III. Legislative Updates
Alabama: Senate Bill 108, which passed that chamber, and House Bill 372, require the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office to create rules and procedures to keep someone from voting in a runoff if they didn’t vote in the preceding primary. Last week, both bills were sent to the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee subcommittee for further review.
Alaska: By a 22-17 vote, the House has approved House Bill 1 which would allow Alaskans to register and vote on Election Day.
Florida: A bill that will allow elections supervisors to notify voters if their signature on file doesn’t match that on their vote-by-mail ballot is headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The bill would give voters more time to fix their signatures.
Hawaii: An all-vote-by-mail bill that many thought was sure to be approved has died because it failed to make it out of conference committee. House Bill 1401 would have moved all counties to vote-by-mail by 2020. It’s the third year in a row that a vote-by-mail measure has failed to make it out of conference committee.
Michigan: The House has approved two bills that would prohibit names and logos of political parties from appearing on election ballots.
Also in Michigan, a voters bill of rights has been introduced in the form of a constitutional amendment.
Nebraska: Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) has vetoed legislation that would have eliminated a two-year waiting period for ex-felons to regain their voting rights following the completion of their sentence. “While the rehabilitation of criminals is an important goal of the criminal justice system, the immediate restoration of voting rights is not the answer,” Ricketts said in his veto message. Sen. Justin Wayne has filed a motion to override the veto. It will take 30 votes to override the veto.
Nevada: Assembly Bill 412 would alter the rules to how recounts are conducted. Under current law, if a recount is requested, an initial sample recount is done from 5 percent of the total number of precincts that voted in the election in question. Under the bill, the initial 5 percent recount would be eliminated and instead all ballots would be recounted.
Rhode Island: The General Assembly is currently considering a bill that would mandate post-election audits. If approved, the Board of Elections would be responsible for determining which races are audited. Races must be audited within seven days and the results of the audit must be made available to the public.
Vermont: Under House Bill 512, sets more clear guidelines for conducting recounts. The bill has been approved by both the House and Senate, but is now before a conference committee to iron out differences what the House and Senate approved.
West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation into law that will narrow the restriction of political signs to 100 feet from a voting site. The new law reduces the restriction by 200 feet from the old law. It affects both early voting and election day polling sites.