IV. Legislative Updates
Alabama: House Minority Leader Craig Ford is planning to introduce legislation that will allow voters in the Yellowhammer State to vote early. He already has the support of local elections leaders.
Florida: Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) has filed legislation that would automatically register Floridians to vote when they apply for or renews a driver’s license.
Illinois: The House failed to overturn Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of an automatic voter registration bill. The veto, which failed by 71 votes, saw quite a few Republican legislators who had supported the initial bill vote against the veto.
Even before the veto vote though, Sen. Sue Rezin (R- Morris) had introduced new automatic voter registration legislation.=. “This bill balances our desire to register to vote along with our need to ensure that only eligible voters are being registered,” Rezin said. The new bill would require the state to screen citizenship records before automatically registering an individual.
Michigan: Michigan legislators are reviewing several bills that would make voter ID laws in the state more stringent. Under the legislation, those without the proper ID would have to cast a provisional ballot and then would have 10-days to clarify the situation. Under current law a voter without the proper ID may sign an affidavit.
Nevada: An initiative petition to put automatic voter registration before the legislature has been submitted for verification. More than 125,000 signatures were submitted. The petition needs at least 55,234 signatures to be approved. The Automatic Voter Registration Initiative would amend state law to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to transmit information to the secretary of state’s office to register people to vote or update their information. People could opt out of the program.
Ohio: Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) had introduced SB 347 that would remove uncontested races from primary ballots and would not require elections officials to hold special primaries to fill open congressional seats when only one candidate is on the ballot.
Texas: Three separate bills (S 186, S 231 and S 146) have all been pre-filed and all, in different ways, are aimed at getting the state’s Department of Public Safety to automatically register voters when they get a new or renew their license.
Utah: Legislators are drafting several bills following problems that cropped up during the November election. One bill would automatically update a voters records when they do a change of address at the DMV (currently it’s an opt-in change). Another bill would allow county clerks to add more last-minute vote centers if they didn’t think enough voters had returned ballots by mail prior to the election. Yet another bill under draft would require new voting machines statewide.
Virginia: Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), GOP chairman of the House of Delegates elections committee has pre-filed a bill that would add stricter paperwork and reporting requirements for NGOs that conduct third-party voter registration events.
Wyoming: The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee has forwarded a bill to the full Legislature that, if approved, would allow Wyoming voters to apply to become permanent absentee voters.