IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: A bipartisan coalition of Senator introduced a bill that would authorize block grants for states to upgrade outdated voted technology. It would also create a program for an independent panel of experts to develop cybersecurity guidelines for election systems. According to The Hill, he legislation aims to expedite the process by which state officials receive security clearances necessary to review sensitive threat information and instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal entities to more quickly share this information with relevant state officials.
Florida: The Volusia County council recently updated the employee rulebook including eliminating the two-hour voting window for county employees. According to The News Journal, Human Resources Director Tom Motes said voting today is easier than it was in 1981, when the original rules were drafted, and that’s why Volusia made its policy more in line with Seminole and Hillsborough counties. “We don’t have people who want to take off two hours (to go vote) and we wouldn’t even know if they were voting,” Motes told the paper. “I remember when the polls were open one day, Election Day. You needed a rule like that. Tell me who can’t get to the polls today? If someone can’t vote in today’s world, they don’t want to vote.”
Kansas: Sedgwick County commissioners are asking state lawmakers to review a law that requires both voters with disabilities and a person helping them cast their mail ballot to sign the affidavit in order for it to be valid. Seniors and voters with disabilities casting their ballot at the polling place or from their car at polling places are not required to sign.
New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently unveiled his “Democracy Agenda” that includes plans to protect state elections from hacking threats and enhance voting opportunities. The enhanced voting opportunities include early voting, automatic voter registration and same day voter registration.