grabs. Democrats were winning governorships in staunchly Republican states like Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma; while Republicans were picking up seats in the Democratic bastions of Hawaii, Vermont, and Maryland. Both parties managed to win in the South. The Democrats took Republican governorships in Tennessee and South Carolina, while Republicans took Democratic governorships in Georgia and Alabama.
Overall, the Republicans won 22 governor's races while the Democrats won 14. Still, the Republicans failed to win a majority of the votes. They received 30,915,695 (49.67%) to the Democrats 27,774,745 (44.62%) of the 62,247,871 votes cast for Governor. Independent candidates received 3,515,895 votes, or 5.72%.
Ten of the 36 Governor's races were won with less than 50% of the vote. Brad Henry, Democrat of Oklahoma, was the lowest winner with 43.27% of the vote. Mike Johanns, Republican of Nebraska, was the high winner with 68.68% of the vote.
Twelve Governors won with over 55% of the vote, mostly those seeking re-election. Fourteen won with between 50% and 55% of the vote.
Only two candidates who took the opposing party Governorship won with over 55% of the vote: Republican Benson of New Hampshire and Democrat Bill Richardson of New Mexico.
Link to Governors Spreadsheet
The Senate races were a real disaster. Although the Democrats went into the election with only 14 of the 34 seats, they declined to field candidates in two of them: Kansas (where they won the Governorship) and Virginia (where Democrats won the Governorship the previous year.)
The Republicans reciprocated by declining to run a candidate against Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts (even though the Republican candidate for Governor, Mitt Romney, won.) So, while the nation was inundated with news stories about the importance of winning control of the United States Senate, the brilliant investigative reporting, Pulitzer prize winning newspapers and broadcasters neglected to mention that the Democrats were giving the Republicans a one seat head start.
Only four seats changed hands: Arkansas, which was won by the Democrats; and Georgia, Missouri and Minnesota which were won by Republicans. In the end, the Republicans gained the two seats needed to take control of the Senate. The extra seat was probably supplied by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in an airplane crash two weeks before the election. Of course, the manner and choice of former Vice-President Walter Mondale as the candidate to replace Wellstone showed Democratic Party incompetence at its finest.
Two of the seats that changed hands, Missouri and Minnesota were in play because of the deaths of candidates. Governor Carnahan of Missouri, the Democratic candidate for Senate in 2000, was similarly killed in an airplane crash in the weeks before the election. His widow won the seat in 2000, but only until the special election in 2002 to fill the remainder of the term. Had Carnahan lived and won in 2000, there would have been no election in Missouri in 2002.
In the end, the Republicans failed to win 50% of the vote in the Senate races, just like in the Governor's races. The Republican candidates for Senate received 21,308,936 votes (49.5191%) to the Democratic candidates' 19,893,921 (46.2308%), out of the 43,031,757 votes cast for Senate. Independent candidates got 1,838,009 votes (4.2713%), but won no seats.
Link to Senate Spreadsheet
The House of Representatives
The good news in 2002 was that everyone did better than in 1998. The Republicans increased their House vote totals from 32,152,710 (48.94%) to 37,171,334 (50.65%), an increase of 5,018,624 (1.70%). The Democrats went up from 31,416,920 (47.82%) to 33,891,276 (46.18%), and increase of 2,474,356 (-1.65%). Independent candidates remained almost the same, rising from 2,122,798 (3.23%) in 1998 to 2,332,613 (3.18%) in 2002, an increase of 209,815 (-0.05%).
Total turnout rose 7,702,795, from 65,692,428 in 1998 to 73,995,223 in 2002. About 800,000 of the increase in turnout can be attributed solely to the increase in the number of contested races. In 1998, 96 of the 436 House Races (including Washington, D.C.'s non-voting delegate) were unopposed. That's 22% of the House races, or more than one in five.
In 2002, the number of unopposed candidates dropped by 16. A good rule of thumb is that even losing candidates will draw about 50,000 voters who otherwise would skip the race in the absence of a major party candidate. The other 7,000,000 increase was mostly a rebound from the artificially low 1998 turnout.
The Republicans gained 4 seats in 2002, bringing their total to 228. The Democrats lost 4, dropping their number to 207, excluding the one independent who caucuses with the Democrats and usually votes with them.
Only 91.7% of the voters cast ballots in the House races. About 3.9 million of the 6,613,541 voters who did not cast ballots in the House races can be attributed to the 78 candidates who ran without major party opponents (17.9%) or one in every 5.5. [Multiplying 78 candidates by the 50,000 expected votes yields 3.9 million voters.]
Although the pundits touted as unusual that a sitting president should gain house seats in an off-year election, there is less to the four seat Republican gain than meets the eye. 2002 was the first election following reapportionment. Eighteen states either gained or lost seats. The Republicans carried 12 of those 18 states in the 2000 presidential election. The states carried by the Republicans in 2000 had a net gain of 7 House seats in the reapportionment.
Republicans had a net gain of 3 seats in the 12 reapportioned states that Bush carried in 2000. The Republicans gained 8 seats, but lost 3 seats in the 12 reapportioned states carried by Bush in 2000, for a net gain of 5. The Democrats gained 7 seats, but lost 5 seats in those same 12 reapportioned states carried by Bush in 2000, for a net gain of 2. So, three of the Republican's 4 seat gain came from moving House seats from the states that Gore carried in 2000 to the states that Bush carried in 2000.
But the good news is not only that the Republicans finally managed to break the 50% barrier in the House races, after falling short in the Governors and Senate races, but that the number of unopposed candidates dropped. Still, it is very clear that the majority of voters do not support either the Republicans or the Democrats. Even in the House races, although the Republicans got 50.65% of the votes cast in the House races, those votes were still only 46.5% of the ballots cast in the election.
So, on the basis of the 2002 House, Senate and Governors races, it is fair to assume that the nation faces another very close election in November 2004.
