V. Legislative Update
California: Kevin Mullin (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation this week that would require a state-funded recount manual tally for any statewide office or ballot measure with a margin of victory of one-tenth of 1 percent.
A proposal that would have offered cash prizes to voters in Los Angeles who bothered to show up and vote has died in the city council. According to the Los Angeles Times, City Council President Herb Wesson said that he wants more time to consider the idea of using money or other gifts to lure voters to the polls.
District of Columbia: The Council of the District of Columbia is considering legislation that would move the city’s primary back to the first Tuesday in September while holding a presidential primary in June every four years. It’s unclear how the city would remain in compliance with the federal MOVE Act since it does election a non-voting Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would also lower the number of early voting centers from eight to four and would make the deadline for absentee ballots 7 p.m. on Election Day — although polls close at 8 p.m. The legislation passed it’s first reading, but still must come back for a second.
Illinois: A House committee has approved legislation that would make same-day registration permanent in Illinois, as well as extend early voting and easing the process to vote on college campuses. The original legislation made the changes only effective for the recent November election, the new legislation would make the changes permanent and go into effect in June 2015. The House approved the legislation on Wednesday and the Senate is expected to follow suit this week. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Indiana: The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on December 9 in former Secretary of State Charlie White’s appeal of his conviction of voter fraud.
Kansas: Lawmakers are once again set to consider the feasibility of moving local and school elections to even-numbered years in an effort to save money and resources. This will be at least the 10th time lawmakers have considered such a move in the last five years.
Michigan: During the Legislatures three-week “lame duck” session, lawmakers considered legislation to change how the state’s electoral votes are allotted. Under the proposal, the winner of the popular vote would get nine of the state’s 16 electoral votes and earn another vote for every 1.5 percent of the vote above 50 percent. The bill was tabled.
Minnesota: The City of Minneapolis is pushing lawmakers to make the necessary changes to allow for more bilingual poll workers. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, currently voters are permitted to bring their own interpreters with them, but clerks would like the state to make the necessary legislative changes so they can provide bilingual poll workers across the city. “Here in Minneapolis, the importance of this issue has been growing with each election,” Anissa Hollingshead, an analyst for the city clerk’s office told the council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee. “As one of the people who has been directly involved in voter education and outreach work in the city, I can say this is both a wonderful and challenging problem.”
New Jersey: This week, the Senate approved legislation that would require each county to establish early voting locations for 15 days in advance of elections. The legislation was approved 21-15. Existing laws allows New Jersey voters to vote-by-mail, but not in-person.
Ohio: Backers of a bill to require a photo ID to vote in the Buckeye state are circulating a “discharge petition” that would pull the bill from a committee where it currently sits and send it directly to the House floor.
Wyoming: The Wyoming Legislature is set to consider legislation that would move the Cowboy State to vote centers. While some legislators are questioning the move due to the large geographic size of counties, Secretary of State-election Ed Murray is supportive, as are county clerks who argue that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find election judges. The session begins January 13.