V. Legislative Updates
Arizona: HB2397 would require the address on a voter’s registration to match their driver’s license and other state ID, if not, residents would have 30 days to correct the address before being issued a $25 fine or possibly losing their license.
Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation providing Maricopa County with $2.5 million to conduct a special election to replace Rep. Trent Franks. The county had sought $3.5 million.
California: The Nevada County board of supervisors voted 4-1 to approve $258,000 to implement the Voter’s Choice Act this year.
Connecticut: Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced her plans this week to ask legislators to support a bill that would scrub voter birth dates from registration records and give people the option of requesting that their information be kept from the public. According to the Connecticut Post, Merrill said that the proposals, which she expects will be raised for public hearings in the legislative Government Administration & Elections Committee, are the result of requests for more safety from voters.
Florida: Legislation that would have shielded basic personal information contained in voter registration files stalled last week however legislation that would protect the information of those under 18 who are pre-registered seems to be moving forward.
Indiana: A non-binding opinion issued by Attorney General Curtis Hill has killed a bill that would have allowed elections officials to count the ballots of voters who voted early or by mail, but then die before Election Day. The bill had been approved by the Senate and was now under consideration in the House. Hill said a constitutional change would be required to count the votes.
Iowa: A bipartisan bill has been introduced to the House that would restore the voting rights of Iowa felons who have completed their sentences. Currently, ex-felons in Iowa have to have their voting rights reinstated by the governor.
Kansas: The House Local Government Committee adopted a bill placing the county commission in Shawnee, Sedgwick, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in charge of election office budgets.
Also this week, the Senate elections committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 229. Under the bill, the county commissioners in Shawnee, Sedgwick, Johnson and Wynadotte would appoint their own elections commissioners. Under current law, the election commissioners in those four counties are appointed by the secretary of state.
Mississippi: The House Apportionment and Elections Committee voted out several elections-related bills last week in time for consideration by the full House. House Bill 774 would create a study committee to look at voter enfranchisement for nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. HB 803 would change the number of needed certified poll managers per precinct. HB 937 would stagger the terms of election commissioners and HB 804 clarifies how photo ID must present during a municipal election.
A bill that would create a commission to study the issue of restoring voting rights to ex-felons has unanimously been approved by the House and is now pending in the Senate Elections Committee. A similar bill failed in 2017.
New Hampshire: A bill that would have moved New Hampshire to a ranked choice voting system was defeated this week. This is the third time that some variation of ranked-choice voting has been proposed in New Hampshire. No previous attempt has made it out of committee, either.
New Jersey: The General Assembly is considering a host of election reform bills that would expand the franchise in the Garden State. Bills cover everything from automatic voter registration, early voting, online voter registration and pre-registration for 17-year-olds.
New Mexico: Under House Bill 98, local elections would be scheduled for the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November during odd-numbered years. The bill would include school districts, community college districts, flood control districts, special zoning districts, soil and water conservation districts, and water and sanitation districts. In 2022, the law also would include conservancy districts. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and county clerks support the bill.
New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has added $7 million to his budget to cover the cost of implementing early voting.
North Carolina: Lumped in with a bill that redirects funds from a pipeline development to education was language that repackages the state’s bipartisan elections board. Under the bill, which is now on its way to the governor, the new board would have nine members with governor appointing four Republicans, four Democrats and one independent. Democrats argue that the legislation goes against a recent court ruling from the state’s Supreme Court.
Rhode Island: A bill introduced on behalf of Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea would move the state’s primaries to the third Tuesday in August beginning in 2020. Another bill, introduced on behalf of Gorbea would allow for 20 days of in-person early voting.
Utah: Under HB35, a pilot program would be created to make it an option to implement ranked choice voting in certain nonpartisan elections. HB141 would allow election officers to reduce the early voting period to a minimum of two days from the 14 days currently required. Both bills are now going to the full House.
Virginia: A procedural vote by legislators has derailed a bill that would allow Arlington County to implement ranked choice voting.
Washington: In a party line vote, the House has approved an automatic voter registration bill. Under the legislation, the state will automatically register citizens who aren’t on the voter rolls if they apply for an enhanced driver’s license, which requires that you show proof-of-citizenship.