Link to House Vote Spreadsheet
Link to House Party Spreadsheet
Lieutenant Governors, the Vice-Presidents of the States
There were 36 Governors races in 2002. To the extent that the states have Lieutenant Governors, they ran on the same ticket with the Governor. Only 11 states elect Lieutenant Governors separately.
If the results from 2002 are any indication, those states should move to unify the ticket. Only four of the twelve states had split control between the parties; five, if the 2003 California recall election is included.
Like the Vice-Presidency, Lieutenant Governor is a weak position from which to become Governor, unless the incumbent leaves office before the end of the term. This is how Republican Rick Perry of Texas and Democrat Howard Dean of Vermont went from being Lieutenant Governor to Governor.
Republicans won 7 of the 11 Lieutenant Governors races. Republicans received 9,211,522 votes (47.22%) to the Democrats 9,241,149 votes (47.37%), almost equal. Independents picked-up the remaining 5.41% (1,055,027).
In Vermont, Doug Racine, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor, failed to succeed Governor Howard Dean when he stepped down to run for president. Voters picked the Republican State Treasurer, Jim Douglas (who had run with Republican and Democratic endorsements in 1998) instead.
In Maryland, Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend failed in her bid to become Governor. And in California, in 2003, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamente fell short when Governor Gray Davis was removed.
The problem with the Lieutenant Governor's position, like vice-president, is that it has few independent powers so it is difficult for the office holder to establish a record independent of that of the Governor. Politicians, however, see it as a low risk, high profile, statewide office to use as a stepping stone to higher office.
This is one reason why John Kerry is such a weak candidate. He went from Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (under Mike Dukakis, no less) to the United States Senate.
All candidates for public office are doing voters a favor by offering them an additional choice; so the electorate tries not to humiliate the loser. Losing is bad enough. But the Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor race emphatically demonstrates that voters do not relish the use of Lieutenant Governor as a stepping stone.
While Democrat Brad Henry, the Chairman of the State Senate Judiciary Committee was squeaking past Republican Congressman Steve Largent for the Governorship with 43.27% of the vote, Laura Boyd, the unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1998, was losing to the Republican incumbent Lieutenant Governor with 38.95% of the vote. This must have been especially disheartening because Ms. Boyd received 40.93% of the vote in her unsuccessful run for Governor in 1998.
To demonstrate, once again, the incredible subtlety of the election results when all the votes are counted, the interplay of the Oklahoma Governors and Lieutenant Governors races in 1998 and 2000 are a textbook example.
Brad Henry won the Governorship with 448,143 to Republican Steve Largent's 441,277. Laura Boyd got 440,511 votes in her losing bid for Lieutenant Governor. How much clearer can 766 votes be? Those 766 voters were telling Laura Boyd, in a very quiet way, that had she been the Governor candidate in 2002, she would have lost to Steve Largent. Even though the number of votes she received in 2002 exceeded the 357,552 she got in 1998, Laura's problem was that 103,345 of the 146,200 votes for independent Governor candidate Richardson went to Mary Fallen, the Republican Lieutenant Governor.
The point about the voters is that they were both brutal and gentle with Laura Boyd at the same time. They defeated her twice, and the second time she lost with a lower percentage of the vote for a lesser office (ouch!); but she received a higher number of votes. So, Laura can take comfort in the fact that more people voted for her in 2002 than in 1998, but they did so to tell her to get a new life and to tell the state to elect the Lieutenant Governor with the Governor.
John Nance Garner, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Vice-President for his first two terms, once said that the Vice-Presidency, "Isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit." The same can probably be said of Lieutenant Governor.
Link to Lieutenant Governor Spreadsheet
The Attorneys General, A Great Rung On the Ladder
If the Lieutenant Governor's position is the pitcher of warm spit, then the Attorney General's office is lined with gold. Twenty-nine states elected Attorneys General in 2002. While none of the eleven Lieutenant Governors managed to get elected to higher office, five Attorneys General managed to move on to higher positions in the election.
Three Attorneys General were elected Governor: in Wisconsin, in Michigan and in Arizona; two were elected to the United States Senate: in Arkansas and in Texas, coincidentally the home states of the two most recent presidents. Perhaps there is a message in this, seeing as the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the state.
While Republicans won the vast majority of the Governors races, Democrats won the majority of the Attorneys General. The system of checks and balances is often supplemented with political checks and balances. Voters often feel that having the chief executive [Governor] of the state and the chief law enforcement officer [Attorney General] come from different political parties provides an added layer of protection from official malfeasance and shenanigans.
In 2002, 51,802,121 votes were cast for Attorney General candidates in 29 states. Republicans won 22,998,612 (44.4%) votes while the Democrats got 27,299,867 (52.7%). Independents received 1,503,642 (2.9%), but failed to win any seats. The Democrats beat the Republicans by 4,301,255; but here again, while winning a majority of the votes cast for Attorney General, the Democrats still failed to win a majority of the votes cast in the election. The Democrats received 49.3% of the 55,375,064 votes cast in the 29 states that elected Attorneys General.
Republicans won 12 of the races while the Democrats won 17. Twelve of the 28 races resulted in split party control between the Governor and the Attorney General. (One state, Delaware, elected an Attorney General without choosing a Governor.)
Of the 28 states that elected Governors and Attorneys General, 12 split the offices between opposing political parties and 16 selected the two from the same party. Of the 16 same party alignments, 9 were Republican and 7 were Democratic. (Of course, when the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election is included, the number of split party states rises to 13 with a corresponding fall in the number of same party states to 15. Also, the same party alignment then drops to 9 Republican to 6 Democratic.)
Here again, with the Attorneys General like all the other offices, the voters are splitting the difference between the two parties with the finesse of a well trained surgeon. With the Republicans dominating the governors races and the Democrats dominating the Attorney General races, then splitting control between the two parties in individual states, neither party manages to get commanding control at any level.
The net result was that Republicans controlled the three highest offices in only 8 of the 28 states, less than one-third; the Democrats held the three highest offices in only 6 states, less than a quarter. Exactly half of the states had one-party control of the highest offices, and that was split almost evenly between the two parties. This shows that, in 2002, voters voted for the candidate, not the party of the candidate.
