The Ballot Bulletin: Ballotpedia’s Weekly Digest on Election Administration, August 18, 2023

14 of the 15 bills with activity this week are in states with Democratic trifectas.

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 nationwide trends, legislative activity, and updates on notable lawsuits and policy changes.

Legislative highlights


  • States have not enacted any bills since our last edition. In the same period in 2022, states enacted two bills. 
  • States have enacted 304 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 213 bills. 
  • Democrats sponsored 11 of the bills active over the past week, a 175% increase from the four Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored three bills, up from no bills the week before. 
  • The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were: Ballot access (6), Contest-specific procedures (6), Enforcement and election fraud (4), Redistricting (4), Audits and oversight (3), and Voter registration and list maintenance (3).

Recent activity and status changes

Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills: 

  • 304 enacted bills (No change from our last edition)
  • 9 that have passed both chambers (No change)
  • 134 that have passed one chamber (+2)
  • 1,366 introduced bills (-2)
  • 1,011 dead bills (No change)

Enacted bills

States have enacted 304 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 213 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 69 (22.7%), Republicans sponsored 151 (49.7%), and 47 (15.5%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 37 (12.2%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here

No bills were enacted since our last edition. 

Bills that passed both chambers

Nine bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 36 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. 

Vetoed bills

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.

Bills that were introduced or passed one chamber

The bills below, with their official titles, were introduced or passed one chamber since out last edition. 

California (Democratic trifecta)

  • CA AB1539: Elections: double voting.
  • CA SB485: Elections: election worker protections.
  • CA AB1248: Local redistricting: independent redistricting commissions.
  • CA AB34: Elections: County of Orange Citizens Redistricting Commission.
  • CA SB386: Elections.
  • CA SB314: County of Sacramento Redistricting Commission.
  • CA SB409: Elections: candidate’s statement.
  • CA AB1559: Elections.
  • CA AB764: Local redistricting.
  • CA AB1688: Voter registration: cancellation: deceased persons.

Massachusetts (Democratic trifecta)

  • MA H2081: Relative to the charter of the town of Dedham
  • MA H3578: Validating the results of the annual town election held in the town of Lancaster
  • MA H3728: Approving the Townsend special act charter
  • MA H2093: Increasing the number of members for the select board of the town of Lakeville

North Carolina (divided government)

Enacted bills by topic and sponsorship, 2022 vs. 2023

Recent activity by topic and sponsorship

The chart below shows the topics of the bills with legislative activity 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 2,882 bills we’ve followed 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

Of the 15 bills with activity this week, 14 are in states with Democratic trifectas, and one is in a state with a divided government. 

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 all the election-related bills introduced this year, 1,312 (45.5%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,230 (42.7%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 340 (11.8%) 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 held two special sessions from May 29 to July 13, with the regular session adjourning on May 29. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022, with 413 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 and trifecta status this year.

Recent news

Agreement reached in Florida redistricting lawsuit

On Aug. 11, plaintiffs challenging Florida’s congressional district maps reached an agreement with the state to focus solely on the 5th Congressional District. After Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the new congressional map into law on April 22, 2022, a coalition of groups including Black Voters Matter, Equal Ground, Florida Rising, and the League of Women Voters of Florida filed a lawsuit alleging the districts diminished the voting strength of Black voters. As part of Friday’s agreement, plaintiffs will drop their challenge to other congressional district boundaries and both parties will seek a Florida Supreme Court decision in the case by Dec. 31. Equal Ground Education Fund Executive Director Jasmine Burney-Clark said, “This is a landmark decision that none of us have seen given the history of redistricting in the state of Florida but it submits what we have known all along to be true — our state has been diminishing the voting power of Black citizens for decades.” In 2022, DeSantis said earlier configurations of the 5th District “violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it assigns voters primarily on the basis of race but is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest.”

Challenge to election law heads to Texas Supreme Court

On Aug. 15, the Texas attorney general’s office appealed a district judge’s decision blocking SB1750, a bill transfering all powers and duties of the county elections administrator to the county tax assessor-collector and county clerk in counties with a population of more than 3.5 million. District Judge Karin Crump (D) ruled that the law was unconstitutional and unfairly targets Harris County, the only Texas county with a population of more than 3.5 million. Crump said, “Not only will this transfer lead to inefficiencies, disorganization, confusion, office instability, and increased costs to Harris County, but it will also disrupt an election that the Harris County EA [elections administrator] has been planning for months. The Harris County Clerk and the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector have had no role in preparing for the November Election.” In its appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, the attorney general’s office said the purpose of the law was “to ensure that elections in the state’s largest counties are properly managed by individuals who are accountable to the voters, not by unaccountable bureaucrats.” Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee (D) said, “At the end of the day, we know that this is not about making elections better … It’s about undermining confidence in our elections.”