Democrats sponsored 41 of the 50 bills with activity 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 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 307 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 217 bills.
- Democrats sponsored 41 of the bills active over the past week, a 127.8% increase from the 18 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored five bills that moved, a 400% increase from the one Republican-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were redistricting (13), ballots and voting materials (6), audits and oversight (5), ballot access (5), and contest-specific procedures (5).
Recent activity and status changes
Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills:
- 307 enacted bills (+1 from our last edition)
- 24 that have passed both chambers (+17)
- 108 that have passed one chamber (-18)
- 1,323 introduced bills (+6)
- 1,083 dead bills (+1)
States have approved 307 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 217 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 69 (22.5%), Republicans sponsored 152 (49.5%), and 47 (15.3%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 39 (12.7%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
The bill approved since our last edition with its official title:
North Carolina (divided government)
- NC S169: Local Omnibus Changes
Bills that passed both chambers
Twenty-four 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.
Bills passing both chambers since our last edition, with their official titles, are listed below.
California (Democratic trifecta)
- CA SB798: Elections: local bond measures: tax rate statement.
- CA AB1219: Elections: ballots.
- CA SB77: Voting: signature verification: notice.
- CA AB969: Elections: voting systems.
- CA SB314: County of Sacramento Redistricting Commission.
- CA AB1539: Elections: double voting.
- CA AB1037: Vote by mail ballots: signature verification.
- CA SB297: Elections: initiatives and referenda: withdrawal.
- CA AB1762: Elections omnibus bill.
- CA AB1227: Elections: County of Santa Clara.
- CA AB292: Primary elections: ballots.
- CA AB626: Voting: returning vote by mail ballots in person.
- CA AB773: Elections: filings.
- CA AB545: Elections: access for voters with disabilities.
- CA AB398: Voting: replacement ballots.
- CA SB789: Elections: Senate Constitutional Amendment 2 of the 2021–22 Regular Session and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 of the 2023–24 Regular Session.
New York (Democratic trifecta)
- NY S00945: Amends election law to accurately reflect proper cross reference relating to the operational failure of a voting machine.
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 2,898 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 50 bills with activity this week, 46 (92.0%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, and four (8.0%) are in states with a divided government.
Of the 16 bills acted on in the same week in 2022, five (31.3%) are from states with Democratic trifectas, and 11 (68.8%) 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, 1,318 (45.5%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,232 (42.5%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 348 (12.0%) 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.
Wisconsin AG files lawsuit after Senate votes to remove elections official
On Sept. 14, the Wisconsin Senate voted 22-11 along party lines to remove Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) Administrator Meagan Wolfe. Hours later, Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) filed a lawsuit to allow Wolfe to retain her position because only three of the six WEC members voted to renominate her in June. The Commission oversees a wide range of election administration duties and is composed of three Democrats and three Republicans. Wisconsin law requires a majority of members to nominate a candidate for WEC administrator for Senate confirmation. The three Republican Commission members voted to renominate Wolfe, while the three Democratic members abstained over concerns the Senate would not confirm her. In the complaint, Kaul alleges that “the Commission’s vote on June 27, 2023, on the proposed appointment of Administrator Wolfe to serve an additional term did not effectuate an appointment,” and that consequently, “the Senate’s September 14, 2023, votes, deeming Administrator Wolfe nominated based on the Senate’s June resolution, and rejecting the ‘appointment’ of Administrator Wolfe to serve an additional term as administrator, have no legal effect.”
Sen. Cory Tomcyzk (R) said the Commission has not fulfilled its duties: “There is discontent with how our elections are run here in Wisconsin. Instead of doing their job, three Democrat appointed commissioners that sit on the Wisconsin Elections Commission, neglected to fulfill their statutorily required duty to appoint an administrator have gone to historic lengths to complicate what should have been a simple process.” Wisconsin has a divided government with a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature. Republicans currently hold a 22-11 majority in the Senate and a 64-35 majority in the state Assembly.
Group challenges Minnesota election misinformation law
On Sept. 12, the Minnesota Voters Alliance, which describes itself as an “organization focusing primarily on election integrity, research, voter education, and advocacy,” filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against the state over a new election law making it a crime to distribute misinformation about an election. Governor Tim Walz (D) signed HF3, the law at the heart of the complaint, on May 5. It took effect on June 15. The law makes it a “gross misdemeanor” for a person to knowingly spread “materially false” information within 60 days of an election that is intended to “impede or prevent” another person from voting. Violators can be jailed for up to a year and fined $3,000. Prohibited information “includes but is not limited to information regarding the time, place, or manner of holding an election; the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility at an election; and threats to physical safety associated with casting a ballot.” Upper Midwest Law Center Senior Trial Counsel James Dickey, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case, said, “Political speech is at the heart of the First Amendment, and our clients should be able to speak their minds on political issues without fearing a lawsuit from a political opponent who falsely accuses them of lying.” Bill author Rep. Emma Greenman (D) said the new law would “limit bad faith actors from interfering in our elections and with Minnesotans’ freedom to vote.”