Link to Attorney General spreadsheet
Secretaries of State
Twenty-five states elected Secretaries of State. The most important function of the Secretary of State is that they run the elections. Consequently, it is a dead end job politically. Voters do not want the person in charge of running elections to be using the office as a stepping stone to higher political office.
Consequently, there is tremendous stability in the Secretaries of States offices. Whereas the Lieutenant Governor (who usually runs the elections in the absence of a Secretary of State) is an office that should be politically allied with the Governor, the Secretary of State's office is almost non-partisan.
Except for Ella Tambussi Grasso of Connecticut, who actually went to the House of Representatives before being elected Governor in 1974, riding the crest of the wave of the burgeoning woman's movement, secretary of states have not had success in seeking higher office. Matt Fong of California failed to win a Senate seat in 1998. Joan Anderson Growe of Minnesota failed in her bid to become Governor. Incumbent Secretaries of State are notoriously difficult to unseat, but going from there to another office is just as tough.
Of the 25 Secretary races in 2002, only 2 changed party control. The result was that the Republicans won 13 races and the Democrats won 12. The Democratic candidates received 18,550,449 votes (49.69%) while the Republicans got 17,074,604 (45.74%). Independent candidates got 1,707,932 (4.58%), but no victories.
So, why did the Republicans win 13 races to the Democrats' 12 with 1,475,845 fewer votes? The answer is simple. The Democrats did not run candidates in two of the races: Wyoming and Idaho. The net result of allowing two candidates to run unopposed is that the Democrats had to win 13 (56.5%) of the remaining 23 contested races in order to win a majority, while the Republicans had only to win 11 (47.8%) of the 23 in order to win a majority.
With Wyoming and Idaho removed, Republicans won 47.28% of the two-party vote, while the Democrats got 52.7%, a lead of 5.42% when a margin of 8.7% was needed for the Democrats to win the majority of Secretary of State positions after not fielding candidates in two of the races. That is why the Republicans won a majority of the seats.
Link to Secretary of State spreadsheet
Treasurers, Auditors and Controllers : The Financial Officials
Twenty-four states have elected Treasurers. Of those 24 states, 10 also have elected Auditors and another 6 have elected Controllers (or comptrollers).
Like all of the other offices, the Treasurer elections split almost equally between the Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans got 14,425,277 votes (48.11%) to the Democrats' 14,215,468 votes (47.41%), for a margin of 209,809. Independent candidates, as usual, held the balance ; 1,342,045 votes (4.48%), but no victories. The Republicans won 13 of the Treasurer offices and the Democrats took 11.
Treasurers do for tax receipts and expenditures what Secretaries of State do for elections. They are the custodial administrators of the process. Similarly, they are hard to dislodge, only 3 of the 24 seats changed party control. Unlike Secretaries of State, Treasurers seem to have potential for gaining higher office. Alabama's Treasurer was elected Lieutenant Governor and Vermont's Treasurer was elected Governor. Massachusetts's Treasurer ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor, as did New York State's Comptroller.
A total of 29,982,790 votes were cast for Treasurer, out of 33,430,883 votes cast in the election. Only 88.5% of the voters cast ballots for Treasurer. Part of the fall-off is attributable to the three races where candidates ran unopposed. The impact of the unopposed races on the vote was equal between the two major parties.
Link to Treasurer Spreadsheet
Fifteen states elected Auditors, 10 of which had Treasurers, too. The Republicans won 9 races with 7,359,792 votes (46.25%) ; while the Democrats won 6 races with 7,922,074 votes (49.79%). In the auditors races, the vote discrepancy can be explained by the single instance of Republicans not running a candidate in Massachusetts. So, the Republicans received 0 votes when they normally can expect at least half a million, and the winning Democrat received 300,000 more than even the most successful contested candidate gets in Massachusetts. This explains the 562,282 Democratic margin even though the Republicans won the Auditors races two to 1. If the Republicans had run a candidate in Massachusetts, the Republicans would have had 200,000 or 300,000 more votes than the Democrats.. If the Republicans had run a candidate in Massachusetts (where the Republican candidate for Governor, Mitt Romney, was winning) the two parties would have been neck-in-neck, well below 50%, as in the other races. Independent auditor candidates got 629,820 votes (3.96%), but again failed to win any races.
Auditors are stable officeholders, too. Only one of the 15 races resulted in change of party and none of the Auditors sought or attained higher office.
A total of 15,911,686 votes were cast for Auditor out of 17,457,013 ballots cast in the election. That means 90.29% of the voters cast ballots for auditor, almost 2% higher than for Treasurer. One reason for that is that 1 in 8 Treasurer candidates ran unopposed, while only 1 in 15 Auditor candidates had no major party opponent. This proves the truth of the free market assumptions. Voter turnout rises with the number of choices. The fewer the choices, the fewer people vote.
Link to Auditor Spreadsheet
Controllers (or Comptrollers)
Nine states had controller or comptroller races. Of these, six also had Treasurer races. Here again, the results were close. The Republicans got 11,064,187 (46.76%) and 4 victories ; while the Democrats got 11,440,256 (48.35%) and 5 winners. Independents got 1,154,964 (4.88%) but, as usual, no prizes.
Two of the 9 controller positions changed from Democrat to Republican control. Overall, 23,659,407 people voted for controllers out of 25,441,670 who cast ballots in those nine states, for a 92.47% participation rate.
Treasurer, Auditor and Controller are dull offices that voters take quite seriously. Of the 19 states that have two elected financial officers, 15 have both of the same political party. Voters want their financial officials to work together and not use the offices for partisan political purposes.
Of the 25 states that elected Governors and financial officials, just over half, 13, were split the Governor from the party of at least one of the financial officials ; while 12 were of the same party, 9 Republican to 3 Democratic.
