III. Legislative Updates
California: Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) has introduced legislation that would move California’s primary from June to March. “Super Tuesday is really the first national test of a candidate’s strength and California ought to be included in that national test; we ought to be given the fact we’re the sixth largest economy in the world and that one out of every eight Americans calls themselves a Californian,” Mullin told The Daily Journal.
Iowa: Secretary of State Paul Pate has unveiled an election integrity proposal that would require all Iowans to show an ID in order to vote. Acceptable IDs would include driver’s licenses, passports, military IDs and new, free IDs available to eligible voters. College IDs would not be acceptable. Also under the plan, all precincts would be required to use e-poll books, absentee ballots would require an ID number and the law would also establish post-election audits.
Kansas: Rep. John Carmichael (D-Wichita) has filed a bill that would strip Secretary of State Kris Kobach of his authority to prosecute elections crimes. “Given the secretary of state’s incompetent prosecutorial abilities, I thought it was appropriate to return those responsibilities to professional prosecutors,” Carmichael told the Kansas City Star.
Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would change the timing of special election to be held in the event of a vacancy in the 4th Congressional District. According to KMUW, Kansas law conflicts with federal law on the timing to replace members of Congress.
Nebraska: Sen. John Murante of Gretna introduced legislation to return Nebraska to a winner-take-all presidential electoral vote system and offered a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize creation of voter ID requirements in the state. The voter ID measure would be submitted to a vote of the people.
Also in Nebraska, Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha has introduced a voting rights bill that would eliminate the two-year waiting period for ex-felons to re-establish their voting rights.
In other legislation, LB 163 would require the state’s three largest counties to each provide at least three early voting locations with extended hours.
New York: During his state of the state speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a series of election reforms including allowing New Yorkers to vote up to 12 days before an election. He also proposed automatic voter registration.
Tennessee: State Rep. G.A. Hardaway has filed legislation to legalize ballot selfies. “The ban on selfies makes no sense,” Hardaway told the Memphis Daily News. “It causes our already overworked and underpaid election workers, those at the polls, to have to pay attention to enforcing the law that, in essence, violates the constitutional rights of our young folks who are known to live, to communicate by digital means.” No word on whether the legislation has been named in honor of Justin Timberlake.
Virginia: Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) have each proposed legislation that would require Virginia voters to register with one party or another and those who don’t may be ineligible to vote in primaries.
Also in Virginia, Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Spotsylvania) has proposed legislation that would require proof-of-citizenship when registering to vote. Under the proposal, anyone registering to vote after Jan. 1, 2018 would have to provide copies of a document proving their citizenship—passport, birth certificate, naturalization papers, or Bureau of Indian Affairs card.
Wyoming: Legislators will consider a bill that would automatically restore the voting rights of non-violent offenders who have completed the terms of their sentence. Currently, some non-violent offenders have to apply to have their rights reinstated.