The Markup: Weekly Election Legislation Update for Monday, June 21

by Liz Avore

June 21, 2021

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Today is Monday, June 21.

We’re tracking 2,237 voting bills that have been introduced so far this session. There are 430 anti-voter bills and 1,287 pro-voter bills, with the remainder being either neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Bad News: Michigan’s anti-voter voter ID bills passed the Senate with votes along party lines. North Carolina’s bill moving up the deadline for absentee ballots passed the Senate and now heads to the House. And the Pennsylvania omnibus bill passed out of its first House committee last week. Among other things, the bill would move up the registration deadline, make voting by mail more difficult, and create more stringent voter ID requirements.

The Good News: Connecticut’s legislature passed a budget implementation bill containing nearly all of the pro-voter provisions from the now-dead S.B. 5 – including voting rights restoration for formerly incarcerated individuals and protections for drop boxes. Maine sent two pro-voter bills to the governor last week – one expanding early voting and allowing student IDs for registration purposes and another establishing a notice and cure process for absentee ballots.

Looking Forward: We expect Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to sign the budget bill this week. In addition, the Wisconsin Assembly has scheduled final votes on six anti-voter bills this week.

Here are the details:

Connecticut’s pro-voter provisions move forward in the budget bill. In the final scramble before the end of session, Connecticut’s pro-voter omnibus bill failed to pass before the deadline. Fortunately, the legislature’s budget implementation bill was passed swiftly by the legislature last week with many of the pro-voter provisions from the omnibus attached – including making permanent the drop box procedures put in place for the 2020 election, and restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated people. We expect Governor Lamont to sign the bill this week.

Pennsylvania’s anti-voter omnibus bill clears its first House committee. Pennsylvania’s H.B. 1300 passed its first committee last week. Among its many anti-voter provisions, it restricts the use of drop boxes, reduces the time period for registration and requesting mail ballots, and creates more stringent voter ID requirements. The bill would also shift election authority from bipartisan local election administrators to partisan actors and would create new election crimes with penalties on par with those for murder and rape. Governor Tom Wolf has indicated that he will veto this bill, should it come to his desk.

Maine legislature passes two pro-voter bills. Two pro-voter bills were passed by the Maine legislature last week. H.B. 1172 adds student IDs to the list of acceptable IDs for registration and expands the early voting period. The other, S.B. 450, establishes a notification and cure process for absentee ballots and also codifies the use of drop boxes and ballot tracking. These two bills are both heading to the governor for signature.

Michigan Senate advances three strict voter ID bills. Michigan’s Senate passed three anti-voter bills last week. One eliminates the option of signing an affidavit if a voter does not have photo ID, instead requiring the voter to cast a provisional ballot. Another requires voters who vote by provisional ballot to provide photo ID within six days of Election Day to have their ballot counted. A third requires applicants for absentee ballots to provide either a copy of photo ID or a specific ID number. These bills will now head to the House.

North Carolina’s bill moving up the absentee ballot deadline bill passes the Senate. S.B. 326 passed the North Carolina Senate last week and now heads to the House. This bill was amended to require all domestic absentee ballots to be received by elections officials no later than the close of polls on Election Day, instead of 5 p.m., as previously proposed. Under existing law, election officials accept ballots that are postmarked by Election Day, provided they are received within three days after Election Day. S.B. 326 would eliminate that three-day grace period. Wisconsin moves ahead on anti-voter bills. This week, the Wisconsin Assembly has scheduled final votes on several anti-voter bills. Some of the provisions in these bills include creating new felony and misdemeanor offenses for clerks who attempt to help a voter cure errors with their ballot and creating a new felony offense for residential care facility employees. One of the bills also prohibits clerks from mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters. Governor Tony Evers has indicated he will veto any bills that make it harder to vote in Wisconsin.

This update is powered by VRL’s State Voting Rights Tracker:

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