IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has introduced a bill that would end a longtime quirk with the Postal Service that has some rural northern Missouri residents with an Iowa mailing address.
Alabama: With the spotlight off for now, lawmakers in Alabama are looking for ways to streamline the state’s special election process. SB-18, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial has introduced a bill that would require the governor to appoint a person to a vacancy in the office of U.S. Senate and issue a writ of election to fill the office for the remainder of the term at the next general election occurring more than one year after the vacancy occurs.
California: Sen. Mike McGuire has introduced a bill that would establish a process for election officials to notify voters when their vote-by-mail signature mismatches the one on file. The bill would also require voters whose signatures don’t match be given the opportunity to correct the discrepancy. The bill was recently approved by the Senate Elections Committee.
Indiana: A bill that would allow elections officials to count the ballots of voters who cast an early vote or absentee ballot, but then die before Election Day has been approved 9-0 by the Senate Elections committee.
The Senate Elections committee also approved a bill that would allow for no-excuse absentee voting. The Indiana Clerks Association has expressed its support for the bill.
Kentucky: Rep. McKenzie Cantrell has filed House Bill 98 which would require a special election when an unexpected vacancy occurs on a local council.
Also in Kentucky, House Bill 23, which would change the election year of governor, lieutenant governor and state constitutional officers from odd number years to even-numbered years has been approved by the House Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) has announced his intentions to bring forward legislation that would require Maine voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.
Maryland: The City of Rockville council is considering a proposal from its board of supervisors of elections that would allow the city to conduct elections by mail. Under the proposal, every registered voter would receive a ballot which they could return by mail, to a ballot drop box or in person. There would be Election Day vote centers as well.
Also in Maryland, the City of Greenbelt approved a measure to lower the voting age in local elections to 16. In order to be able to vote in local elections, 16 and 17-year-olds must be a resident of Greenbelt and must be registered in Prince George's County. The new rule becomes effective on Feb. 27.
Virginia: De. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) recently introduced four election-reform bills including HJ 333 which would lower the voting age in local elections to 16-years-old. He also introduced HJ 34 which would allow for citizen-lead initiatives and referendums as well as recalls.
Also in Virginia, Del-elect Debra Rodman (D-Henrico) plans to introduce legislation that will create a pilot vote-by-mail program.
Other legislation includes a bill that would allow no-excuse absentee voting, a bill that would give new citizens more time to register to vote and a bill that would add to the list of accepted forms of voter photo ID.
Washington: Officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman are supporting a series of election proposals they want the Legislature to take up this year. The proposals include automatic voter registration, Election Day registration and “districts that better represent the makeup of a community or neighborhood.”