IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) have introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting the nation’s election security. The Security America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act, would codify the Department of Homeland Security’s critical infrastructure designation and provide optional resources for states.
Florida: A House panel has approved a bill that will allow Florida to join an interstate voter registration database. The bill also prohibits the state from joining any program operated by the federal government or on its behalf.
Guam: Bill 45-34 that would eliminate primary elections on Guam has been sent back to committee in order to resolve issues that were raised by the full Legislature.
Michigan: The House Elections and Ethics Committee has approved a bill that would require “aggrieved candidates” to show that they could have won the election if not for voter fraud or error, otherwise they would not be able to initiate a recount.
Montana: The Missoula Board of County Commissioners voted 3 to 0 to keep the county’s elections administrator as an appointed position. The decision comes three years after the board decided to create the elections administrator position, breaking elections away from the clerk’s duties.
New Hampshire: Under proposed legislation, the secretary of state will have the authority to postpone and reschedule elections under extreme weather conditions.
New Jersey: Lawmakers in New Jersey held a hearing last week about the security of the state’s 11,000 voting machines. According to WHYY, lawmakers are considering legislation that would require new voting machines have a paper record of each vote cast that would be preserved for use in any audits of election results. They haven’t determined whether the legislation would require all of the voting machines to be replaced by a certain date, be purchased when counties need replacements, or whether the state will provide the funding.
Pennsylvania: State Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette County) has sponsored a bill that would allow members of the military and state residents who are overseas to cast their absentee ballots electronically. The bill was approved by the Senate State Government Committee and now goes to the full Senate.
South Dakota: The state board of elections has endorsed draft legislation for 2018 that would remove references to electronic voting machines from state law. Although the state has not used DRE machines in years, the Legislature is taking a “very proactive approach,” Secretary of State Shantel Krebs told the Associated Press.