On June 29, 2022, Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed House Bill 1878 into law, making a number of modifications to the state’s election laws.
The legislation requires entities that solicit more than 10 voter registration applications to register with the secretary of state, voters to declare a political party affiliation or declare themselves unaffiliated upon registration, the use of paper ballots, and election authorities to conduct cybersecurity reviews once every two years.
The legislation prohibits changes to the state’s election laws within 26 weeks of a presidential election, election officials from accepting or spending private funds for the purpose of administering elections, the use of mail-in ballots under executive or administrative order, payment for soliciting voter registration applications, and bars public officials from entering into a settlement in any civil action that conflicts with the state’s election laws.
Additionally, the legislation authorizes the secretary of state to conduct quarterly audits of the state’s voter registration list, directs election officials to remove the names of ineligible voters from the list, allows voters to file change-of-address forms after the registration deadline, discontinues the use of touchscreen direct-recording electronic vote-counting machines, specifies that photo identification is required for voting a regular ballot or absentee/mail-in ballot in person, and eliminates the presidential preference primary, instead providing for the use of caucuses to determine presidential nominees.
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.
Ballotpedia tracks election legislation in all 50 states. Election law encompasses a wide array of issues, including voter registration, ballot access, early voting, absentee/mail-in voting, and voter identification requirements. The laws governing the administration of elections can vary significantly from state to state and even between jurisdictions within states. As of June 2022, there have been 169 election-related bills enacted.