Election Legislation Weekly Digest: July 1, 2022

Here is our weekly round-up on election-related legislation. In it, you’ll find the following information: 

  • Noteworthy bills: Here, we identify and report on the contents and legislative status of noteworthy bills. 
  • Recent activity: Here, we report on the number of bills acted on within the past week. 
  • The big picture: Here, we look at the bills in the aggregate. 
    • Legislative status: How many bills have been introduced, voted upon, or enacted into law?
    • Concentration of activity: What states have seen the highest concentration of legislative activity?
    • Partisan affiliation of sponsorship: How many bills have been sponsored by Democrats vs. Republicans? 
    • Subject: What subjects are most commonly addressed in the bills? 

Noteworthy bills

This part of our report highlights recent activity on specific noteworthy bills. A bill is noteworthy if it meets one or more of the following criteria: 

  • It has been enacted into law. 
  • It is poised to be enacted into law. 
  • It is the subject of significant debate in the legislature. 
  • It is the subject of significant commentary by activists, journalists, etc. 

MO HB1878: This bill makes a number of modifications to the state’s election laws, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Authorizes the secretary of state to conduct quarterly audits of the state’s voter registration list and directs election officials to remove the names of ineligible voters from the list; 
  • Prohibits changes to the state’s election laws within 26 weeks of a presidential election; 
  • Prohibits election officials, at both the state and local levels, from accepting or spending private funds for the purpose of administering elections; 
  • Requires voters to “declare a political party affiliation from the established political parties or declare themselves unaffiliated” upon registration;
  • Allows voters to file change-of-address forms after the registration deadline, up to and including Election Day, provided that they can present photo identification upon doing so; 
  • Bars payment for soliciting voter registration applications; 
  • Requires entities that solicit more than 10 voter registration applications to register with the secretary of state; 
  • Requires the use of paper ballots; 
  • Discontinues the use of touchscreen direct-recording electronic vote counting machines, effective Jan. 1, 2024; 
  • Requires election authorities to conduct cybersecurity reviews once every two years;
  • Prohibits the use of mail-in ballots under executive or administrative order; 
  • Specifies that photo identification is required for voting a regular ballot or absentee/mail-in ballot in person;
  • Eliminates the presidential preference primary, instead providing for the use of caucuses to determine presidential nominees; and 
  • Prohibits public officials from entering into a settlement in any civil action that “nullifies, suspends, enjoins, alters, or conflicts” with the state’s election laws and authorizes the state legislature to intervene in any such action.

Legislative history and status: The state Senate approved the final version of the bill on May 9 by a vote of 23-11, with 23 Republicans voting in favor of the bill and 10 Democrats and one Republican voting against the bill. The state House followed suit on May 12 by a vote of 97-46, with 96 Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor and 46 Democrats voting against the bill. Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed HB1878 into law on June 29.

Political context: Missouri is a Republican trifecta, meaning that Republicans control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

Recent activity

Since June 24, 48 bills have been acted on in some way (a 38.5 percent decrease as compared to last week’s total of 78 bills). These 48 bills represent 1.9 percent of the 2,521 bills we are tracking. Of these 48 bills, 34 (70.8 percent) are from states with Democratic trifectas, 9 (18.8 percent) are from states with Republican trifectas, and 5 (10.4 percent) are from states with divided governments. 

The bar chart below compares recent activity on a week-to-week basis over the last eight weeks. 

