The Markup: Weekly Election Legislation Update for Monday, November 13

by Liz Avore

November 13, 2023

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Today is Monday, November 13. We are tracking 1,965 bills so far this session across all 50 states, with 411 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 940 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Bad News: Voters in New Hampshire will face new restrictions to same-day registration in 2024. On Election Day in Mississippi – one of only three states with no early voting – voters faced ballot shortages and faulty information on precinct locations.

The Good News: A Michigan bill that would allow pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds went to the governor to sign. The Wisconsin legislature advanced two bills: one that would give election officials more time to process mail ballots, and a second that would allow voters to track their mail ballots via text message. Voting eligibility for many with past convictions remains secure in Kentucky following the re-election of Governor Andy Beshear.

Looking Ahead: A trial is underway in Arizona over the constitutionality of a documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration. A judge in Georgia is expected to issue a ruling in a lawsuit seeking to block mass challenges to voter registrations.

Here are the details:

Wisconsin advances legislation to improve mail voting. The Wisconsin Assembly passed two bills that would improve the processing and tracking of mail ballots on Thursday, sending those bills to the senate for consideration. Among its changes, A.B. 567 would give election officials additional time to process mail ballots, allowing them to begin canvassing mail ballots the day before Election Day. This process cannot begin until Election Day under current law. A.B. 38 would allow voters to receive text messages updating them on the receipt of their mail ballot application and of the mail ballot itself.

Michigan legislature passes pre-registration bill for minors. The Michigan legislature passed a bill, H.B. 4569, that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Under the bill, a person who meets all the requirements to register to vote other than age may pre-register starting at 16. Election officials would send such registrants a voter identification card at the age of 17-and-a-half, and their registration would become active at 18. If the bill is signed into law, Michigan would join 18 other states and D.C. in allowing pre-registration starting at 16.

New Hampshire same-day registration restrictions set to go into effect for the 2024 elections. Merrimack County Judge Charles Temple dismissed a challenge to last year’s S.B. 418, which requires officials to toss out the ballots of voters who register at the polls on Election Day if they lack certain documentation and are unable to produce it for verification within seven days of Election Day.

Voting eligibility for many with past convictions remains secure in Kentucky following 2023 election. Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams were both re-elected in Kentucky. Governor Beshear issued an executive order in 2019 establishing automatic restoration of voting rights for citizens with non-violent felony convictions, which his opponent would not commit to leaving in place. Without Governor Beshear’s order, Kentucky would join only three states that permanently disenfranchise voters with past felony convictions. Secretary Adams has been a reliable advocate for improved voter access in the state while in office, including work to establish early voting and combat excessive polling place consolidation.

Mississippi – one of only three states with no early voting – faces a variety of Election Day challenges. Voters in Mississippi experienced problems at the polls on Tuesday as several locations in Hinds County, home to Jackson, ran out of ballots and experienced long lines throughout the day. Heading into Election Day, reporters also discovered that the state’s voter-facing tool for locating a polling place had missing or incorrect address information for 92 precincts across the state. Mississippi is one of only three states in the country where voting in person on Election Day is the only option for most voters.

Arizona trial to determine fate of a 2022 voter registration law begins. A 10-day trial began last week regarding the constitutionality of two Arizona bills (temporarily enjoined) that require voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to remain registered to vote in federal elections. The bills additionally require county officials to cancel existing registration records for those who cannot provide such documentation.

Ruling expected in Georgia lawsuit seeking to block mass voter registration challenges. A federal judge in Atlanta is expected to issue a ruling soon in litigation seeking to block mass challenges to Georgia voters’ registrations. These challenges, facilitated by 2021’s S.B. 202, have resulted in significant burdens for election officials and voters in recent years.

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