Reviewing this year’s 2,500+ pieces of election-related legislation

Welcome to the Monday, December 19, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. More than 2,500 election-related bills were introduced in state legislatures this year
  2. The Federal Register has added 77,000 pages since the beginning of year
  3. Candidates advance to the 2022 Holiday Cookie general election
  4. For the Eighth Day of the 15 Days of Ballotpedia, we’re going local!

More than 2,500 election-related bills were introduced in state legislatures this year

Ballotpedia tracked 2,534 election-related bills in 45 states this year. This comes as part of our Election Administration Legislation Tracker, which keeps tabs on the latest election-related legislation nationwide. 

We’re already following more than 100 bills pre-filed for 2023. But first, let’s take a quick look back at 2022. 

Most of these bills—1,714, or 68%—have had no activity, meaning they were introduced, but have not yet been placed before any legislative committees.

We tracked 266 bills that were enacted—11% of the total. Another 10% either failed or were vetoed. The remaining bills are all pending, having advanced out of at least one committee, but without final action so far.

States with Democratic trifectas—meaning full legislative and gubernatorial control—accounted for 93 of the 266 enacted bills (35%), and 121 (45%) came in states with Republican trifectas. States with divided governments enacted 52 bills (20%).

Among the states that considered any election-related legislation this year, New York had the most bills at 416, while Connecticut had the fewest at two.

Five states considered no election-related bills this year, though three of those—Montana, North Dakota, and Texas—did not have regular legislative sessions this year.

Democrats and Republicans sponsored nearly equal numbers of election-related bills at 1,107 and 1,106, respectively. A combination of Democrats and Republicans sponsored another 219, and partisan sponsorship was unknown or unavailable for 102.

We assign at least one subject-category tag to each election-related bill in our database. These tags help summarize the contents of each bill. Complex or omnibus bills may require multiple tags. You can view a full list of all categories and subcategories, including explanations, here.

When organized by subject, the largest number of bills concerned voter registration and maintaining voter registration lists, followed by absentee/mail-in voting, contest-specific procedures, ballot access, and audits and oversight.

Both major parties had specific subject areas where they were more active than the opposing party.

Want to stay in the know with future election-related legislative updates? Subscribe to our weekly digest, and get our latest stats and analyses delivered straight to your inbox each Friday!

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The Federal Register has added 77,000 pages since the beginning of year

Between Dec. 12 and 16, the Federal Register added 1,567 pages for a year-to-date total of 77,457 pages, making 2022 the third-most active year since 2016.

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity, accounting for regulatory and deregulatory actions.

The Biden Administration has added an average of 1,549 pages to the Federal Register each week this year. At that rate, the total number of pages is projected to reach 80,555.

The most recent addition to the Federal Register includes 392 notices, three presidential documents, 44 proposed rules, and 74 final rules.

Certain rules are classified as significant, meaning they have the potential to have large effects on the economy, environment, public health, or state/local governments.

The Biden administration has issued 228 significant proposed rules, 240 significant final rules, and five significant notices as of Dec. 16.

Some of those significant additions include:

  • Modifications to regulations regarding medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder from the Health and Human Services Department;
  • A notification of public hearing regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program for 2023-2025 from the Environmental Protection Agency; and,
  • A correction to a rule regarding General Schedule Locality Pay Areas from the Personnel Management Office.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of our Administrative State Project. This neutral encyclopedic resource analyzes the administrative state, its philosophical origins, legal precedents, and scholarly examinations. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Keep reading 

Candidates advance to the 2022 Holiday Cookie general election

The polls closed last week for this year’s Holiday Cookie primary. And in a sugar-shocking turn of events, it appears that incumbent Chocolate chip cookie has lost!

Eight cookies participated in the primary plus several write-in candidacies, including a particularly sweet showing for biscochitos, the state cookie of New Mexico.

But only the top-three vote-getters advance to the general election. Those primary results baked out as follows:

And, with that, Gingerbread cookie, Sugar cookie, and Snickerdoodle are your general election nom-nominees!

If you missed out on the primary, don’t worry: general election polls are open today at 8:00 a.m. E.T. until Thursday, Dec. 22, at 5:00 p.m. E.T.

Please check out the candidate profiles in preparation for this scrumptious general election.

Cast your vote today! 

For the Eighth Day of the 15 Days of Ballotpedia, we’re going local!

Each day, we have showcased the different ways Ballotpedia helps voters get the information they need about politics and policy. From congressional races to ballot measures to school board elections, the more people understand the issues and candidates on their ballots, the more informed their choices will be.

However, as a nonprofit, our work is not free to produce and we invite you to join us in providing all voters the information they need in 2023 and beyond. We have an ambitious goal—to raise $100,000 this month! Please join thousands of other Ballotpedia readers in helping us achieve this goal!

Today, we’re highlighting our local coverage.

Ballotpedia works hard to offer every voter ballot information from presidential candidates down through state legislative races. But there are 14,000 school districts, 19,000 cities and towns, and 3,200 counties nationwide. 

Altogether, these local offices add up to about 585,000 elected positions, and our goal is to cover them all within the next five years!

That’s why Ballotpedia focuses so much on local elections. State, county, and municipal elections, school districts, ballot initiatives, and primaries – these are the laboratories of democracy, the places where civic engagement is most potent.

Too often, these local races are overlooked, but with your support, we are determined to give voters information at every level of government possible.

Click here to make your tax-deductible contribution