IV. Legislative Updates
Arizona: Rep. Bob Thorpe has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to use a dormitory address “or other temporary college or university address” to register to vote in Arizona.
Colorado: Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) has introduced legislation that would give jurisdictions the option to use approval voting methods in nonpartisan elections. House Bill 17-0608 would allow voters to check as many candidates as they like in races where political affiliations aren’t on the ballot, such as city councils and school boards. But the law would not require any jurisdictions to use such methods.
Hawaii: Lawmakers in Hawaii are preparing to once again consider legislation that would transition the state to most a vote-by-mail state and that would automatically register voters when they got a new or renewed their driver’s licenses.
Indiana: A bill before the General Assembly would consolidate voting precincts in Lake County into smaller precincts. Rep. Harold Slager, R-Schererville, filed a bill to establish a commission to develop a plan to consolidate Lake County voting precincts with less than 600 active voters. Proponents say the legislation will create savings for the county, while detractors decry consolidation efforts as making it difficult for residents to vote.
Kansas: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has signed a quick-moving bill fixing state election laws governing special elections. The new law extends the length of time for a special election in order to ensure that absentee ballots can be mailed to military and overseas voters.
Kentucky: Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes has included early voting in her legislative agenda for 2017 and Rep. Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green) has introduced the legislation.
Michigan: Legislation has been introduced that would allow for no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration.
Missouri: Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) has introduced legislation that would implement ranked choice voting in Missouri by 2018.
Montana: Rep. Greg Hertz (R-HD-11) has introduced legislation that would remove Election Day as a state holiday. Hertz told Montana Public Radio that he was approached by several constituents about why some people got the day off when others did not. Linda Stoll with the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders and Election Administrators says county officials need government employee volunteers to help run polls. She testified against the bill.
New Hampshire: According to the Union Leader, as many as 40 bills to change the Granite State’s election laws will soon be working their way through the Legislature, but the paper opines that only a few will end up on the governor’s desk.
New Mexico: Democrats have introduced an amendment to the state’s constitution that would automatically register residents to vote when they received a new or updated license from the state’s motor vehicle division.
Utah: Like in Kansas, legislators in Utah are scrambling to update election laws in the likelihood that Rep. Chris Stewart may be appointed to serve in the new presidential administration. Currently Utah has no procedure for filing a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to Utah Policy, the current law states: "When a vacancy occurs for any reason in the office of a representative in Congress, the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy." The law does not specify how soon he has to call the election, and how that election will be conducted.
Virginia: The House elections subcommittee has killed several elections-related bills including one that would have eliminated the voter ID requirement for Virginians. Other vetoed bills would have expanded absentee and early voting and allowed out-of-state college IDs and IDs issued by nursing homes to the forms of ID acceptable for voting purposes.
Also in Virginia, following a bumpy special election where several polling places ran out of ballots, Sen. Steve Newman (R-Bedford County) announced plans to introduce a bill that would require local registrars to issue a certain percentage of ballots for special election.