  • 2 bills were either introduced or saw pre-committee action (e.g., new sponsor added, subcommittee hearing scheduled, etc.). 
    • Democratic trifectas: 1.
    • Divided governments: 1.
  • 5 bills advanced from committee (or saw post-committee action). 
    • Democratic trifectas: 4.
    • Divided governments: 1.
  • 18 bills passed one chamber (or saw pre-adoption action in the second chamber). 
    • Democratic trifectas: 17.
    • Divided governments: 1.
  • 2 bills are in conference committees. 
    • Republican trifectas: 2.
      • AZ HB2710: Registrations; counting procedures; observers; verification.
      • AZ SB1259: Recounts; requests; procedures; audits.
  • 12 bills passed both chambers (or were acted on in some way after passing both chambers). 
    • Democratic trifectas: 8.
      • CA SB131: November 8, 2022, statewide general election: ballot measures.
      • DE SB320: An Act To Amend Title 15 Of The Delaware Code Relating To Elections.
      • NJ A1969: Allows minors to serve as election workers between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on election days.
      • NJ A3817: Requires ballot privacy sleeves at polling place; makes various changes to early and mail-in voting procedures.
      • NJ A3820: Prohibits unaffiliated mail-in voters from receiving mail-in ballots for primary election; requires election officials to provide such voters certain notices; prohibits mail-in ballot envelopes from containing visible political affiliation or designation for certain elections.
      • NJ A3822: Changes deadlines for mailing of mail-in ballots; requires certain reporting on canvass of ballots; permits establishment of pickup schedule for certain mail-in ballots; removes ability to change party affiliation at MVC.
      • NJ A3823: Provides additional processes to maintain voter rolls; permits remote training for election workers; removes salaries of boards of elections from two percent cap on expenditure increase; exempts election worker compensation from taxation.
      • NJ A3929: Allows certain voters residing overseas to vote in certain elections in this State depending on overseas residency or intent to return.
    • Republican trifectas: 3.
      • AZ HB2243: Voter registration; state residency; cancellation.
      • AZ SB1255: Lieutenant governor; duties; ballot.
      • NH HB1567: Relative to the removal of election officials from office.
    • Divided governments: 1.
      • PA SB573: In district election officers, further providing for appointment of watchers; and, in penalties, further providing for refusal to permit overseers, watchers, attorneys or candidates to act and for hindering or delaying performance of duty.
  • 8 bills were enacted. 
    • Democratic trifectas: 4.
      • NY A07933: Includes individuals who do not identify exclusively as a binary gender in eligibility for party positions.
      • NY S00253: Relates to ballots where the express intent of the voter is unambiguous.
      • RI H6656: Mail Ballots.
      • RI S2118: Mail Ballots.
    • Republican trifectas: 4.
      • AZ HCR2015: Initiatives; supermajority vote; requirement.
      • AZ SCR1024: Lieutenant governor; joint ticket.
      • NH HB514: Relative to ballot column rotation.
      • NH SB364: Relative to the use of electronic poll books.
  • 1 bill was vetoed. 
    • Divided governments: 1.
      • LA HB359: Provides relative to federal election guidance and funding.

The map below visualizes the concentration of this recent activity across the nation. A darker shade of yellow indicates a higher number of relevant bills that have been acted upon in the last week. A lighter shade of yellow indicates a lower number of bills that have been acted upon in the last week. 

The big picture

To date, we have tracked 2,521 election-related bills. This represents a marginal increase as compared to last week’s 2,519 bills. These bills were either introduced this year or crossed over from last year’s legislative sessions. 

Legislative status 

The pie charts below visualize the legislative status of the bills we are tracking. The following status indicators are used: 

  • Introduced: The bill has been pre-filed, introduced, or referred to committee but has not otherwise been acted upon.
  • Advanced from committee: The bill has received a favorable vote in committee. It has either advanced to another committee or to the floor for a vote. 
  • Passed one chamber: The bill has been approved by one legislative chamber.
  • Conference committee: Differing versions of the bill have been approved by their respective chambers and a conference committee has been appointed to reconcile the differences. 
  • Passed both chambers: The bill has cleared both chambers of the legislature. 
  • Enacted: The bill has been enacted into law, by gubernatorial action or inaction or veto override. 
  • Vetoed: The bill has been vetoed. 
  • Dead: The bill has been defeated in committee or by floor vote. 

The pie charts below visualize the legislative status of bills in Democratic and Republican trifectas, respectively. 

Concentration of activity

The map below visualizes the concentration of legislative activity across the nation. A darker shade of yellow indicates a higher number of relevant bills that have been introduced. A lighter shade of yellow indicates a lower number of relevant bills. 

Partisan affiliation of sponsor(s)

The pie chart below visualizes the partisan affiliation of bill sponsors.

The bar chart below visualizes the correlation between the partisan affiliation of bill sponsors and trifecta status (e.g., how many Democratic-sponsored bills were introduced in Democratic trifectas vs. Republican trifectas).

Bills by topic

The chart below presents information on the total number of bills dealing with particular topics. The number listed on the blue portion of each bar indicates the number of Democratic-sponsored bills dealing with the subject in question. The number listed on the red portion of the bar indicates the number of Republican-sponsored bills. The purple and gray portions of the bar indicate the number of bipartisan-sponsored bills and bills with unspecified sponsorship, respectively. Note that the numbers listed here will not, when summed, equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics.