Of the 23 bills with activity this week, 22 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.
- One bill was approved since our last edition. No bills were enacted in the same period in 2022.
- States have enacted 306 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 217 bills.
- Democrats sponsored 18 of the bills active over the past week, an 11.1% increase from the 16 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored one bill that moved, a 66.6% decrease from the three Republican-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were alternative voting methods (6), contest-specific procedures (4), election dates and deadlines (3), ballot access (2), and early voting (in-person) (2).
Recent activity and status changes
Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills:
- 306 enacted bills (+1 from our last edition)
- 7 that have passed both chambers (-1)
- 126 that have passed one chamber (-1)
- 1,317 introduced bills (+1)
- 1,082 dead bills (No change)
States have approved 306 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 217 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 69 (22.5%), Republicans sponsored 151 (49.3%), and 47 (15.4%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 39 (12.8%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
The bill approved since our last edition with its official title:
Delaware (Democratic trifecta)
- DE HB141: An Act To Amend Titles 11 And 15 Of The Delaware Code Relating To Criminal History Background Checks For Candidates For State And County Public Office.
Bills that passed both chambers
Seven bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 40 bills at this point last year. To see all bills that have currently passed both chambers, click here.
No bills have passed both chambers since our last edition.
Governors have vetoed 35 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 with legislative activity since our last edition. Click here to see a full list of bill categories and their definitions.
* Note: Contest-specific procedures refer 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 2,891 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 23 bills with activity this week, 22 are in states with Democratic trifectas, and one is in a state with a divided government.
Of the four bills acted on in the same week in 2022, two (50%) are from states with Democratic trifectas, and two (50%) are 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 all the election-related bills introduced this year, 1,316 (45.6%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,230 (42.5%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 345 (11.9%) 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 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 295 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.
Circuit court judge overturns Florida congressional districts
On Sept. 2, Leon County Circuit Court Judge J. Lee Marsh overturned Florida’s congressional district boundaries in North Florida and prohibited the state from using the current districts in future elections. Marsh, who former Gov. Rick Scott appointed in 2018, declared the current map unconstitutional and in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Marsh directed the legislature to draw new district boundaries. In his order, Marsh wrote, “This case is about whether the Legislature, in enacting its most recent congressional redistricting plan, violated the Florida Constitution by diminishing the ability of Black voters in North Florida to elect representatives of their choice. It is also about whether that provision of the Florida Constitution violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In short, the answers are yes and no, respectively.” Former U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D), who represented Florida’s 5th Congressional District, said Marsh’s decision “is a victory for the people of North Florida, particularly those communities of color who have been historically disenfranchised.” Secretary of State Cord Byrd (R) said the state would appeal the ruling: “We disagree with the trial court’s decision. This is why the stipulation contemplates an appeal with pass through jurisdiction to the Florida Supreme Court which we will be pursuing.” For more details on redistricting, see today’s edition of Ballotpedia’s The Daily Brew.
Federal court rejects Alabama congressional district map
On Sept. 5, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama overturned the state’s recently redrawn congressional districts after state officials did not adhere to a June 2023 U.S. Supreme Court order to create a second majority-Black district. The three-judge panel rendering the decision consisted of Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, who former President Bill Clinton (D) appointed, and District Judges Anna Monasco and Terry F. Moorer, who former President Donald Trump (R) appointed. The panel wrote, “We are disturbed by the evidence that the State delayed remedial proceedings but ultimately did not even nurture the ambition to provide the required remedy,” and that “The law requires the creation of an additional district that affords Black Alabamians, like everyone else, a fair and reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The 2023 Plan plainly fails to do so.” Attorney General Steven Marshall’s (R) office released a statement saying, “While we are disappointed in today’s decision, we strongly believe that the Legislature’s map complies with the Voting Rights Act and the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. We intend to promptly seek review from the Supreme Court to ensure that the State can use its lawful congressional districts in 2024 and beyond.” American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama Executive Director JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist said, “Elected officials ignored their responsibilities and chose to violate our democracy. We hope the court’s special master helps steward a process that ensures a fair map that Black Alabamians and our state deserve.”