The Markup: Weekly Election Legislation Update for Tuesday, May 28, 2024

by Chris Diaz

May 28, 2024

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Today is Tuesday, May 28. We are tracking 1,758 bills so far this session across 44 states and D.C., with 307 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 879 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Bad News: The New Hampshire legislature passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, will impose strict new documentation requirements for voter registration and in-person voting. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed bills establishing safeguards against improper cancellations of voter registrations. The Louisiana legislature sent the governor a package of bills, including one that would eliminate the permanent mail voter list.

The Good News: The New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that would authorize online voter registration. A new Connecticut allows voters in nursing homes to designate a trusted individual to pick up a ballot for them. The California Assembly advanced bills that would cause the state to join ERIC, protect voters and election officials, and more. The Illinois Senate passed a bill improving their automatic voter registration process.

Looking Ahead:

Today, the New York Senate is expected to vote on S.B. 2349 (expressly allowing voter registration at temporary residences); S.B. 613 (excluding poll worker compensation from state income taxes and consideration of eligibility for public benefits); S.B. 6130 (allowing attorneys registered to vote in the state to serve as poll workers outside their county of registration); S.B. 614 (prohibiting county political party chairs from serving as county election commissioners); and S.B. 619 (restructuring the New York City Board of Elections).

Tomorrow, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will hold an interim hearing. On Thursday, the New Hampshire House will consider concurring with Senate amendments to H.B. 1370, a bill that would eliminate alternatives for voters without photo ID and impose new burdens on citizens registering to vote.

Here are the details:

New Hampshire legislature sends the governor a bill creating strict ID document requirements for voter registration and in-person voting and advances a bill authorizing an online voter registration portal.

Governor Chris Sununu is considering a bill passed by the legislature last week that, if signed, will require voter registration applicants to provide physical documentation proving their eligibility. The bill will also make voter ID requirements for in-person voting stricter by eliminating alternatives for voters without photo ID. Current law allows voters to verify their identity by signing a statement under penalty of perjury and having their photo taken. Additionally, the state Senate passed H.B. 463, which would authorize the secretary of state to develop an “election information portal” for online voter registration. New Hampshire is one of only seven states with no option for citizens to register to vote electronically. That bill now returns to the House – which already passed an earlier version of the bill – for concurrence with Senate amendments.

Connecticut enacts a law expanding voting options for citizens in nursing homes.

Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill that gives voters in nursing homes the option to designate a trusted individual to submit a mail ballot application to the municipal clerk on their behalf and personally pick up a ballot to bring to the voter within six days of Election Day. This expands an existing process for voters who are hospitalized or become unexpectedly ill or disabled within six days of an election.

Virginia governor vetoes bills that would have established new safeguards in the voter list maintenance process.

Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed a set of voter list maintenance bills last week that would have protected eligible voters against improper cancellation of their voter registrations. These bills would have required that information from other states used for list maintenance contain unique identifiers such as a Social Security number that could be compared to Virginia records; established standards for what constituted a match between other types of records and a voter registration; provided additional notice before a registration record was canceled; and moved all challenges to voter registrations to the state court system.

Package of election bills sent to Louisiana governor’s desk.

The Louisiana legislature gave final approval to several election bills last week, sending them to Governor Jeff Landry to sign or veto. These bills include S.B. 218 (limiting eligibility for the permanent mail voting list to voters with disabilities); S.B. 155 (limiting how many voters one person can assist with completing their mail ballot certificate); S.B. 420 (creating a criminal offense of election fraud or forgery); H.B. 677 (allowing cancelation of voter registration on the basis of obituaries without substantiation by public health records); and S.B. 258 (ensuring that the mail ballots of voters who die between casting their ballot and Election Day are counted).

California legislature advances bills to join ERIC, improve voter access, protect elections against interference, and more.

Both chambers of the California legislature advanced numerous election bills last week. The Assembly passed A.B. 2050 (allowing the state to join ERIC); A.B. 2642 (prohibiting threats based on someone’s voting, aiding others in voting, or administration of elections); A.B. 2724 (guaranteeing access to voter registration opportunities in high schools). The Senate passed S.B. 1174 (prohibiting local governments from requiring voters to present ID documents) and S.B. 1328 (expanding the scope of existing felony offenses related to interference with voting machines and systems). These bills now go to the opposite chamber for consideration.

Bill changing opt-out timing and expanding accepted forms of documentation for automatic voter registration in Illinois passes Senate.

The Illinois Senate passed S.B. 496, which would change opt-out timing for automatic voter registration interactions at state agencies. Under existing law, eligible citizens who are not registered to vote are automatically registered during certain agency transactions if they do not opt out during that transaction. Under the bill, the potential registrants would instead be given the option to decline by mailing back a notice sent to their address within five business days of the transaction. The bill would also expand accepted forms of documentation during the AVR process to include documents that establish U.S. citizenship despite not meeting the requirements for a REAL ID as is required under current law. The bill now moves to the House for further consideration.

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