States have enacted 182 election-related bills this year, 21 more than at this point in 2022.
Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin: Ballotpedia’s Weekly Digest on Election Administration. Every Friday, we deliver the latest updates on election policy around the country, including legislative activity, nationwide trends, and recent news. In each issue, you’ll find updates on legislative activity and recent news.
- States enacted eight bills during the past week. In the same week in 2022, states enacted 21 bills.
- States have enacted 182 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 161 bills.
- Of the bills active over the past week, Democrats sponsored 63, a 97% increase from the 32 Democrat-sponsored bills state legislatures acted on the week before. Republicans sponsored 20 of the bills acted on this past week, a 33% decrease from the 30 Republican-sponsored bills state legislatures acted on the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were contest-specific procedures (18), ballot access (13), absentee/mail-in voting (11), voter registration and list maintenance (10), and audits and oversight (10).
Recent activity and status changes
We’ve tracked the following election-related bills in 2023:
- 182 enacted bills (8 more than in our last edition)
- 1 that has passed both chambers (-4)
- 258 that have passed one chamber (+16)
- 1,859 introduced bills (+3)
- 264 dead bills (+3)
States have enacted 182 election-related bills in 2023, compared to the 161 bills enacted at this point in 2022. Democrats sponsored 32 (17.6%), Republicans sponsored 114 (62.6%), and 20 (11%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 16 (8.8%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
Bills enacted since June 2, with their official titles, are listed below.
Louisiana (Divided government)
- LA HB496: Makes revisions to the Louisiana Election Code
North Carolina (Divided government)
Oklahoma (Republican trifecta)
- OK SB677: Declarations of Candidacy; requiring confidentiality of certain information; requiring submission of certain forms with declarations of candidacy for certain offices. Emergency.
- OK SB266: Elections; increasing number of affected registered votes to establish a subprecinct. Effective date.
- OK SB110: Career and technology education; directing a district with a certain number of electors to be divided into board zones. Effective date.
- OK SB375: Elections; modifying date for certain elections; modifying filing period for declarations of candidacy. Emergency.
Texas (Republican trifecta)
- TX SB1089: Relating to repealing the ability to declare certain unopposed candidates for office as elected.
Bills that passed both chambers
Two bills have passed both chambers (but are awaiting gubernatorial action) to date, compared to 59 bills that had passed both chambers at this point in 2022. To see all bills that have currently passed both chambers, click here.
Bills that passed both chambers since June 2, with their official titles, are listed below.
Illinois (Democratic trifecta)
- IL SB2123: An act concerning government.
Oklahoma (Republican trifecta)
- OK SB290: Conduct of elections; increasing compensation for certain election officials.
Governors have vetoed 21 bills this year, compared to 12 at this point in 2022. To see all bills that have been vetoed in 2023, click here.
Five bills have been vetoed since June 2. They are listed with their official titles below. (Note: SC H4413 was vetoed on May 18, with a House vote sustaining the governor’s veto on June 7.)
Arizona (Divided government)
- AZ SB1265: Voting; elections; tally; prohibition.
Nevada (Divided government)
- NV SB133: Revises provisions relating to presidential electors. (BDR 24-539)
- NV SB404: Makes various changes relating to elections. (BDR 24-843)
- NV AB394: Revises provisions governing elections. (BDR 24-776)
South Carolina (Republican trifecta)
- SC H4413: Bamberg County School District
Enacted bills by topic and sponsorship, 2022 vs. 2023
Recent activity by topic and sponsorship
The chart below shows the topics of the bills state legislatures acted on since June 2. Click here to see a full list of bill categories and their definitions.
* Note: Contest-specific procedures refers to primary systems, municipal election procedures, recall elections, special election procedures, and other systems unique to a particular election type.
All 2023 bills by topic and sponsorship
The chart below shows the topics of a sample of the 2,585 bills we have tracked this year. Note that the sums of the numbers listed do not equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics.
Recent activity by state and trifecta status
Sixty-five (61.1%) of the 105 bills with activity this week are in Democratic trifecta states, 10 (9.5%) are in Republican trifecta states, and 30 (28.6%) are in states with divided governments.
Of the 50 bills acted on in the same week in 2022, 20 (40%) were from states with Democratic trifectas, 10 (20%) were from states with Republican trifectas, and 20 (40%) were from states with divided governments.
The map below shows election-related bills acted on in the past week by state trifecta status.
All 2023 bills by state and trifecta status
Of the total bills introduced in 2023, 1,128 (43.6%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,144 (44.3%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 313 (12.1%) are in states with divided governments.
Texas legislators have introduced the most election-related bills this year (389). Texas holds legislative sessions in odd years only, and so had no activity in 2022. The Texas Legislature is in a special session as of June 2, with the regular session adjourning on May 29. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022 with 417 bills introduced. Tennessee has enacted the most bills this year (17). In 2022, New York and California had enacted the most bills at this point.
The map below shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state in 2023 by state trifecta status.
Nevada Republicans challenge presidential primary system
On May 26, the Nevada Republican Party (NV GOP) filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s presidential primary system. AB126, which Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed in June 2021, changed Nevada’s presidential nomination process from a caucus to a primary. The NV GOP argued that the primary system “threatens to obstruct the rights of the NV GOP and Nevada citizens under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to freely associate.” The Party asked the court to prevent the secretary of state from enforcing AB126 and to allow state parties to select their own nominating procedures. If the request is denied, the Party asked to hold a caucus alongside a primary and assign delegates based on the caucus results. A NV GOP statement said “the Nevada Republican Party will never stop fighting for free and fair elections. We look forward to the precedent that political parties may decide their method of choosing their nominee being upheld in court.” Nevada State Democratic Party representative Mallory Payne said, “This is the GOP playbook at work – restrict voting access to limit as many voices as possible and change the rules if they don’t serve their interests. Democrats moved from a caucus to a presidential preference primary to simplify the process and make voting easier and more accessible. Republicans aren’t even trying that hard to hide their intentions – they’re doing whatever it takes to protect their MAGA leader and get Trump over the finish line.” While 2024 presidential election dates are still being set, Republicans in 46 states are expected to nominate presidential candidates through primary systems, with the remaining states using caucuses.
Arizona Supreme Court will not hear mail-in voting lawsuit
On June 2, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected the Arizona Republican Party’s (AZGOP) challenge to the state’s mail-in voting laws. In May 2022, the AZGOP sued the state, arguing that the mail-in voting laws violated the state constitution’s provision that “secrecy in voting shall be preserved.” The Arizona Superior Court dismissed the suit in June, and the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in January 2023. The Arizona Supreme Court justices did not explain their decision not to hear the case. In the appeals court ruling, Appellate Judge Cynthia Bailey said, “The Secrecy Clause’s meaning is clear: When providing for voting by ballot or any other method, the legislature must uphold voters’ ability to conceal their choices. The constitution does not mandate any particular method for preserving secrecy in voting.” State Rep. Alexander Kolodin (R) said, “Many voters are simply unable to protect themselves and can only vote freely in a system where they are not forced (e.g. in the case of domestic violence) to request a mail-in ballot only to be coerced and intimidated to vote in a certain way when marking their ballots.”