Link to Controller and Comptroller Spreadsheet
Superintendents of Public Instruction and Commissioners of Agriculture - Surprisingly Important Officials
Seven states elect their highest education official. It is called the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona, Idaho, Oklahoma and Wyoming ; School Superintendent in Georgia ; Superintendent of Education in South Carolina ; and Commissioner of Education in South Dakota.
Democrats won four of these education positions and Republicans won three. Republicans got 2,912,994 votes (47.23%) to the Democrats 3,102,220 (50.29%). Independents got 152,999 (2.48%), but again, no winners. And here again, the Democratic majority in the votes for the education officials disappears when when compared to the total number of ballots cast in the election.
Voters consider the highest state school official to be a very important office. Out of the 6,409,485 ballots cast ; 6,168,213 were cast for the education official, or 96.08%. In Idaho and South Carolina, the School Superintendent's race ran 3rd, behind Governor and U.S. Senator, but ahead of the U.S. House of Representatives. It ran 4th in Wyoming, after Governor, Senator and the votes cast for the House of Representatives. It was 5th in Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma ; and 10th in South Dakota.
It is rare for any statewide office other than Governor, Lieutenant Governor and United States Senator to receive more votes than the House of Representatives. The fact that Superintendent of Public Instruction occasionally exceeds the turnout for federal office shows the importance voters attach to this office. The better than 96% voter participation rate, compared to less than 93% for Controllers, 91% for Auditors and 89% for Treasurers demonstrates that in a fundamental sense the electorate considers the person who oversees education to be more important than the custodians of their taxes.
Link to Superintendent of Public Instruction spreadsheet
Commissioner of Agriculture
Six states elect Commissioners of Agriculture. Called the Commissioner of Agriculture in five states, only Iowa calls the office Agriculture Secretary. Like the school officials, Agriculture turns out to be a very important office for the voters. Some 14,617,817 votes were cast for Commissioner of Agriculture out of a total of 15,268,741, for a participation rate of 95.55%, just shy of Public Instruction's 96.08%.
The two parties split the offices 50 - 50, three each. Republicans got 7.786,335 (53.27%) to the Democrats' 6,567,428 (44.93%). Independents received 263,707 (1.81%). The 1,218,907 vote discrepancy is due to the fact that the Republicans won in the big states of Texas and Florida. It is interesting to note that five of the six states that elect the Commissioner of Agriculture are in the South. Only Iowa, which also is the only one to call the office Secretary of Agriculture, is not in the South.
Voters consider agriculture and education to be very important issues.
Link to Commissioner of Agriculture spreadsheet
Public Service Commissioners
Four states elected seven Public Service Commissioners. Alabama, which elected two, one for a four year term and another for a six year term, split the two between a Republican and a Democrat. The other five seats all went Republican : two each in Georgia and South Dakota, with a singleton in North Dakota.
The lopsided 6 to 1 result was clearly not reflected in the vote totals which, according to the norm of the 2002 election, left the Republicans with 3,728,075 votes, or just over half at 50.59%, and the Democrats with 3,368,922 votes (45.72%). Independents, true to form had no victors and received 270,098 votes or 3.7%.
The total number of votes for Public Service Commissioner (Public Utilities Commissioner in South Dakota) was 7,369,308, which was 94.83% of the 7,750,140 votes cast in the election. True to form, although the Republicans won their six seats with over 50% of the vote for the office, when compared to the total number of ballots cast in the election, the Republicans received only 48.1% of the vote.
The clearly anomalous result in the Public Service Commission races, where a mere 359,153 vote difference, less than 5%, resulted in the party with 45.72% of the vote winning 14% of the seats might be the result of the businesses and utilities which are regulated by the Public Service Commissions donating large amounts of money to the candidates who will protect the corporate interests, rather than those of the consumer and voter. Of the 10 statewide offices examined so far, the Public Service Commissioner races is the only one with an overwhelmingly lopsided result without a corresponding bias in the vote tallies.
Link to Public Service Commissioner Spreadsheet
Insurance, Corporation, Labor, Land, Mine and Railroad Commissioners, plus a Mine Inspector and Clerk of the Supreme Court
Four states elect Insurance commissioners. Once again the two-party horse race was evident. The Democrats and Republicans won two seats each. Republicans received 5,096,701 votes (48.29%), while the Democrats also fell below 50% with 4,870,790 votes (46.15%). Independents held the balance with 203,107 votes or 4.12%.
Less than 90% of the voters cast ballots for Insurance Commissioner, so both the Republicans and Democrats actually got less than 45% of the total vote.
The balance continued in that Democrats took the seat from the Republicans in California, while Republicans took the seat from the Democrats in Kansas. Interestingly, the Insurance Commissioner was the successful Democratic candidate for Governor in Kansas. So, Insurance Commissioner, like Treasurer, is an office with political legs.
Two states elected Corporation Commissioners : Arizona and Oklahoma. Like the Public Service Commissioners, both seats were won by Republicans. Republicans received 1,113,307 (52.38%) to the Democrats' 960,863 (45.21%) and the independent's 51,155 (2.41%). Here again, the Republican vote fell below 50% of the total number of ballots cast because 8.15% of the voters did not bother to vote in the Corporation Commissioners races.
Two states elected Labor Commissioners : Georgia and Oklahoma. Again, the parties split, one for the Democrats and the other for the Republicans. The Democrats just managed to eek out a majority of the vote with 50.02% (1,487,082) to the Republicans' 1,419,451 (47.74%). The independents got 66,710 (2.24%). Unsurprisingly, Labor Commissioner had a large participation rate with 96.01% of the voters casting ballots in the race. However, the high turnout was not enough to keep the Democrats' vote in absolute majority territory. It fell to 48.09% of the total ballots cast in the election.
Two states elected Land Commissioners : Arkansas and New Mexico. Here again, the parties split with Democrats winning in Arkansas and the Republicans winning in New Mexico. The Republican victor in New Mexico took the seat from the Democrats by 236,606 to 224,842 or 50.93% to 48.40%. An independent write-in candidate got 3,084 (0.66%). This Republican victory prevented the Democrats from having a clean sweep in New Mexico's statewide state offices. The Democrats won Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Auditor. Only the lone Commissioner of Public Lands, by a margin of 11,764 votes, stood in the way of a clean sweep. Still, the Republican did not get a majority of the total ballots cast in the election.
The pattern in this election is abundantly clear. Both the Republicans and Democrats are in the high 40% range. A small group of about 5% of the voters is voting first one way and then the other to make a checkerboard pattern of victors to prevent either party from having total control. Of the 31 states that held multiple statewide contests for state offices, only 8 had clean sweeps by one party. After the California recall election in 2003, that number dropped to 7. Those states were all Republican : Indiana, Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Nebraska, Idaho and Florida.
There were four bullet offices, one of a kind in each of four states, all won by Republicans. The Arizona Mine Inspector was elected with 57.05% of the vote. The Indiana Clerk of the Supreme Court was elected with 56.56%. The Texas Railroad Commissioner won with 54.81%. The Adjutant General in South Carolina had no Democratic opponent and won with 99.32% of the vote. When the total ballots cast in the election are included, the winning "unopposed" candidate received only 65.57%, less than two-thirds. Some contested candidates get a higher percentage. All four of these candidates won with a majority of the total votes cast in the election, probably a sign that the voters want to keep these anomalous offices as elected offices.
Link to Insurance, Corporation, Labor, Land, and Railroad Commissioner plus Mine Inspector, Clerk of Supreme Court, and Adjutant General spreadsheet
Conclusion to the Candidates
A quick glance at the candidates reveals many familiar names. Chet Culver is the Secretary of State in Iowa. His father, John Culver, was elected to the House of Representatives, unseating a Republican incumbent in the Democratic landslide of 1964, and then served one term in the United States Senate from 1975 to 1981. Governor George Wallace's son, George Wallace, Jr. is the Public Service Commissioner of Alabama, as a Republican no less. And Herbert Humphrey III, whose grandfather was Mayor of Minneapolis, United States Senator, and Vice-President of the United States failed to win a race for Secretary of State.
Drew Edmondson is the Oklahoma Attorney General. His father, Ed Edmondson, was a congressman from Oklahoma from 1953 to 1971. His uncle, John. Howard Edmondson, was elected the Democratic Governor of Oklahoma in 1958. He did not seek a second term and was going to be replaced by the winner of the 1962 election, the first Republican Governor in Oklahoma's history, Henry Bellmon.
The term of the Governor in Oklahoma ends on the second Monday in January. In 1963, the second Monday was January 14. On January 1, 1963, the United States Senator from Oklahoma, Robert S. Kerr, died ; creating a vacancy. Governor Edmondson resigned as Governor allowing the Lieutenant Governor, George Nigh, to become Governor. Then, on January 7th, with only a week remaining in their terms, Governor Nigh appointed J. Howard Edmondson to the United States Senate. In 1965, Oklahoma changed the law on succession to provide for a special election within 30 days to fill a vacancy in the House or Senate. George Nigh went on to be elected Governor of Oklahoma in 1978 and 1982. Ironically, he was succeeded in 1986 by Henry Bellmon.
Inherited power was alive and kicking in the election of 2002, just as it had been in the 2000 election.
The State Legislatures
Forty-seven states elected members of the state legislature in 2002. Only Nebraska has a unicameral (one house) non-partisan (no political parties) state legislature. The other forty-six states elect Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
There were 1,263 partisan state senate elections in 2002. Republicans won 613 (48.53%), Democrats won 648 (51.3%) and independents won 2 (0.15%). Even so, of the 42 states with partisan state senate elections, the Republicans won 24 (57.1%), the Democrats carried 17 (40.4%), and 1 (2.3%) was tied. Given the fact that the United States Senate was tied at the end of the hotly contested 2000 election, and that the New Jersey State Senate was tied after the Gubernatorial election of 2001, it is safe to say that the parties are pretty evenly matched.
Of the 1,263 partisan races, 442 (35.00%) ran without a major party opponent. Of the 613 winning Republican candidates, 209 (34.09%) ran without a democratic opponent ; and of the 648 victorious Democrats, 233 (35.96%) ran without a Republican opponent. Over one-third of the State Senators ran without major party opponents. The good news, if it can be called that, is that the percentage of unopposed dropped slightly (-0.26%) from 1998.
Wyoming, the putative home state of Dick Cheney, had the highest percentage of unopposed state senators with 73.33%. Number two was John Kerry's Massachusetts with 67.50% unopposed. Number three was Bill Clinton's Arkansas with 65.71%, followed by Jeb Bush's Florida with 65.0% and rounding out the top five was the Bush family's adopted state of Texas with 61.29%.
Michigan was the only one of the 47 states to have a contested race in every one of the state Senate districts. Washington had the biggest drop in contested state senate races ; the unopposed were up 25% from 29.17% to 54.17%. Hawaii and Idaho saw the biggest rise in contested races, the unopposed state senate races dropped 40% ; from 80% to 40% in Hawaii, and from 62.86% to 22.86% in Idaho.
Even the 28 non-partisan officers in the Nebraska state legislature saw a rise in unopposed contests ; from 28% in 1998 to 42.86% in 2002. This should be ample proof that moving to a nominally non-partisan form of government does not make the elections any more democratic.
There were 4,957 state representative races in 2002. The Republicans won 2,509 (50.61%) to the Democrats' 2,435 (49.12%) and the independents' 13 (0.26%). Of the 45 states that elected state representatives, the Republicans won 25, the Democrats won 19 and one (Indiana) was split, literally 50-50.
There were 43 states that elected members of both houses. Thirty states kept both houses in the hands of the same party, while 13 states divided control between the two parties. Of the 30 states that gave control of the legislature to the same party, 24 also elected Governors. Of those 24 states with legislative control in the same party, 13 gave the Governor to the other party. Just 11 of the 24 states gave the Governor control of the legislature, and that number dropped to 10 after the California recall election in 2003.
