The Markup: Weekly Election Legislation Update for Monday, December 6

by Liz Avore

December 6, 2021

As the end of 2021 draws near, will you help us reach even more people with the weekly Markup newsletter? Please forward this email along to colleagues and friends now.

If you received this email from someone else and you’d like to get these weekly updates straight to your inbox going forward, please subscribe now.

Today is Monday, December 6.

We’re tracking 2,781 voting bills. There are 547 anti-voter bills and 1,551 pro-voter bills, with the remainder being either neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Good News: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed S.B. 326, which would have prohibited election administrators from counting absentee ballots that were postmarked on Election Day.

The Bad News: Wisconsin legislators introduced a bill that would create a new mandatory process removing voters from the voter registration list.

The Mixed News: Legislators in Missouri pre-filed S.B. 670, an omnibus bill that contains a number of anti-voter provisions, but that would also create early voting in the state for the first time.

Looking Ahead: As Mississippi gears up for their 2022 legislative session, look for movement on voting rights restoration: House Judiciary Chairman Nick Bain has said that it’s a priority.

Here are the details:

North Carolina governor vetoes bill that would have moved up the deadline for returning completed absentee ballots. Under North Carolina law, absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day are counted, provided they are received by election officials within three days of Election Day. S.B. 326 would have required that absentee ballots be received by election officials by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, regardless of when they are postmarked.

Missouri legislature pre-files new omnibus bill. S.B. 670 contains a number of anti-voting provisions, but it also would create in-person early voting in the state for the first time. Missouri is currently one of seven states that do not provide voters with any in-person early voting opportunities. Among its anti-voter provisions, S.B. 670 would create a strict photo identification requirement, eliminating options to present a non-photo ID or to sign an affidavit swearing to your identity.

Mississippi legislature looks to change felony voting ban. Mississippi’s re-enfranchisement law is the most onerous in the country; for an individual to regain the right to vote after a felony conviction, two-thirds of the state legislature must pass a bill restoring the individual’s right to vote. Mississippi’s individualized voting rights restoration process is so difficult that during the 2021 legislative session only two people in the entire state had their rights restored. House Judiciary Chairman Nick Bain has pledged to pick up the issue of felony disenfranchisement in the 2022 session to bring the state more in line with the rest of the country.

Wisconsin Senate introduces a bill that would eliminate a discretionary check on voter registration removal and create a new felony for election administrators. S.B. 730 shifts responsibility for removing deceased voters from the rolls to the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), and eliminates a discretionary check that would ensure that non-deceased voters remain on the list. Currently, local municipal clerks, not the WEC, are responsible for changing a voter’s status to ineligible if their record is matched to a deceased person’s. Under current practice they review potential matches before cancelling them; cancellation is not automatic. This bill would create a new felony to punish any member of the WEC or their staff who “willfully neglects or refuses to perform” the automatic removal of names from the voter registration rolls. 

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

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Markup to get our updates straight to your inbox.