You’ve heard the presidential candidates fight it out. We’ll probably keep hearing from them for quite a while, no matter what the result is.
But if you kept voting down your ballot, you probably voted for representatives to your state government. And this year, some people thought more than a handful of statehouses could flip from one party to another.
Across the country, Democrats had the chance to flip 10 statehouses on election night, but six of the 10 remained under GOP control, while four are still counting results and remain too close to call.
“There are still states that are counting so I don’t think we’re going to know the final numbers, but from what I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t seem like Democrats are kind of getting the statehouse wins that they were hoping for. My best guess at this point is Republicans will control the majority of statehouses once all the vote are counted,” said Sarah Chattfield, a political science professor at the University of Denver.
She’s been watching the statehouse races.
Statehouses have a ton of impact on state laws, budgets for important programs and schools, and they draw the lines for election districts every 10 years.
“This year, we all just finished out the census and as a result of that, states are going to be redrawing their legislative districts. Some states do that with an independent commission, but the most common way is the state legislature redraws those districts,” said Chattfield.
Every 10 years in the US, we redraw our legislative districts based on population. In many states, it becomes political.
“If your party is in control of the state legislature, you can then draw districts to benefit your party,”
So, the stakes were extra high this year. But in addition to redistricting, states control the state laws that impact the people in their states from speeding tickets to abortion to school funding to election laws, which we are seeing have a very real impact on the presidential race.
“A huge amount of variation across the states in whether you’re in an all-mail state, or states where there’s very little absentee balloting and people have to show up. All of those are things that states are able to control,” said Chattfield.
The impacts from the 2020 election across statehouses will shape the futures of many Americans for about a decade to come.