Only 7 of the 36 states that elected Governors had a single party sweep of all statewide offices and the legislature. That number dropped to 6 after the California recall election of 2003. This is pretty clear proof that the whole country is up for grabs. This means that in the last two years, both parties were able to win in 32 of the 38 states that held statewide contests.
Of the 4,957 state representative candidates, 1,933 (38.99%) ran without major party opposition. This was a 3.62% improvement over the 42.31% unopposed in 1998. Of the 2,509 winning Republicans, 953 (37.98%) ran without Democratic challengers. Of the 2,435 Democrats, 978 (40.16%) ran without Republican opponents. Even 2 (15%) of the 13 independent winners ran without either Republican or Democratic opponents.
Link to Legislature spreadsheet
Conclusion to the partisan elections
It is clear from the analysis of the 2002 elections that it was a close race all across the country. The United States is basically split, not in half, but in thirds. About 30% to 40% of the country is solidly in the camp of either the Republican or the Democratic Parties. But those solid places are evenly divided between the two parties. So, the Democrats have an uncontested 15% to 20%, and the Republicans have an equally uncontested 15% to 20%.
The other two-thirds of the country is up for grabs, with unaffiliated voters, not yet organized or strong enough to win a significant number of races, but definitely the decision-makers in the contest between the Republicans and Democrats. These independents are trying to add an extra level of political checks and balances to the state and federal government by keeping the two parties evenly matched as much as possible.
This reality is reflected in the polls which show support for both parties in the mid-40% range, with the balance held by independent voters. It is also reflected in the voter registration statistics, where Democrats and Republicans each command the allegiance of 20% to 25% of the voters, with a majority in most states being unaffiliated.
The benefit of this closely divided electorate and government is that it magnifies the importance of every individual voter and elected representative. The closer the election, the more every vote counts and the harder the candidates need to work to walk that tightrope of attracting independents while keeping intact their partisan base.
The 2004 presidential race promises to be a repeat of the 2000 and 2002 elections. The likelihood of a landslide by either party is extremely remote. The probable outcome will be a continuation of the same, a closely divided government. The result will be that nothing will be able to go forward without a broad consensus of the whole country. Clearly the war in Iraq, the public and private debt structure of the American economy, and employment will be the major problems of the next administration.
There were 204 ballot questions in 41 states on the November 5, 2002 General Election ballot. Five of the states had only 1 ballot question and six states accounted for one-third of the total. One hundred twenty-four of the 204 ballot questions passed, for a rate of 60.1%.
The hot button contentious issues, as usual, were life-style questions. A proposal to direct the Governor of Arizona to approve a new gaming contract with the indian tribes with 1% to 8% of the gross receipts going to the state barely eeked into passing territory with 50.87% of the vote. But a companion gambling issue to permit horse and dog tracks to operate slot machines lost by almost 4 to 1. In neighboring New Mexico, a proposal to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a holiday got the most votes of any issue. It lost by almost two to one. A similar proposal in neighboring Colorado lost by almost four to one.
In Louisiana, a proposal to cap the income tax rate and eliminate sales tax on food, gas, electricity and drugs passed with 51.35% of the vote. Oregon overwhelmingly rejected the labeling of genetically modified or engineered foods. Georgia emphatically made tax defaulters ineligible to hold public office. Colorado's attempt to mandate English Language Education attracted only 43.78% of the votes. Nebraska, also, had a ballot proposal to eliminate the English requirement for private schools which failed by an almost identical 43.31%. Massachusetts, on the other hand, voted by 67.82% that all children must be taught in English. In other words, while most voters are unwilling to mandate English exclusively in the schools, they are equally unwilling to condone its elimination, even in private schools.
Over 70% of Florida's voters approved a proposal to eliminate smoking in the workplace. South Dakota's initiative to legalize marijuana received almost 38% of the vote. Nevada could muster just less than 40% of the vote to legalize and tax less than 3 ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Arizona did the best with 42.65% voting in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. North Carolina's initiative referendum to allow treatment instead of jail for drug offenders, passed with over 70% of the vote. In the District of Columbia a proposal to permit treatment instead of jail for drug offenders passed overwhelmingly with 78.17% of the vote. So, while support for legalizing and taxing marijuana hovers at 40% of the voters, by a landslide they see drug use as a health rather than a crime problem. Ohio was the exception to this pattern. A proposal for treatment instead of incarceration plus $247 million lost two to one. Maybe the money killed it. The fact that this issue is being raised in states like Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, South Dakota and North Carolina, predominantly Republican non-urban states, shows that the drug problem is no longer a concern only among minorities in the central cities.
It might almost be said that the drug laws and their application is a kind of apartheid, designed to criminalize minorities and deprive them of their voting rights. A collateral confirmation of this attitude is shown by Oklahoma's decision to outlaw cock fights (a pastime of poor, mostly immigrant workers) by a margin of 56.19%.
A $500,000,000 veterans housing bond in Alaska, which passed by just over 70% of the vote, rounds out the top ten issues in the 2002 election. The interesting thing to note is that only 2 of the top 10 dealt directly with money. The rest were basically sin and lifestyle issues. So, if you want to get people to the polls, sin and lifestyle is the way to do it. That is why George Bush's election strategy will be to run on his opposition to gay marriage and hope the electorate forgets about the mess in Iraq and the economy. In Nevada, 67.2% of the voters approved a question that defined marriage between a man and woman only. Eighty more ballots were cast on the legalizing marijuana question than on the marriage question. But the irony is that at least 21,055 Nevadans who voted to legalize pot also voted to restrict marriage to a man and woman only. Libertarian on one hand, puritanical on the other. This is another reason why the 2004 election will be close. Lifestyle issues make it difficult to predict how people will vote.
For example, if reviving the draft becomes an issue because of the cost of the war in Iraq and the prospect for future conflicts against bigger nations like Iran; that will bring in a whole host of lifestyle issues like the drafting of women and gays.
