IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has re-introduced two election reform bills. The Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act would end restrictions some states impose on voting absentee. The Federal Election Integrity Act would prohibit the chief election official of a state from serving on a federal campaign committees or engaging in other political activity on behalf of federal candidates.
Colorado: Senate Democrats attempted to amend a campus free speech bill to include voter registration activity among the kids of “speech” the bill marks out in particular for protection. All 18 Senate Republicans voted down the amendment.
Florida: Sen. Aaron Bean (R) has proposed legislation that would make the secretary of state position an elected position. Currently the secretary of state is appointed by the governor. If approved, the first secretary of state election would be in 2020.
Also in Florida, Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) and Rep. Don Hahnfeldt (R-Villages) have introduced legislation that would allow concealed carry in polling places.
Idaho: Rep. Don Cheatham (R-Post Falls) has introduced legislation that would allow conceal carry permits to serve as an acceptable form of ID in order to vote. The legislation has been approved by the House State Affairs Committee.
Illinois: House Bill 2472 seeks to abolish electoral boards for municipalities, townships and community colleges and transfer the duty of hearing ballot objections to county electoral boards. Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said the legislation was introduced because in many cases the lack of knowledge of election law or outright political reasons translate to unfair treatment of objections to candidacies for local races.
Iowa: Secretary of State Paul Pate is proposing legislation that would require political organizations to promptly turn in voter registration forms they collect. Under Pate’s plan, prosecutors would be authorized to file charges against parties, campaigns and other that wait longer than seven days to submit completed voter registration forms.
Montana: Rep. Derek Skees (R-Kalispell) has introduced HB-357 that would require voters to show photo ID in order to vote. When speaking on behalf of the bill at a House committee, Skees cited voter fraud—although none has been found in Montana—as a need for the bill.
Nevada: Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R-Reno) has introduced House Bill 164 that would mandate voters show an ID when casting a ballot. The bill contains a provision for free IDs provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Also in Nevada, SB 103 has been introduced and referred to the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. Under the proposed bill, Nevada would move to a modified blanket primary election system for partisan offices.
New Hampshire: By a 204-144 vote, the House has defeated a bill that would have banned firearms from polling places.
New Mexico: A House committee has approved House Bill 206 which would open New Mexico’s primaries to independent voters. The bill was introduced by a bipartisan team of legislators and is supported by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. It now moves to the House Judiciary Committee.
Ohio: Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) has introduced legislation that would automatically register people to vote if they've received veterans' or disability services or public assistance through the Department of Job and Family Services and when they get a driver's license or state ID card. Public and private school students would be registered when they turn 18.
The Toledo City Council is considering a charter proposal that would shift the municipal primary from September to May like 85 other Ohio counties.
Oregon: Initiative Petition 5 has been approved for signature gathering would require every voter in the state to provide proof-of-citizenship within two years—by 2020.
Utah: By a 73-0 vote the House approved HB105 that would extend early in-person voting until Election Day. Currently early voting ends the Friday before an election. If approved voting would be available through the Monday before an election.
Virginia: A Senate subcommittee voted to cut $4 million in new funding from the Virginia Department of Elections.
Wisconsin: Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has introduced a bill that would limit a candidate’s ability to request a recount. Only candidates who finish within one percent of the winner would be able to request a recount. The requesting candidate would still have to pay for the recount.