IV. Legislative Updates
Connecticut: During his final state of the state address, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that he will be signing an executive order to study whether Connecticut should move to a vote-by-mail system. He also said that during his final year in office he would work to get early voting approved.
Florida — A House subcommittee has voted 10-0 to forward a bill that would make private most of the personal data associated with a registered voter. The House bill has the support of many of the state’s supervisor of elections. The Senate has yet to introduce a corresponding piece of legislation however the Senate has introduced a bill that would limit the public availability only of those 16- and 17-year-olds who are pre-registered.
Idaho: Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is seeking a 70 percent increase in his budget. Most of the additional funds would cover a major upgrade to the state’s election software system.
Illinois — The Senate has approved SB2273 which would pull the state out of the Crosscheck program. The 35-17 was decided along party lines with three Republicans abstaining. The bill next moves to the House.
Also in Illinois, under House Bill 4469, county jails would be directed to allow eligible inmates to vote-by-mail. It would also establish a temporary polling place inside the Cook County jail.
Maine: Supporters of ranked choice voting in Maine have submitted more than the 80,000 signatures necessary for a “people’s veto” which would mean sending the issue back to the voters in June. After the Legislature voted to delay implementation of ranked choice, which voters approved in 2016, supporters launched another petition drive that would in essence veto the legislature’s delay.
Maryland: The City of College Park is considering whether or not to ease absentee voting rules for city elections. Currently there are only five valid reasons for receiving an absentee ballot and one of those reasons is not attending classes at the University of Maryland.
Massachusetts: The House has unanimously approved a bill that would provide more than $1 million in reimbursements to cities and towns for conducting early voting. The bill moves next to the Senate.
Michigan: They League of Women Voters of Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP have filed petition language with the state that if approved would allow the groups to circulate petitions to put an initiative on a future ballot to allow for no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registration.
Minnesota: Rochester could become the next city in Minnesota to use the ranked choice voting system if advocates get enough signatures to put the question to voters in November. They will need to get about 2,900 valid signatures by July 10.
Missouri: With at least 330 different initiative petitions filed so far in 2018, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is seeking legislative relief. Ashcroft has asked lawmakers to overhaul the initiative process, including charging fees for filing initiative petitions and verifying signatures.
New York: The General Assembly has approved a bill that will move the state primary election from Tuesday, September 11 to Thursday the 13th. Lawmakers had sought to move the bill not only because the election date coincides with the 17th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, but also because it conflicted with Rosh Hashanah.
South Dakota: The House and a House committee have approved bills that would restrict funding to ballot measure committees from outside the state, and require circulators to give up more information on petition forms and on the ballot.
Tennessee: By an 11-2 vote, the Memphis city council decide to put the question of whether voters will use ranked choice voting before the voters in November.
Virginia: The House of Delegates has approved a series of election law changes that were introduced in light of some of the issues that arose during the 2017 election cycle. By a 91-6 vote one of the bills approved would clarify the state’s recount rules and limit those to one recount. A second bill, approved 50-48 would permit the General Assembly to change district lines more often than every 10 years if the changes were meant to align the districts with new voting precinct boundaries. Under another bill, people voting absentee in-person ahead of an election would no longer be required to provide the last four digits of their Social Securitynumbers. And finally, the House approved a bill that would overhaul the state board of elections. The new board would be six members—three Democrats and three Republicans—and the board would appoint the state elections commissioner instead of the governor.