V. Legislative Updates
Connecticut: Legislation proposed by Secretary of State Denise Merrill would alter what information is publicly available on the voter rolls. Under her proposed bill, voter roll information would still be publicly available for $350, but the birthdates of registered voters would no longer be included.
Florida: This week the Senate unanimously approve a bill to allow Florida to join ERIC. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk.
Indiana: Senate Enrolled Act 9 is heading to the governor’s desk. The legislation ensures that patients committed to a mental health institution or psychiatric hospital have voting rights.
Kansas: The House has advanced a bill aimed at resolving a dispute between the state’s four largest counties and the secretary of state’s office. Under the proposal, county commissioners would gain authority to decide salaries and approve budgets for the appointees.
Maryland: The Senate effectively killed Senate Bill 190 that would have codified uniform rules to guide foreign election observers. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D) gave up his gavel to join the debate on the senate floor and spoke at length about the fear of Russians hacking American elections. “This bill might have been ready for prime time four weeks ago or six years ago or four years ago or even two weeks ago, but what has happened now with the indictment of these 13 men showing how vulnerable our elections are ... our elections are very easy to manipulate,” Miller said. “I don’t want these people in the room.”
New Hampshire: A bill that would have prevented New Hampshire from sending voter data to Crosscheck was killed in the Senate. The bill was voted down 14-10 along party lines.
New Mexico: The Legislature has approved House Bill 98, which if signed by the governor would consolidate most nonpartisan elections into one day in November.
Tennessee: The Senate State and Local Government Committee has voted down a bill that would have required an auditable paper trail for all voting machines. According to Nashville Public Radio, the measure had been opposed by state election officials, who say paper receipts are an unnecessary expense. Machines that spit out paper receipts would have cost Tennessee election commissions about $9.5 million up front, and they would have cost millions more to operate.
Utah: The House Government Operations Committee has approved HB218 sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City). Under the bill, counties would be required to have at least one polling place for every 5,000 voters even if elections are conducted by mail. The only elections that could be handled entirely by mail under the bill would be those held solely for a referendum challenging a local tax law. The bill would also make same-day voter registration permanent throughout the state, would allow for voter registration to be automatically updated when license information is updated and would prohibit counties from sending mail ballots to voters who had not cast a ballot past elections.
Vermont: The House has approved a bill that would prevent the state from handing over voter data to the federal government.
West Virginia: House Bill 3004 would codify a ruling from the state Supreme Court of Appeals regarding how the governor fills vacancies left by a constitutional officer, legislator or county commissioner.
Wisconsin: A bill that would allow Wisconsin voters to cast their ballots early on electronic voting machines instead of paper ballots has cleared the state Assembly.