IV. Legislative Update
Federal Legislation: A bill has been reintroduced into the House which mandates that no voter should have to wait in line for more than hour to cast a ballot. The Voting Access Act establishes standards for staffing and placement of polling locations.
Alabama: The Legislature has approved a bill that would automatically restore the voting rights of “many” ex-felons. The bill more clearly defines the term “moral turpitude”. The legislation limits the term to less than 50 specific felonies.
Also in Alabama, a bill to prohibit people from voting in a political party’s runoff if they voted in the other party’s preceding primary has been approved by the Legislature and now awaits the governor’s signature.
Connecticut: The House voted 78 to 70 for a resolution authorizing a referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing early voting.
Michigan: The Senate has approved legislation that would double recount fees for a candidate who lost an election by more than 5 percentage points. Rates would go from $125 to $250 per precinct. It would not alter the rates for candidates who lost by fewer than 50 votes or 0.5 percentage points.
Minnesota: Secretary of State Steve Simon is supporting legislation that would create five uniform dates throughout the year when a special election for vacancies in local elections or for ballot questions would be allowed to be held.
Nevada: With the deadline for the legislative session looming, lawmakers approved a bill that will allow counties to establish vote centers open to all eligible residents regardless of their home’s proximity to the polling place.
New Hampshire: Lawmakers are considering a measure that proposes amending absentee ballot forms to say that the signature must match the signature on the affidavit envelope in which the ballot is returned.
New York: The Senate has approved legislation that would consolidate federal and state primary elections to the third Tuesday in August. The Assembly has approved a bill that would consolidate the elections to the fourth Tuesday in June.
Also in New York, the New York City council has approved legislation that will require the Campaign Finance Board to send registered voters a four-year voting record.
Texas: By a 95-54 vote following a six-hour debate, the House has approved Senate Bill 5 that would relax some of the rules governing Texas’ strict voter ID law. SB 5 would add options for voters who say they cannot “reasonably” obtain one of seven forms of required ID, and it would create criminal penalties — which House members reduced on Tuesday — for those who falsely claim they need to choose from the expanded list of options.