III. Legislative Updates
Alabama: According to a report in the Birmingham News, Gov. Robert Bentley is seeking legislatives support for a plan that would reopen 31 closed driver’s license offices. Under the plan a bridge loan from the governor’s emergency fund would pay to reopen the offices.
California: Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed AB1461 into law. Under the California Motor Voter law, any eligible resident doing business with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will be automatically registered to vote.
Brown also signed AB1504 into law that will allowMonterey and Sacramento counties to participate in an all vote-by-mail pilot program which is scheduled to sunset in 2018.
Florida: The City of Palm Beach council has agreed to allow the county to run the city’s elections in 2016 which means the city elections will move from Feb. 2, 2016 to March 15 when the statewide primaries are held.
Illinois: Rep. Mark Batinick R-Plainfield is proposing scaling back the state’s same-day registration law. Under his proposal, voters who wished to register on election day would only be allowed to do so at set locations instead of at the polls.
Also in Illinois, a hearing was held on proposed legislation that would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a driver’s license. Proponents of the bill say it will increase registration numbers and ultimately be a cost savings whereas those opposed, cited voter fraud and the costs of updating the driver’s license computer to system.
Minnesota: While the final decision is up to the voters this November, the mayor and members of the Duluth city council are speaking out in opposition to a ballot initiative that would move the city to ranked choice voting. "Quite frankly, in the city of Duluth with our nonpartisan elections, we don't have a problem. We have good voter participation," Mayor Don Ness said at a rally against the initiative this week.
Wisconsin: Legislation has been introduced that would allow for online voter registration however the bill, which initially had bipartisan support, has run into some trouble after several Democrats have withdrawn their support citing concerns including that it limits registration options for certain voters such as college students, the elderly and low-income residents.
Also in Wisconsin this week, lawmakers heard testimony about the proposed legislation that would restructure the state’s Government Accountability Board and according to many media reports, emotions ran high during the lengthy hearing. The Joint Committee on Campaigns and Elections didn’t take action on the legislation at this time.