III. Legislative Updates
Alaska: According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the Elections Division has issued petition books for an initiative aims to make applications for Permanent Fund dividends double as voter registration forms. The release clears the way for organizers to begin gathering the 28,545 signatures necessary to place the measure on an upcoming ballot.
Arizona: Residents in Chandler, Arizona have voted (by mail) to keep the city’s election cycle in August and November instead of moving the elections to the spring. The vote was necessary because 2012 legislation requiring cities to move their elections to August and November was overruled by the Arizona Court of Appeals. The ruling meant Chandler had to ask residents to reaffirm the city’s charter. Unofficial results have Prop. 484 winning with 20,115 votes in favor and 1,859 against.
California: The Senate Appropriations Committee has approvedAB1461, the California New Motor Voter Act that would register every eligible citizen who goes to the DMV for a new, or to renew their license. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed SB 505 into law. The new law will require that all elections materials be written in plain, accessible and easily understandable language effective January 1, 2016.
Also signed into law was Senate Bill 415 that will prohibit jurisdictions from holding elections that aren’t aligned with a state voting date if a previous non-concurrent vote has resulted in a 25 percent turnout decline from the average participation figures in the locality over the previous four statewide general elections.
Florida: Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) has proposed a constitutional amendment (SJR 192) that would restore the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences. Under the proposal, automatic restoration would not apply to felons convicted of sexual offenses or homicide.
New Jersey: A group of New Jersey Democrats, including Senate President Stephen Sweeney, are urging Gov. Chris Christie to sign the Democracy Act. "We're going to give the governor an opportunity to sign the legislation. Or we're going to get it done one way or another. It's his choice," Sweeny said at a press conference.
North Carolina: Legislators are considering moving all the of the state’s primaries to March instead of just the presidential primary. A decision to move the primaries must be official by October 1.
U.S. Virgin Islands: During a recent budget hearing, numerous senators voiced their support for merging the St. Croix and the St. Thomas-St. John elections boards into one board. The senators suggested that by merging the boards it would reduce conflict and confusion. "It is obvious not just here but to the people of the Virgin Islands it is time for one board," Sen. Kenneth Gittens, chairman of the Rules and Judiciary Committee said during the hearing.