Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. In this month’s issue:
- Election-related ballot measures in the 2022 general election
- New York State Legislature passes two election bills
- Legislation update: Legislation activity in November 2022
Have a question/feedback/or just want to say hello? Respond to this email!
States approve measures on voting requirements, state initiative processes
Eleven election-related ballot measures appeared on the ballot in 10 states on Nov. 8, and voters in Louisiana decided on an election-related initiative on Dec. 10. Seven of the measures concerned voting policy, with voters approving measures on issues such as ranked-choice voting, early voting, and voter eligibility. One state approved a voter ID requirement, while another state rejected a similar requirement.
Five measures related to citizen-initiated ballot measure processes. Voters approved three measures requiring single subjects for ballot initiatives, requiring a three-fifths vote for citizen-initiated measures, and mandating that initiatives include information on how they would affect the amount of income tax owed by taxpayers. Another measure requiring a three-fifths vote failed to gain approval, as did a measure allowing a state legislature to repeal a voter-approved ballot initiative.
Below are summaries of the seven ballot measures on voting-related policies, followed by the five on citizen-initiated ballot measures.
Voters approve ranked-choice and early voting measures, Arizonans reject voter ID requirement
Voters approved six of seven ballot measures to change voting-related policies.
Nevadans approved an initiative to use ranked-choice voting for certain state offices 52.94% to 47.06%. Nevada Question 3 establishes open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for congressional, gubernatorial, state executive official, and state legislative general elections.
Connecticut, one of five states without some form of early voting, approved Question 1, a constitutional amendment allowing the Connecticut General Assembly to pass laws providing for in-person early voting. The measure passed 60.53% to 39.47%.
In Michigan, voters approved an initiated constitutional amendment, Proposal 2, 59.99% to 40.01%. Proposal 2 establishes various voting policies as rights in the Michigan Constitution, such as requiring nine days of early voting, requiring the state to fund prepaid stamps and a system for tracking absentee ballots, and establishing that people have a right to vote without harassment, interference, or intimidation.
In Arizona and Nebraska, voters decided on ballot measures to require or alter voter identification requirements. Arizona voters rejected Proposition 309, which would have required voters’ date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and eliminated the two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting, by a margin of 0.76%.
In Nebraska, voters approved Initiative 432 65.45% to 34.55%. The measure requires valid photo identification in order to vote and authorizes the state legislature to pass laws to specify the photo identification requirements.
Voters in Ohio approved Issue 2, a constitutional amendment to prohibit local governments from allowing anyone lacking the qualifications of an elector, including citizenship, to vote. The measure passed 76.90% to 23.10%.
Louisiana also passed a similar amendment, Amendment 1, on Dec. 10. Voters approved the measure 73.44% to 26.56%.
Changes to state initiative processes win in three states, three-fifths vote and legislative repeal measures defeated
Voters in Arizona, Arkansas, and Colorado decided on five legislative proposals to change citizen-initiated ballot measure processes this year. Three of these proposals were approved.
In Arizona, voters approved two out of three constitutional amendments related to ballot measures. Proposition 129 (approved 55.23% to 44.77%), creates a single-subject rule for ballot initiatives, adding Arizona the other 16 other states with a single-subject rule. Proposition 132 (approved 50.72% to 49.28%) requires a 60% vote for voters to pass ballot measures to approve taxes. Proposition 128, which would have allowed the legislature to repeal a voter-approved ballot initiative following a state or federal supreme court order striking down a portion of the initiative, was defeated 63.60% to 36.40%.
In Arkansas, voters rejected Issue 2, a constitutional amendment requiring a 60% supermajority vote of approval from voters to adopt constitutional amendments (legislatively referred and citizen-initiated) and citizen-initiated state statutes. The measure failed 59.12% to 40.88%.
In Colorado, voters approved Proposition GG, a proposal requiring a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title for initiated measures. The measure passed 71.92% to 28.08%.
New York State Legislature passes two election bills
On Dec. 12, the New York State Legislature delivered two election-related bills to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) after both chambers of the legislature approved the bills earlier this year. Assembly Bill A04261 standardizes the objection process for ballot access documents, while Senate Bill S02951 amends the state’s deadlines for the mailing and receipt of voter registration applications.
- A04261: This bill standardizes the objection process for designating petitions, independent nominating petitions, certificates of nomination, and ballot access documents at the state level by prohibiting local boards of elections from enacting their own objection processes.
- Final state Senate vote (May 24): 49-12 (41 Democrats and eight Republicans in favor).
- Final state Assembly vote (May 23): 145-0 (103 Democrats and 42 Republicans in favor).
- S02951: This bill reduces the time for mailing and receipt of voter registration applications to the constitutional minimum of fifteen days before the next primary, general, or special election. Applications must be received no later than the tenth day before such elections.
- Final state Senate vote (May 31): 44-19 (43 Democrats and one Republican in favor).
- Final state Assembly vote (June 3): 102-41 (102 Democrats in favor).
Legislation update: Legislation activity in November 2022
In November, legislatures in seven states took action on 11 election bills.
The chart below identifies the 10 most common policy areas of bills lawmakers addressed in November. 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.
Democrats sponsored five of the 11 bills addressed in November (45.5%). Republicans sponsored five (45.5%). Bipartisan groups sponsored one (9%).
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 than 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.