VI. Legislative Updates
California: AB 1407 has been approved. Under the bill, 16-year-olds would be eligible to pre-register to vote.
Georgia: By a 35-19 party line vote, the Senate has approved a measure that would make 7pm the standard polling place closing time statewide. Currently most localities close their polls at 7pm, but in Atlanta they don’t close until 8pm.
Also in Georgia, by a 50-1 vote, the Senate has approved a bill would replace the state’s electronic touch-screen voting machines for a system that includes a verifiable paper trail.
Hawaii: House Bill 2541, which would move Hawaii to an all-mail ballot state has cleared the Finance Committee. Four in 10 Hawaii voters cast mail ballots in the 2016 general election. Half of voters mailed in ballots for the primary that year.
Idaho: Idaho will continue to send voter data to Crosscheck, at least for this year, after a bill to prevent it from doing so died in the house due to a typo. According to the Idaho Statesman, an error was discovered in its key sentence: “(T)he secretary of state shall have no power or authority and the secretary of state shall not allow, cause or disseminate any voter information to the interstate voter registration crosscheck system.” As written, the bill strips the secretary of state of “power and authority.” Adding the word “to” after “authority” would do what the bill intended: limit the secretary of state’s power and authority as it applies to Crosscheck.
Kansas: The Senate has voted to approve a bill that would fix a state elections law to clarify that elderly voters and those with disabilities may need assistance filling out their mail ballots and do not have to sign them. The bill passed 39-0 and faces one more vote in the Senate.
In the House, with the clock ticking to keep bills alive this legislative session, the House approved House Bill 2509 which would give the state’s four largest counties control over their elections budget.
Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) has proposed a bill that would require voters without a photo ID to sign an affidavit and then present a photo ID within three days.
Mississippi: The Senate Elections Committee has failed to pass SB 2906 which would have allowed residents to register online to vote and would have introduce “no fault” early voting.
New Jersey: Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would restore voting rights to those with criminal convictions. The measure would end the practice of barring residents on parole, probation or in prison from casting a ballot.
South Dakota: The House State Affairs Committee voted 11-0 to recommend that the state Department of Tribal Relations, in off-year elections, help the secretary of state, counties and tribes comply with the Help America Vote Act, including the establishment of satellite voting centers.
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-0 to forward HB 1004 which would give the state board of elections the authority on page size and type size for ballots.
Washington: The House has given final approval to the Washington Voting Rights Act that sets additional ways for communities to establish districts for elected offices that are currently at-large.