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Today is Tuesday, June 1. We’re tracking 2,186 voting bills that have been introduced so far this session. There are 413 anti-voter bills and 1,270 pro-voter bills, with the remainder being either neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.
The Bad News: In Alabama, the governor signed legislation banning poll workers from bringing ballots outside to voters who are unable to enter a polling place due to a disability. And the Texas legislature passed a bill that would allow the Secretary of State to withhold funds from registrars who make list maintenance errors.
The Mixed News: Sunday evening, the Texas House blocked passage of the anti-voter omnibus bill, S.B. 7. The conference committee charged with consolidating the House and Senate versions of the legislation had made the bill much worse, including anti-voter provisions that were not in either previous version. Following the bill’s failure to pass, Texas Governor Greg Abbott indicated that he will call a special session to take the issue back up.
The Good News: Bills creating or expanding online ballot tracking are on the move in Texas, California, and New York. Connecticut made progress on two pro-voter bills last week: a bill to end prison gerrymandering was signed by the governor and a pro-voter omnibus bill passed the Senate and now heads to the House. Meanwhile, two anti-voter bills failed in Arizona.
Looking Forward: We expect to see the Connecticut House vote on its pro-voter omnibus bill and the Senate to take up the constitutional amendments to establish early voting and no-excuse absentee voting this week. And of course we are watching Texas to see if and when a special session is called.
Here are the details:
Texas House blocks passage of extreme anti-voter omnibus legislation; Governor likely to call special session. Sunday evening, the Texas House blocked passage of S.B. 7, a vehemently anti-voter omnibus bill that would, among other provisions, prohibit Sunday voting before 1 p.m., limit weekday evening early voting, ban drop boxes, ban drive-through and mobile voting, strip local election administrator authority, and threaten felony prosecution for both election officials and those who provide necessary assistance to voters.
The House passed a different version of S.B. 7 earlier this session, but the version being considered this weekend contained many new provisions added during closed door negotiations – including the controversial ban on Sunday morning voting that appears to target “Souls to the Polls” programs that bring Black voters to the polls after Sunday worship services.
Lawmakers in the Texas House raised several points of order regarding procedural issues with the bill and dozens of lawmakers walked off the floor, blocking a vote due to a lack of a quorum. In the wake of the House’s adjournment and the bill’s failure to pass, Governor Abbott has indicated that he will call a special session.
Texas restricts election administration funding. The Texas legislature did, however, send anti-voter bills to the governor last week: one allows the Secretary of State to withhold funds from registrars who make voter list maintenance errors and another limits the ability of local election officials to accept private donations.
Two anti-voter bills failed in Arizona. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey vetoed a bill that would have created felony-level criminal penalties for sending a mail ballot to someone who did not request one. This bill was a reaction to then-Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes attempting to mail ballots to all voters for the 2020 presidential primary. And an Arizona bill that would have required voters to provide a specific ID number to have their completed mail ballot counted came up for a vote in the Senate and was defeated.
Alabama bans curbside voting. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation prohibiting outdoor or curbside voting. This bill specifically prohibits ballot workers from bringing a ballot outside to a voter, even if the voter is unable to enter a polling place because of a disability.
Online ballot tracking advancing in three states. Bills creating or expanding online ballot tracking are on the move in Texas, California, and New York. The Texas bill was sent to the governor to sign last week, while the California and New York bills just passed their first chamber. The California bill makes permanent a number of temporary changes from 2020, including requiring counties to mail ballots to all active voters.
Connecticut ends prison gerrymandering; advances pro-voter omnibus bill. Connecticut’s bill to end prison gerrymandering was signed by the Governor last week, changing the way incarcerated individuals are considered in the drawing of legislative districts. Meanwhile, the Senate’s pro-voter omnibus bill passed the chamber. The bill, S.B. 5, would expand voter eligibility, facilitate automatic voter registration, and make absentee voting easier, among other provisions. It now heads to the House where we expect a vote this week. We also expect to see the Senate vote on the constitutional amendments to establish early voting and no-excuse absentee voting this week.
This update is powered by VRL’s State Voting Rights Tracker: tracker.votingrightslab.org