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Today is Monday, January 30. We are tracking 621 bills so far this session, with 126 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 328 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.
The Bad News: The Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation that would eliminate drop boxes and shorten the early voting period.
The Good News: Legislation facilitating online voter registration passed out of a Republican-controlled committee in New Hampshire. Minnesota advanced legislation to protect against election manipulation and expand voting rights for people with past felony convictions. Two bills that would facilitate voter registration advanced in New York. Montana advanced legislation designed to protect election workers from harassment.
Looking Ahead: Arizona House and Senate committees will hear bills this week that would require all voted ballots to be counted by hand and add restrictions to early in-person voting and mail voting on the final weekend before Election Day. The Montana Senate will debate, and may vote on, S.B. 61 this week, a bill that seeks to protect election officials workers from harassment. Minnesota H.B. 28, which would allow people with past felony convictions to vote as long as they are not currently incarcerated, is being heard by a fourth committee today.
Here are the details:
New Hampshire Senate advances bill facilitating online voter registration and mail ballot applications. The Republican-controlled Senate Committee on Election Law and Municipal Affairs voted “ought to pass” on S.B. 70, which would authorize the secretary of state to create online voter registration and mail ballot applications. Currently, New Hampshire is the only state where registration applications can only be submitted in person at a clerk’s office unless the registrant has a qualifying excuse entitling them to do so by mail, and mail ballot applications can only be submitted in person or by mail.
Virginia House passes bill that would eliminate ballot drop boxes and shorten the early voting period. The Virginia House of Delegates passed H.B. 1693, which would repeal provisions allowing for mail ballot drop boxes, and H.B. 1877, which would shorten the in-person early voting period. Under current law, local election officials must provide a drop box at each registrar’s office, each early voting location, and each Election Day polling place, with discretion to offer additional locations.
Minnesota advances legislation to protect against election manipulation and expand voting rights for people with past felony convictions. In Minnesota, H.B. 28, which would allow people with past felony convictions to vote as long as they are not currently incarcerated, advanced through its first three committees and is being heard in a fourth this morning. Also passing out of committee were S.B. 611, a bill to ensure that the state canvassing board declares the highest vote-getter to be the winner of the election, and S.B. 285, a bill to facilitate the use of electronic rosters for persons registering to vote.
New York Senate advances more bills that would expand voter access. During the first week of its session, the New York Senate passed a dozen pro-access bills proposing a variety of changes, large and small. Last week the Senate continued its election-law focus with two voter-registration focused bills, passing S.B. 1327, which would give voters more time to register to vote, and advancing out of committee S.B. 1733, which facilitates the education and registration (or pre-registration) of students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.
Montana’s Senate advances election worker protections. Montana S.B. 61, which attempts to protect election workers from a range of harassment and interference with a redefined misdemeanor, cleared its first committee, and may receive a vote on the floor as early as this week. Under the bill, it would become a misdemeanor to interfere with election officials or election workers.
This update is powered by VRL’s State Voting Rights Tracker: tracker.votingrightslab.org