III. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: This week House Democratic leaders announced a national campaign to pressure Republican leaders to hold a hearing or schedule a vote on an update to the Voting Rights Act.
California: Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County) has introduced legislation that would allow California voters to take ballot selfies and share them on social media or elsewhere. Levine said he introduced the legislation as a way to boost turnout out. “California law should encourage voter pride, political speech, and civic engagement through social media,” Levine said in a statement.
The Chula Vista Charter Review Commission voted 6-1 to propose new charter language that would give the city council the option of conducting all vote-by-mail elections in the event of a special election to replace the mayor or city council.
District of Columbia: Under proposed legislation in the District, not only would 16-year-olds be permitted to vote in local elections, they would also be able to cast their vote for president and delegate. The bill’s author, Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) argues that it does not violate the 26th Amendment and some law professors seem to agree.
Florida: A Senate budget committee has approved SB 112 that would replace absentee voting in the Sunshine State with vote-by-mail. Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) told the Tampa Bay Times that the term absentee has been outdated since 1997 when the Legislature dropped the requirement that voters provide an excuse to cast an out-of-precinct ballot.
Hawaii: County and state election official advocated for major voting reforms — including all-mail elections and automatic voter registration — during a joint legislative briefing Tuesday at the state Capitol that included members of the Senate Judiciary and Labor and House Judiciary committees.
Wisconsin: The Senate once again delayed action on two elections-related bills including one that would dissolve the state’s Government Accountability Board. The Senate will now convene on Friday to consider the legislation. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said that he has the votes necessary to approve the legislation.