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 19 bills during the past week. In the same week in 2022, states enacted five bills.
- States have enacted 208 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 166 bills.
- Of the bills active over the past week, Democrats sponsored 40, a 36.5% decrease from the 63 Democrat-sponsored bills state legislatures acted on the week before. Republicans sponsored 18 of the bills acted on this past week, a 10% decrease from the 20 Republican-sponsored bills state legislatures acted on the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were absentee/mail-in voting (29), contest-specific procedures (17), voter registration and list maintenance (12), audits and oversight (10), early voting (in-person) (10), and election dates and deadlines (10).
Recent activity and status changes
We’ve tracked the following election-related bills in 2023:
- 208 enacted bills (26 more than in our last edition)
- 41 that has passed both chambers (+40)
- 200 that have passed one chamber (-58)
- 1,724 introduced bills (-135)
- 400 dead bills (+136)
States have enacted 208 election-related bills in 2023, compared to the 166 bills enacted at this point in 2022. Democrats sponsored 36 (17.3%), Republicans sponsored 127 (61.1%), and 26 (12.5%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 19 (9.1%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
Bills enacted since our last edition, with their official titles, are listed below.
Delaware (Democratic trifecta)
- DE SB57: An Act To Amend Title 15 Of The Delaware Code Relating To Presidential Electors.
Louisiana (Divided government)
- LA SB80: Provides for transparency and community engagement in redistricting.
- LA HB449: Provides relative to the rights of voters with disabilities
- LA HB311: (Constitutional Amendment) Prohibits the use of monies from a foreign government or nongovernmental source to fund elections
North Carolina (Divided government)
- NC H135: Even-Year Elections/City of Trinity
Texas (Republican trifecta)
- TX HB315: Relating to a statement by the secretary of state regarding the furnishing of certain personal information on an application for a ballot to be voted by mail.
- TX HB3191: Relating to the elections and operations of certain hospital districts.
- TX HB1243: Relating to the penalty for the offense of illegal voting; increasing a criminal penalty.
- TX HB1848:Relating to a study by the secretary of state on the feasibility of central counting stations complying with federal standards for facilities that contain sensitive information.
- TX HB4559: Relating to the application of statutes that classify political subdivisions according to population.
- TX HB1299: Relating to the signature required on a carrier envelope for a ballot voted by mail; changing the elements of a criminal offense.
- TX HB3159: Relating to the use of an accessible absentee mail system by certain voters.
- TX HB1631: Relating to hours of service by an election watcher.
- TX HB1632: Relating to standardized training for election officers.
- TX HB3033: Relating to the public information law.
- TX HB2559: Relating to the persons authorized to administer an oath in this state.
- TX HB5180: Relating to the public inspection of election records.
- TX HB1217: Relating to the administration of and procedures relating to early voting by personal appearance.
- TX HB2800: Relating to meetings of a county election board.
Bills that passed both chambers
41 bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 54 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 our last edition, with their official titles, are listed below.
Florida (Republican trifecta)
Louisiana (divided government)
- LA HB260: Provides relative to federal election guidance and funding
Montana (Republican trifecta)
- MT SB254: Generally revise election laws
Nevada (divided government)
- NV AB286: Makes various changes relating to elections. (BDR 24-530)
- NV AB192: Revises provisions relating to elections. (BDR 24-836)
- NV AB246: Revises provisions governing elections. (BDR 24-821)
- NV SB60: Revises provisions relating to campaign practices. (BDR 24-412)
Governors have vetoed 21 bills this year, compared to 12 at this point in 2022. To see all bills vetoed in 2023, click here.
No bills have been vetoed since our last edition.
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 9. 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 2,595 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
Forty-two (59.2%) of the 71 bills with activity this week are in Democratic trifecta states, 18 (25.4%) are in Republican trifecta states, and 11 (15.5%) are in states with divided governments.
Of the 69 bills acted on in the same week in 2022, 30 (43.5%) were from states with Democratic trifectas, 9 (13%) were from states with Republican trifectas, and 30 (43.5%) 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, 1,134 (43.7%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,146 (44.2%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 315 (12.1%) are in states with divided governments.
Texas legislators have introduced the most election-related bills this year (394). 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 15, with the regular session adjourning on May 29. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022, with 417 bills introduced. Texas has enacted the most bills this year (20). In 2022, Tennessee enacted the most bills at this point (16).
The map below shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state in 2023 by state trifecta status.
U.S. Supreme Court rules Alabama congressional districts are unconstitutional
On June 8, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Alabama’s congressional districts are unconstitutional and violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts Roberts joined Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson in upholding a lower court’s ruling that the district boundaries discriminate against Black voters. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch dissented. As part of the court’s ruling, Alabama must redraw congressional districts so that Black voters have “a voting-age majority or something quite close to it” in more than one district. The redrawn districts are expected to be completed before the 2024 U.S. House elections. Writing for the majority, Roberts said, “We find Alabama’s new approach to (Section 2) compelling neither in theory nor in practice. We accordingly decline to recast our (Section 2) case law as Alabama requests.” In the dissenting opinion, Thomas wrote that the main issue in the case was whether the Voting Rights Act required Alabama “to intentionally redraw its longstanding congressional districts so that black voters can control a number of seats roughly proportional to the black share of the state’s population.” Thomas added that “Section 2 demands no such thing, and, if it did, the Constitution would not permit it.” Mississippi ACLU Executive Director Jarvis Dortch said the decision “affirmed the (federal) Voting Rights Act (and) prevents states from packing or cracking Black communities in a way that limits their ability to elect candidates of their choice.” Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen (R), a defendant in the case, said, “I am disappointed in today’s Supreme Court opinion but it remains the commitment of the Secretary of State’s Office to comply with all applicable election laws.”
Michigan judge rules against Republican Party official in absentee voting lawsuit
On June 13, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ordered Michigan Republican Party chair Kristina Karamo (R) and lawyers representing the party to pay legal costs associated with a lawsuit against the city of Detroit. Karamo filed the lawsuit on Oct. 26, 2022, alleging Detroit officials were not sufficiently monitoring absentee ballot drop boxes or reviewing absentee ballot signatures. The suit also asked the court to require Detroit voters to cast their ballots in person. At the time, Karamo was a candidate for Michigan Secretary of State. Judge Timothy Kenny dismissed the suit in November 2022, after which Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey (D) asked the judge to sanction the plaintiffs and their attorneys. In his latest ruling, Kenny said, “Plaintiffs merely threw out the allegation of ‘corruption in Detroit’ as the reason for disregarding the Michigan Constitution in this state’s largest city,” and that the suit was “rife with speculation, an absence of facts and a lack of understanding of Michigan election statutes and Detroit absentee ballot procedures.” David Fink, an attorney for the defendants, said, “We appreciate Judge Kenny’s hard work addressing this frivolous lawsuit, and we are grateful that he returned from retirement to consider our motion for sanctions. When a baseless lawsuit is filed to interfere with the good work done by Detroit’s City Clerk, there should be consequences.” Alexandria Taylor, an attorney representing Karamo and other plaintiffs, said, “We filed this lawsuit to shed light in a dark place. A place that has been enshrouded by a veil of secrecy.” Taylor said the latest ruling was “a miscarriage of justice,” adding, “This is why people don’t trust the judicial system.”