Michigan accounted for seven of the eight election-related bills signed into law this week.
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, two bills were approved.
- States have enacted 290 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 201 bills.
- Democrats sponsored 14 of the bills active over the past week, a 6.7% decrease from the 15 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored four of the bills acted on this past week, a 42.9% decrease from the seven Republican-sponsored bills state legislatures acted on the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were redistricting (8), absentee/mail-in voting (3), ballot access (3), contest-specific procedures (3), ballot verification (2), early voting (in-person) (2), election dates and deadlines (2), and voter registration and list maintenance (2).
Recent activity and status changes
Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills:
- 290 enacted bills (10 more than in our last edition)
- 22 that have passed both chambers (-6)
- 201 that have passed one chamber (+3)
- 1,818 introduced bills (-18)
- 499 dead bills (+1)
States have enacted 290 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 201 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 64 (21.9%), Republicans sponsored 149 (51.4%), and 46 (15.9%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 31 (10.7%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
Bills enacted since our last edition, with their official titles, are listed below.
Michigan (Democratic trifecta)
- MI SB0373: Elections: voters; definition of identification for election purposes; expand. Amends sec. 2 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.2).
- MI SB0367: Elections: voting procedures; early voting procedures; provide for and clarify. Amends secs. 570, 662, 668b, 674, 736b, 736c, 736d, 736e, 764a, 764b, 764d, 765, 765a, 765b, 768, 769, 795b, 797a, 798b & 805 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.570 et seq.); adds secs. 8, 523b, 720a, 720b, 720c, 720d, 720e, 720f, 720g, 720h, 720i, 720j, 765c & 768a & repeals secs. 14b, 24k & 767 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.14b et seq.) TIE BAR WITH: SB 0370’23, HB 4697’23
- MI SB0370: Elections: absent voters; signature matching and curing for absent voter ballot applications and absent voter ballot return envelopes; provide for, and provide for modifications to the absent voter ballot application and process. Amends secs. 759, 761 & 766 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.759 et seq.); adds secs. 766a & 766b & repeals sec. 759c of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.759c). TIE BAR WITH: SB 0339’23, HB 4756’23, SB 0387’23
- MI HB4697: Elections: absent voter ballot drop boxes; requirements for absent voter ballot drop boxes; modify. Amends sec. 761d of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.761d).
- MI HB4696: Criminal procedure: sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for certain Michigan election law violations; provide for and update. Amends sec. 11d, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.11d). TIE BAR WITH: SB 0367’23, SB 0370’23
- MI HB4699: Elections: absent voters; provisions regarding permanent mail ballot voters; implement, and modify certain election material retention periods. Amends secs. 509aa & 811 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.509aa & 168.811) & adds secs. 6, 759e, 759f & 759g.
- MI HB4702: Elections: other; precinct size; increase. Amends secs. 658 & 661 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.658 & 168.661).
Oregon (Democratic trifecta)
- OR SB28: Relating to elections; and declaring an emergency.
Bills that passed both chambers
22 bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 43 bills at this point last year. To see all bills that have currently passed both chambers, click here.
No bills passed both chambers since our last edition.
Governors have vetoed 34 bills this year, compared to 17 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 our last edition. 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 2,881 bills we’ve kept track of 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
Thirteen (61.9%) of the 21 bills with activity this week are in Democratic trifecta states, and eight (38.1%) are in Republican trifecta states.
Of the 11 bills acted on in the same week in 2022, 10 (90.9%) were from states with Democratic trifectas and one (9.1%) was from a state with divided government.
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, 1,315 (45.6%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,234 (42.7%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 339 (11.7%) are in states with divided governments.
Texas legislators have introduced the most election-related bills this year (396). 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 July 20, with the regular session adjourning on May 29. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022, with 416 bills introduced. Texas has enacted the most bills this year (33). In 2022, Louisiana and Arizona had enacted the most bills at this point (18).
The map below shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state in 2023 by state trifecta status.
Group challenges Florida’s convicted felon voting policy
On July 19, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Florida voters with felony convictions, alleging that the state’s policy for restoring felon voting rights violates the Voting Rights Act and the First and 14th Amendments. In 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, which allowed convicted felons to vote after the completion of their sentence. In 2019, the state enacted SB7066, which required individuals to pay associated fees related to their conviction to regain their eligibility to vote in addition to completing their sentence. Plaintiffs allege, “The Defendants have continued to disenfranchise these citizens by abandoning the state’s legal obligation to determine voters’ eligibility; providing false information to potential voters; premising voter eligibility on the payment of financial obligations unrelated to their right to vote; and creating a new law enforcement agency that has orchestrated a campaign of arrests that have sent a message that voting, even in good faith, may result in arrest and prosecution.” Sen. Rob Bradley (R), who supported SB7066, said, “If they took money from you, if they broke in to your house and stole something that is valuable to you and your family and they have not paid it back, they have not completed their sentence.”
U.S. District Judge allows Georgia redistricting lawsuits to proceed
On July 18, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones rejected Georgia’s request to dismiss lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative and congressional district maps. The lawsuits allege the districts discriminate against Black voters and violate the Voting Rights Act. Jones said that “given the gravity and importance of the right to an equal vote for all American citizens, the court will engage in a thorough and sifting review of the evidence that the parties will present in this case at a trial.” American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Voting Rights Project Co-Director Sophia Lin Lakin said, “Georgia’s state legislative maps dilute the voting strength of Black Georgians in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The maps rob Black voters of the right to engage in politics with equal dignity and equal opportunity. This ruling is a victory, and we look forward to proving our case at trial.” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), both defendants in all three cases, had not commented on the ruling as of July 20. In previous court filings, attorneys for the state said district boundaries were based on partisan affiliation rather than race. As part of the ruling, Jones set a trial date of Sept. 5 for all three lawsuits. The outcome of these cases could alter the composition of the state’s legislative and congressional districts in advance of the 2024 election.