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electionlineWeekly — January 31, 2013

Table of Contents

IV. Legislative Update

Alaska: Under legislation (HB 3) introduced by Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage), voters would have to either show a photo ID to vote, or two non-photo IDs such as a birth certificate or government permit. Voters without the proper ID would need two elections workers to recognize them, instead of one, to cast a ballot. Lynn introduced similar legislation in 2011.

Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) has plans to introduce legislation that will allow for same-day registration in The Last Frontier.

Colorado: Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) is hoping that legislation he introduced will help Coloradans register to vote with greater ease. The legislation would allow 16-and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote when they get their driver’s licenses.

House Bill 1050, that would have required the secretary of state to electronically cancel the voter registrations of citizens found on a Dept. of Homeland Security database has been defeated with Democrats saying that it would take away people’s voting rights based on faulty data.

Hawaii: Following a series of miscues in the 2012 primary and general elections, Hawaii legislators are working to make changes. Aaron Ling Johanson (R-District 31), the House Minority Leader has introduced legislation that would give the state’s chief elections officer the power to supervise inexperienced clerk and would also require the chief elections officer to use a checklist when preparing for elections.

In other legislation, Rep. Sharon Har (D-District 42) has introduced legislation that would eliminate the state’s chief elections officer and elections commission altogether and transfer the responsibilities of elections to the lieutenant governor.

Idaho: Democrats introduced a collection of five bills this week under the title of the Voting Opportunity and Trustworthy Elections Initiative. Items in the legislative package include online-voter registration, early voting centers and requiring political parties to contribute to costs if they insist on a closed primary.

Iowa: Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock), have once again introduced voter photo ID legislation. According to The Associated Press, the bill (SB 435) resembles legislation introduced by Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R).

Michigan: With the support of Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) reintroduced legislation that would allow voters to cast a no-excuse absentee ballot. Currently, Michigan voters must meet certain criteria to vote absentee, but under HB 4058, no reason would be needed.

Woodrow Stanley (D-Flint) has introduced HB 4103 that would establish early voting in Michigan. Many local election clerks support early voting as a way to ease their workload in the days before the election.

Montana: Late last week, the House State Administration Committee tabled a bill that would have limited acceptable forms of voter ID to state driver’s license, non-driver ID cards and tribal ID cards. However the same committee advanced a bill that would end the state’s same-day voter registration law. The bill now moves to the House floor.

New Jersey: A Senate committee approved a bill this week that would institute early voting in the state. Under the legislation, polling places would be required to be open eight hours a day, seven days per week beginning 15 days before either a primary or general election. The bill (S2364) next moves to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

New Mexico: While some states are considering eliminating straight-party ticket voting, Democratic legislators in New Mexico want to bring the practice back after Secretary of State Dianna Duran eliminated it last year saying that state law did not specifically allow for it. Senate Bill 276 would codify the practice and require legislative action to eliminate it again in the future.

North Dakota: A series of bills introduced in the North Dakota Legislature has some county auditors concerned. Among the bills are legislation that would shorten the time for early and absentee voting and would double the amount of time someone must live in a precinct before being permitted to vote there.

House Bill 1332 would require a resident a resident to live in a precinct for at least 70 days before they are able to vote there.

House Bill 1238 would prevent local elections officials from sending absentee ballots more than 20 days before the election.

House Bill 1400 would cut the number of early voting days from 15 to seven.

Ohio: Sen. Nina Turner (D-District 25) this week introduced the Voter Protection Act that calls for online voter registration, early voting hours beginning 35 days before the election and stipulations to make it more difficult to disqualify provisional ballots.

Although it has yet to be introduced, Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) said this week that there is interest amongst House Republicans to reintroduce voter photo ID legislation.

South Carolina: This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced a bill that would allow for early voting in the Palmetto State. The bill (S 4) would provide for 10 days of early voting and direct local officials to set up at least one early voting center per county.

Utah: A bill that would have eliminated the state’s straight ticket voting was defeated 4-3 in the House Government Operations Committee. According to KUTV it is unlikely the bill will be revived.

Virginia: At press time, one bill to require photo ID to vote was dead in the Virginia House while a Senate bill survived a 7-6 committee vote. The bill (SB1256), which had to be amended to include a provision to provide free photo IDs, now moves on to a full vote by the Senate sometime this week.

Wyoming: Add Wyoming to a growing list of states considering voter photo ID in their current legislative sessions. The bill (SF134), introduced by Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower) would require a photo ID to cast a ballot. Currently residents need only show a photo ID when registering to vote. The bill failed to receive Senate committee approval and was pulled.