IV. Legislative Updates
Florida: Gov. Rick Scott (R) has signed legislation into law that will expand the acceptable forms of ID for people to vote. The additional, acceptable forms of ID include a veteran health ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; a license to carry a concealed weapon; or an employee ID card issued by any branch of government.
District of Columbia: Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has introduced legislation that would require District officials to give oral and written notification to returning citizens about their renewed right to vote. Interestingly, the legislation was written by a high school senior who wrote it as part of his senior project about voter disenfranchisement.
Kentucky: An attempt to allow Kentuckians to vote early at least 12 days before an election failed to make its way out of committee before the General Assembly completed it’s work for 2016.
Maine: A legislative committee has unanimously approved a bill that directs the secretary of state’s office to begin the groundwork to switch Maine from a presidential caucus state to a primary preference election state.
Missouri: The Senate voted 25-4 to allow the secretary of state’s office to issue probable cause statements and take court cases related to election crimes. Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit), who is currently running for secretary of state, introduced the legislation.
Also in Missouri: Sen. Bob Onder (R, Lake St. Louis) is sponsoring a bill that would make paper ballots the only type of balls available for voters statewide in all elections.
Rhode Island: Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has signed legislation into law that will allow Rhode Island to become the 35th state in the union to offer online voter registration.
U.S. Virgin Islands: The Rules and Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would combine the territories two boards of elections into one board with 14 members. The bill now moves to the full Senate.
Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee has signed legislation into law that will prohibit elections officials from putting their names on the return envelopes for ballots or in voter guides in a year then they are running for election.
West Virginia: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed legislation into law that will require West Virginias to show an ID in order to vote. However, after extensive amendments by Democrats, the ID does not have to include a photo and can be any form of government-issued ID, any college or high school issued ID, a health insurance card, a utility bill, a bank card or statement or verification of ID by another adult who has known the voter at least six months, including a poll worker. Also tucked in the bill was language that makes West Virginia the third state in the nation to approve automatic voter registration. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.