Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. In this month’s issue:
- Missouri enacts bill making several changes to state election laws
- Legislation update: Legislation activity in June 2022
- Redistricting round-up: The latest redistricting news
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Missouri enacts bill making several changes to state election laws
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.
What the bill does
House Bill 1878 legislation does 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, if 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 biennial cybersecurity reviews;
- Prohibits the use of mail-in ballots under executive or administrative order;
- Requires photo identification 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.
The state Senate approved the final version of the bill on May 9 by a vote of 23-11, with 23 Republicans voting for the bill and 10 Democrats and one Republican voting against it. On May 12, the state House voted 97-46 to approve the bill, with 96 Republicans and one Democrat voting for the bill and 46 Democrats voting against it.
Parson said, “In 2020 and years prior, Missouri has conducted free, fair, and secure elections, but with changing technologies and new emerging threats, we want to ensure they remain that way. HB 1878 strengthens our election processes and gives Missourians confidence that their voices are being accurately and securely recorded at the ballot box.”
Rep. John Simmons (R), who sponsored the bill, said, “Our election system is a cornerstone of our Republic. Faith and confidence in the process is a solemn responsibility by voters themselves and those conducting elections. A photo ID requirement is but one common sense measure the vast majority of Missourians support.”
Randy Dunn, executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party, opposed the legislation, saying, “HB1878 guts voting rights in our state for each and every one of us. The thought that someone could be jailed for registering their neighbors to vote is unconscionable. The idea that the Secretary of State could just dump voter rolls when he feels like it is dangerous. There is another lesser talked about piece in HB1878 – the removal of presidential primaries. This severely limits the ability for many to cast a vote; instead of going to our polling location and filling out a ballot, Missourians will have to attend caucuses, like Iowa and New Hampshire. Not only are caucuses inconvenient, they are truly discriminatory to working families and more.”
Legislation update: Legislation activity in June 2022
In June, legislatures in 20 states and the District of Columbia took action on 158 election bills.
Of the 158 bills acted upon in June, 37 involved voter registration voter list maintenance policies. Thirty-one involved absentee/mail-in voting. Twenty-nine dealt with audit and oversight protocols. The chart below identifies the 10 most common policy areas implicated by the bills that state lawmakers acted on in June. 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 enacted bills because some bills deal with multiple subjects.
Democrats sponsored 60 of the 158 bills acted on in June (37.9%). Republicans sponsored 71 (44.9%). Bipartisan groups sponsored 21 (13.3%). For the remaining six (3.8%), partisan sponsorship was not specified.
This information comes from Ballotpedia’s Election Administration Legislation Tracker, which went live on June 29. This free and accessible online resource allows you to find easy-to-digest bill tags and summaries—written and curated by our election administration experts! We update our database and bill-tracking daily. Using our powerful interactive search function, you can zero in on more 2,500 bills (and counting) covering these topics:
- Absentee/mail-in voting and early voting policies
- Ballot access requirements for candidates, parties, and ballot initiatives
- Election dates and deadlines
- Election oversight protocols
- In-person voting procedures
- Post-election procedures (including counting, canvassing, and auditing policies)
- Voter ID
- Voter registration and eligibility
To make your search results more precise, we first place bills into one of 22 parent categories. We then apply to each bill one or more of the 88 tags we’ve developed.
If you don’t want to immerse yourself in the world of election legislation quite that often, we have a free, weekly digest that goes straight to your inbox and keeps you caught up on the week’s developments.
Redistricting for the 2022 elections complete after Supreme Court ruling
States completed congressional and legislative redistricting for this year’s elections on June 28 when the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a U.S. District Court ruling that had struck down the congressional district map the Louisiana Legislature approved in March. The Supreme Court will review the case in full during an upcoming term and consolidate it with a similar case from Alabama (Milligan v. Merrill). The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the maps the legislature approved will be used in this year’s elections. Louisiana was the last state to complete congressional redistricting this year.
Forty-four states adopted congressional district maps after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, making congressional redistricting unnecessary. Forty-nine states redrew legislative district maps for both chambers. Montana has not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census and will use the boundaries enacted after the 2010 census for this year’s elections. Montana’s legislature will draw state House and Senate boundaries in 2023. It only holds sessions in odd-numbered years and adjourned in April 2021, before the U.S. Census Bureau delivered detailed census information to states.
Voters in five states will use congressional or legislative district boundaries in the 2022 elections that will be in effect for this cycle only. In the following states, federal or state courts adopted remedial maps with the stipulation that they be redrawn before the 2024 elections.
- Alaska (state Senate)
- South Carolina (state House of Representatives)
- New York (state Assembly)
- North Carolina (Congress)
- Ohio legislative (state House of Representatives and state Senate)