The Categories of Ballot Questions
After the hot button life-style issues, the ballot questions fall into five categories : money, taxes, elections and government operations. There is a sub-class of government operations that have financial or tax implications. Money, taxes and elections are each about 1/6th of the total questions, with governmental operations another 1/3. The remaining 1/6th are lifestyle and scattered among judicial, health, education or overlapping.
Money and Taxes
After the contentious lifestyle issues, money and taxation came next in importance. Things like real estate tax exemptions for seniors, disabled and veterans passed everywhere. Oklahoma even voted by 54.57% to allow abatement of taxes if paying them would force someone into bankruptcy. Nevada, also, voted for abatement of taxes if it would create a hardship for the homeowner. All the education bonds passed. Only a Maine proposal to build a new prison went down to defeat.
Oregon increased the minimum wage, Florida reduced class sizes and voted for universal pre school education. Basically, education bonds and reforms passed everywhere. California approved kindergarten and university bonds, before and after school tutoring programs and housing and emergency shelter bonds. Alaska approved museum and education bonds. New Mexico approved senior citizens, library and public education as well as water, wells and dam bonds. Only spending for state facilities was defeated in New Mexico. Tennessee approved a lottery for higher education loans, elementary school capital construction and early learning and after school programs. Oregon approved a bond to make school buildings able to withstand earthquakes. Virginian overwhelmingly approved a $900,488,645 educational facilities bond along with one for parks and recreation.
Pennsylvania approved a bond for fire and emergency services.
Schools did not get a blank check, however. Nevada refused to exempt public school construction costs from the debt limit.
There were a lot of proposals for tax abatements which have an indirect monetary effect. A Missouri proposal for a added cigarette tax to pay for health and early childhood programs lost by a narrow margin ; 49.15% to 50.85%. Washington voted to increase fuel, vehicle sales and truck taxes. Massachusetts defeated a proposal to abolish the income tax. Georgia overwhelming voted to extend tax exemptions to the spouses of war dead. Arizona increased taxes on cigarettes but voted to freeze the property tax valuation of the elderly if their income was less than 500% of social security. Oklahoma exempted storm shelters from property tax and Florida exempted construction of living quarters for parents and grandparents. Georgia voted to allow different tax rates for contaminated property and to allow tax incentives for the redevelopment of blighted property, Washington narrowly raised the license tab fees for cars and light trucks, Georgia exempted people over the age of 62 with annual net incomes of less than $10,000 from school taxes and increased the exemption for personal property from $500 to $7,500, Virginia voted to exempt charitable property by local law and West Virginia voted to allow the issuance of bonds for economic development to be paid for by the taxes on the project. Hawaii voted to allow tax exempt state bonds for not-for-profit private and religious schools.
The gravy train came to an end in Nevada where attempts to exempt motor racing from sales tax garnered only 21.82% of the vote and refused to exempt farm machinery from sales and use taxes. Utah refused to allow a property tax exemption for private land used by government. Georgia declined to allow separate valuations for qualified affordable residential developments, or to exempt medical societies and non-profit historical museums from property tax. Louisiana refused to exempt developers of retirement communities from ad valorem tax and California refused to require that 30% of the money from sales or lease taxes on cars be used for transportation. Georgia refused to exempt commercial fishing vessels from property tax or to allow different tax rates for dockside facilities and seafood processing plants. Louisiana would not exempt drilling rigs used beyond territorial waters from ad valorem tax, and North Dakota voted to eliminate the property tax exemption for conservation unless the state legislature approves.
Generally, money was spent and tax breaks approved on relatively higher voter turnout while proposals were rejected on relatively lower turnout.
Election matters are also considered important by the voters. Three states rejected the idea of calling a constitutional convention : Alaska, Missouri and New Hampshire. Alaska was the most negative with 71.64% opposed, then Missouri with 65.44%. New Hampshire was the closest with 50.87% against. The voters do not want to give free rein to the politicians to tinker with the constitution.
Colorado refused to permit Election Day voter registration, part of the unspoken historical Republican strategy of treating the more highly mobile young and minority voters with suspicion. The idea that there is a significant danger of illegal voting in a system where barely half of those entitled to go to the polls are showing up is a good example of what Andrei Gromyko, the long time Soviet Foreign Minister, called "mass ideological psychosis." If the people who are eligible will not bother to go to the polls, clearly those who are ineligible will not show up, either. Colorado also voted against mail ballot elections by 57.59% to 42.41%. California, by an almost identical margin of 59.40% to 40.60%, also refused to allow same day voter registration.
Oklahoma refused to raise the number of voters needed to propose some constitutional amendments from 8% to 15% and Oregon refused to reduce the minimum age for state legislators from 21 to 18. Hawaii won the prize for the highest margin on a question when over 90% voted that candidates must be a resident of the district before filing nomination papers. This is a significant thing in Hawaii where write-in voting is not permitted.
Oregon voted by better than 3 to 1 to prohibit payment based on number of signatures gotten for initiative or referendum petitions. Montana voted to permit a reduction to 1/2 from 3/5th of the number of counties from which signatures for constitutional initiatives must be gathered. Idaho voted by the narrowest of margins, 50.23% to 49.77% to approve the repeal of term limits.
Wyoming voted to amend the constitution to permit the legislature to call a special session to resolve an electoral college dispute. Florida, by over 78%, voted to require an economic impact statement for constitutional amendments and revisions. Arkansas voted to ensure secrecy of votes by repealing Amendment 50, Section 3. Missouri voted to exclude less than half a term from the term limitation.
It was far from a free ride for election reform, also. Michigan declined to amend its election code to prohibit straight party voting on one lever and other changes. Colorado refused to exempt district attorneys from term limits and refused to require a petition to get on to the primary ballot. Oregon refused to require judges to be elected by district. Massachusetts overwhelmingly rejected tax financed campaigns and Wyoming rejected an amendment to permit the legislature to submit amendments directly to the voters without the Governor's approval. Nevada rejected a proposal to allow appointed judges to serve for 12 months before facing election. Florida refused to authorize Miami-Dade County charter amendments by local voters, keeping that power with the state. Missouri, on the other hand, voted to allow the City of St. Louis to amend the charter and reorganize county functions. And South Dakota rejected an amendment to require the legislature to reapportion if the plan is rejected by a federal or state court.
About 1/3rd of the ballot questions concern government operations. One-quarter of those have financial implications.
Louisiana narrowly refused to allow 35% of the medical trust fund for the elderly to be invested in stocks. Montana also rejected amendments to allow the investment of public funds and 25% of local government self-insurance funds in stock. South Carolina, on the other hand, voted to allow the Firefighters retirement system to invest in stocks. Washington voted for an initiative to require the police and fire retirement system to be managed by trustees. Oklahoma declined to allow school building funds to pay for county assessor costs of school inspection. It also rejected changes in the procedures of how the tobacco trust fund can be spent. Arizona rejected a proposal to lift the debt ceiling to 20% of assessed valuation for streets, bridges and right-of-way acquisition. It did, however, vote 70% to 30% to exempt sales tax and trust funds from aggregate spending limits. Utah did, however, vote to allow larger indebtedness (8% of assessed) for cities, bringing them in line with other governmental bodies. Maine voted to permit the issuance of short term debt that must be repaid with transportation funds within 12 months. Montana rejected initiatives to change the deregulation of electric rates and create a public power agency, and to create a commission to purchase and condemn dams. Nebraska declined to authorize the legislature to permit bonds for public development for non-profit use. Utah, however, did vote by over 62% to allow all interest from the school fund to be spent.
The remainder of the government issues basically deal with housekeeping, because voter approval is required for changes to basic government operations. Animals did well. Georgia agreed to allow dog and cat sterilization to be funded by special license plates. Florida voted to limit cruel and inhumane confinement of pigs during pregnancy. But Arkansas rejected an animal cruelty act.
Louisiana passed an amendment with 70% of the vote to require the removal of a public official convicted of a felony and by a lesser margin to change legislative session and rules for legislation ; and to change the procedure for the legislature to adjust appropriations. Florida voted to create 13 member local boards and a 17 member state board to manage the state university system. Maryland voted narrowly to permit the passage of emergency laws, meaning they could come into force immediately without the statutory waiting period.
New Mexico refused to repeal an article that forbids aliens from owning land unless provided by law, but permitted governments to provide help for affordable housing. Utah authorized boundary changes between counties and approved an amendment to prohibit business from being transacted during special legislative sessions without 48 hours notice. Alaska again declined to move the location of the legislative sessions from Juneau to Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Oregon voted to remove racial references in obsolete sections of the constitution and Colorado repealed obsolete constitutional provisions, but Arkansas declined to revise its Executive Article. North Dakota agreed to join a multi-state lottery and Arizona voted to continue the state lottery commission. Alabama rejected the creation of a rainy day fund within the Trust Fund. Nevada voted against exempting construction of public schools from the debt limit. Utah changed the County Board of Equalization from the County Commissioners by over 70%. South Dakota voted to exclude weekends and holidays from the time period allowed the Governor to veto legislation. Arizona vetoed a proposal to permit public land exchanges. New Mexico voted narrowly to change the State Highway Commission name to State Transportation Commission. Colorado overwhelmingly allowed the legislature to make the qualifications for coroner. An Alaska initiative authorized the creation of a state Gas Pipeline development Authority. Florida voted that exempting public meetings or public records from being open to the public requires a 2/3rds vote. Colorado rejected a proposal for public ownership of all health facilities. Louisiana defeated an amendment to establish legal qualifications of coroners. Maryland voted to permit the appointment of licensed real estate appraisers for eminent domain proceedings. But Michigan declined to grant classified employees (managerial, state police) collective bargaining rights by 54.36% to 45.64%. Missouri voted to authorize joint entities to own joint projects. Nevada voted against repeal of the constitutional rule against perpetuities. Oklahoma declined to allow laws that limit the liability of contractors doing business with the state. Rhode Island passed an amendment establishing the co-equal branches of government. Washington revised unemployment insurance classes and West Virginia allowed counties and municipalities to propose excess levies for 5 years, like the schools. Wyoming declined to limit the line item veto to general appropriations bills.
Kentucky voted to allow the Supreme Court to designate family courts and to permit the General Assembly to provide for corporation formation by law. Mississippi declined to extend the chancery court judges term from 4 to 6 years. Virginia voted to allow the Supreme Court to consider the actual innocence, and not have to wait to act on an appeal from a lower court. New Hampshire voted for the Chief Justice to be the administrative head of the courts. South Dakota rejected a proposal to allow criminals to argue the applicability of sentencing laws. Arizona voted to jail drug users if they violate probation or refuse treatment, and by better than 4 to 1, to add sex assault and sexual contact with and molestation of someone under the age of 15 to the list of offenses not eligible for bail. The District of Columbia voted to create the office of District Attorney. California voted to delete obsolete municipal court references, making all courts superior courts. Hawaii voted to allow the initiation of felony prosecutions by written information of the prosecutor (not grand jury). New Mexico voted to eliminate outdated judicial districts. Tennessee voted to permit the General Assembly to prescribe the maximum fine without a jury. Vermont voted to retire judges at age 70. And Texas voted to abolish the office of constable if it remains vacant for a reasonable time.
Link to questions spreadsheet
Conclusion to the Issues and Election
As in other years, the issues went in importance from hot button life-style issues to financial with the procedural housekeeping items being the least significant.
In general, issues that were clear, simple and direct in their purpose passed, while subtle, complicated or indirect questions lost. Voters need to be sure what they are voting for if a question is to pass.
Also, the 2002 elections clearly demonstrate that voters are in a picking and choosing mode. They pay careful attention, try to choose wisely and are generally wary and distrustful of their partisan elected officials.
All in all, one would have to conclude that the 2002 election was not a good election. The voters were unable to set a clear direction for the government and the consequences were war and huge deficits on the national, state and local levels.
The prognosis for 2004 is : more of the same.
Return to Institute of Election Analysis Home Page
Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf