IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) has introduced the Pre-Registration of Voters Everywhere Act (PROVE). The bill would enable citizens who are 16 and older to pre-register to vote in all 50 states and the District. The legislation is also sponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and a companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Sen Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) has introduced a bill that would move Election Day from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to the first full weekend in November. “Americans should not have to choose between their workday and family responsibilities and participation in our democratic process,” Reed said. “It is time for Congress to update the law and make it more convenient for Americans to cast their ballots.” States would still be allowed to offer alternative voting options, such as early voting and voting by mail, under the proposal.
California: The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors have approved moving the county to the new elections model proposed under the California Voter’s Choice Act. The June 5, 2018 statewide direct primary will be the first election under the vote center model.
Also in California, lawmakers have approved a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary to March. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) desk. According to The Associated Press, he has not indicated whether or not he will sign it.
Maryland: Although the College Park city council voted 4 to 3 to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections apparently a charter amendment needs six votes of the eight-member council to be approved. That rule was changed in June, and the mayor and council members said they neglected to note that they needed six votes. “We each accept our responsibility for not realizing the impact of the June charter amendment on Council procedures and we apologize to our residents,” the mayor and council said in a statement.
Rhode Island: During a special session, both chambers of the Legislature approved a bill that will allow the state board of elections to develop a program for auditing the initial results of voting machines to ensure their accuracy. The governor is expected to sign the bill.