III. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Oregon’s Congressional delegation has introduced the Vote by Mail Act which would require every state in the nation to provide voters with the opportunity to vote-by-mail. The bill also includes a national provision for automatic voter registration.
Alabama: Senate Bill 108 will require poll workers to keep track of which party primary voters participate in and then check these records if a run-off occurs.
District of Columbia: This week, the Council of the District of Columbia approved a spending plan to cover the costs of implementing automatic voter registration, which was approved in 2016. The funds will cover the cost to hire two employees to run the system and funding to help the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles complete an upgrade to their system so the data can be transferred.
Maine: Leaders in Maine’s Statehouse have approved introducing competing bills that address ranked-choice voting. One would repeal the voter-approved law and the other would put a ballot amendment before the voters on whether to change the state’s constitution to allow it.
Minnesota: In the waning hours of the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature approved a bill that will allow all Minnesota voters, whether they vote early, absentee or on election day, to receive an “I Voted” sticker.
Nevada: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Assembly Bill 181 which would restore the right to vote to people convicted of nonviolent felonies.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed Senate Bill 117 into law. The new law requires polling locations to offer separate lines for voters with disabilities who are not physically able to wait in line and allow them to vote before others. The law goes into effect October 1.
New Jersey: The Senate has approved S1737 which would end the use of special elections to fill congressional vacancies and instead let voters choose replacements in the general election.
Rhode Island: The House unanimously approved legislation that will automatically register any who applies for or renews a driver’s license. Residents will have the choice to opt out. The bill now goes before the Senate.
Texas: The House and Senate have both approved Senate Bill 5 which would soften voter ID requirements.