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electionlineWeekly — March 30, 2017

Table of Contents

IV. Legislative Updates

Arizona: Although Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has recently signed a citizen initiative bill, another bill is on a fast track. Under this legislation, elections officials would be required to toss out petitions if they don’t strictly comply with legal standards.

Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed a bill into law that will require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.

California: The Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee has approved an audit of Santa Clara County’s registrar of voter’s office. The county has suffered a series mistakes during elections since about 2010. “It’s not uncommon for administrative mistakes to be made, but the frequency of these mistakes is of particular concern,” Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), chair of the committee said. “And I don’t know of any other county having such issues.”

Florida: A House bill (HB 105) that would allow voters to fix mismatching signatures on their vote-by-mail ballots has been approved by the full House 113-0. A Senate companion bill has not yet had a hearing.

The House Government Accountability Committee has approved a bill that would change the dates for municipal elections in Tampa to every four years.

The Senate Rules Committee has approved SB 882 that would make the secretary of state’s position an elected instead of appointed one.

Indiana: A Senate committee has approved a “watered down” bill that would require the BMV to offer residents the chance to register to vote, but it would not automatically register anyone to vote as the bill had originally called for.

Also in Indiana, a bill that would reduce the number of Lake County precincts is on its way to the governor’s desk. The House voted 59-30 to approve the bill.

Iowa: The Senate has approved Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Election Integrity bill that would among other things, require a voter to show an ID, either a state-issued photo ID or special state-issued voter ID card.

Massachusetts: Several lawmakers have filed bills that would require Massachusetts to join ERIC. Membership could cost the state about $500,000 annually. One bill would automatically register voters who register a car or get a license from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Missouri: State lawmakers have rebuffed an attempt to increase the amount of spending for voter ID education. Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) suggested taking $3 million from the $16 million lottery budget to bolster the voter ID education efforts.

Montana: A bill that would have allowed county elections administrators to conduct an upcoming special election solely by mail has been tabled in a House committee. With the clock ticking on decision, Democrats had attempted to push the bill to a full House vote, but instead, the committee voted to table the bill, which for all intents and purposes ends any attempt to do an all-mail election because ballots need to be in the mail by April 10.

Nevada: Under Assembly Bill 293, the state’s political parties would be allowed to have presidential preference primaries instead of caucuses.

Also in Nevada, under Senate Bill 492, the state’s two largest counties — Clark and Washoe — would move to a vote center system for future elections.

New York: Assemblymember Robert Carroll has introduced a bill that would lower the state’s voting age from 18 to 17. Under the legislation, students would also be allowed to register to vote during high school civics classes. “Seventeen-year-old New Yorkers contribute to their communities. They hold jobs. They pay taxes. When they commit crimes, they are tried as adults. They should be full participants in our democracy,” Carroll told the Brooklyn Eagle. 

Oregon: By a 19 to 10 vote, the Senate has approved a bill that will allow residents to pre-register to vote beginning at age 16.

Texas: By a 21-10 vote, the Senate has given tentative approval to a bill that would revamp the state’s voter ID rules. Senate Bill would add options for Texas voters who say they cannot “reasonably” obtain one of the seven forms of ID currently required at the polls.

Virginia: Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) once again broke out his veto pen this time to veto several elections-related bills including Senate Bill 1253 that would have required electronic poll books to contain photographs of registered voters. He also vetoed Senate Bill 1455 that would made it a misdemeanor for a person to give, offer or promise monetary payment to another person in exchange for that person registering to vote.

West Virginia: The House Judiciary Committee has approved an amended version of a new voter ID bill and sent it to the full House for consideration. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the original bill would have required a state-issued photo ID to vote, but the new version of the bill only delays last year’s voter ID law until July 1, 2019. Under that legislation people can show a variety of forms of ID including utility bill and having someone vouch for you.