V. Legislative Updates
Delaware: Rep. Earl Jacques has introduced House Bill 20 that would allow for no-excuse absentee voting in the First State. If approved, the legislation would need to pass both houses again in two years because it constitutes an amendment to the state’s constitution. Similar legislation was defeated in 2013.
Florida: Sen. Garrett Richter (R) is drafting legislation to move the Sunshine State’s primary to March 15.
Kansas: The Senate has given first-round approval to Senate Bill 34 that would empower the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes.
Kentucky: The House has approved legislation that would allow residents to register online to vote. Currently only deployed soldiers and residents living overseas may register to vote online.
Maine: Sen. Ron Collins (R-Wells) has introduced legislation that would require Maine voters to show a photo ID when casting a ballot. Similar legislation failed to advance in 2011.
Maryland: Del. Cory V. McCray (D-Baltimore City) has introduced legislation that would restore the voting rights to approximately 40,000 ex-offenders in Maryland. Under the proposed legislation, which has 51 cosponsors, offenders would be eligible to vote once they are no longer incarcerated, but may still be serving probation or other terms of their sentence.
The House Ways and Means Committee is considering legislation that would move the primary seven days later if the original date falls on certain religious holidays.
Michigan: The Senate has approved legislation that would move the state’s primary to March 8. The House has already approved the legislation and it now heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.
The Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform is reviewing legislation that would allow first-time voters to vote absentee or by mail. Currently, unless the voter is disabled, first-time voters are required to vote in person.
Minnesota: A Senate subcommittee has approved legislation that will allow people to begin voting 15 days before an election. Right now, the state has no-excuse absentee voting, but not early voting.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would reinstate the voting rights to ex-felons on probation or parole. Ex-felons in Minnesota currently have the right to vote once they have completed all the terms of their service and are “off papers.”
Sen. Brandon Peterson has introduced legislation that would require a “none of the above” choice on all ballots.
Missouri: The Senate approved a bill, 26-8, which would set the deadline to change ballot measures about two weeks before an election, which is two weeks earlier than under current law. Supporters argued that the deadline change would have thousands of dollars in reprinting ballots.
Nevada: Assemblyman Ira Hansen has introduced Assembly Bill 94 that would allow voters to receive sample ballots via email.
New Mexico: The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted 6-5 along party lines to advance House Bill 61 that would require voters to verify their ID, but would allow for a wide range of IDs including expired licenses and tribal-issued paperwork that does not include a photo. A more stringent piece of legislation that would have required a current photo ID was defeated 8-3.
North Dakota: On an 18-29 vote, the Senate voted down a provision that would have allowed North Dakota voters to cast a provisional ballot if they did not have the required form of ID in order to vote.
Oregon: The Oregon House has approved House Bill 2177 that would automatically register Oregonians to vote when they obtain a new or update an existing driver’s license. The legislation was approved 35-24 along party lines. It moves next to the Senate.
Utah: Senate Bill 54 — legislation aimed at delaying a compromise to Count My Vote — was killed by the Senate on a 9-19 vote.
Virginia: The General Assembly has approved legislation that will allow Montgomery County to make changes to its voting precincts, essentially eliminating split precincts, which according to those involved, should make it easier to administer elections.