All 11 bills enacted this week were in New York.
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.
- Eleven bills were approved since our last edition. No bills were enacted in the same period in 2022.
- States have enacted 336 bills in 2023. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 217 bills.
- Democrats sponsored 47 of the bills active over the past week, a 14.6% increase from the 41 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored 11 bills that moved, a 120% increase from the five Republican-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before.
- The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were contest-specific procedures (14), redistricting (14), ballot access (11), audits and oversight (10), and election dates and deadlines (10).
Recent activity and status changes
This week, we identified 178 additional election bills from earlier in this session that did not have activity this past week but have been newly added to our database. A portion of the increases in the number of bills for each status below result from these additions. Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills, including those we have recently added:
- 336 enacted bills (+29 from our last edition)
- 30 that have passed both chambers (+6)
- 97 that have passed one chamber (-11)
- 1,342 introduced bills (+19)
- 1,222 dead bills (+139)
States have approved 336 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 217 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 85 (22.5%), Republicans sponsored 164 (49.5%), and 53 (15.3%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 34 (12.7%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here.
The bills approved since our last edition, with their official titles, are listed below.
New York (Democratic trifecta)
On Sept. 20, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a package of 11 election-related bills that, according to The Hill, are “designed to expand voting access across the Empire State, which allows registered voters to vote early using a mail-in ballot and same-day registration.”
- NY S00438: Requires electors to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidate who were nominated by the political party that nominated the presidential elector.
- NY A01177: Relates to ballots submitted in envelopes that are sealed with tape, paste or any other binding agent or device and have no indication of tampering.
- NY S01733: Requires local boards of education, BOCES, charter schools and non public schools to adopt policies to promote student voter registration and pre-registration, including procedures for providing access to voter registration and pre-registration applications during the school year and assistance with filing such applications and informing students of the state requirements for voter registration and pre-registration.
- NY S05984: Provides for conditional registration of voters during early voting.
- NY S06519: Establishes a deadline for changing the location of a polling place for early voting by requiring that no location change may occur within forty-eight hours of the commencement of an early voting period unless there is a disaster or a declared state of emergency.
- NY A07690: Relates to the presidential primary, to provide for the election of delegates to a national party convention or a national party conference in 2024; schedules the presidential primary election for April 2, 2024; updates the political calendar accordingly; requires cure affirmations for curing ballots to be received by the board of elections no later than 7 business days after the board’s mailing of the curable rejection notice or the day before the election, whichever is later.
- NY S00587: Relates to mandatory training curriculum for poll workers; requires the state board of elections to develop and provide to each county materials for a model poll worker training program which the counties may use to train individuals to serve as poll workers in state and county elections.
- NY S07394: Establishes early mail voting; authorizes registered voters to obtain early mail voting ballots through application to the board of elections; requires the state board of elections to establish and maintain an electronic early mail ballot application transmittal system through which voters may apply for an early mail ballot online.
- NY S00350: Provides that for any legal challenge to the constitutionality of a provision of the election law, venue shall be brought in the following designated court in the judicial department within which at least one plaintiff is located: first judicial department: New York county; second judicial department: Westchester county; third judicial department: Albany county; and fourth judicial department: Erie county.
- NY S00945: Amends election law to accurately reflect proper cross reference relating to the operational failure of a voting machine.
- NY A04009: Relates to providing notice of voting rights to persons released from local jails.
Bills that passed both chambers
Thirty 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 AB764: Local redistricting.
- CA AB34: Elections: County of Orange Citizens Redistricting Commission.
- CA SB77: Voting: signature verification: notice.
- CA AB1219: Elections: ballots.
- CA SB314: County of Sacramento Redistricting Commission.
- CA AB1037: Vote by mail ballots: signature verification.
- CA SB297: Elections: initiatives and referenda: withdrawal.
- CA AB1539: Elections: double voting.
- CA SB789: Elections: Senate Constitutional Amendment 2 of the 2021–22 Regular Session and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 of the 2023–24 Regular Session.
Governors have vetoed 36 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 3,081 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 65 bills with activity this week, 58 (89.2%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, and seven(10.8%) are in states with a divided government.
Of the seven bills acted on in the same week in 2022, one (14.3%) is from a state with a Democratic trifecta and six (85.7%) 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, 1,354 (43.9%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,344 (43.6%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 383 (12.4%) 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.
New York Republicans challenge early voting laws
On Sept. 20, a group of Republican lawmakers and groups sued Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and the New York State Board of Elections over, NY S07394, which modifies the state’s early voting laws. Hochul signed S07394 on Sept. 20. The bill allows registered voters to request and vote early by a mail-in ballot. The plaintiffs, including U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R), the New York Republican State Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican National Committee, allege the laws violate the state’s constitution: “The State’s constitutional and electoral history shows that mail voting must be expressly authorized by the Constitution. The default constitutional requirement is that voters cast their ballots ‘at’ the election itself, not from afar.” Stefanik said, “Kathy Hochul and extreme New York Democrats are trying to destroy what is left of election integrity in New York. As a New York voter, I am proud to lead this coalition in defending basic election integrity on behalf of all New Yorkers.” In a statement released after signing the bill into law, Hochul said, “The message is that people’s votes matter, people’s lives matter, and you don’t have to compromise to protect both. You can have the right to vote and continue on with life. So, you’re also fulfilling your duties as a citizen. If you don’t want to expand the right to vote, here’s where you fall. You can either be on the side of democracy or against democracy.”
North Carolina House advances board of elections bill
On Sept. 19, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed S749, a bill shifting the authority to appoint state election officials and local election administrators from the governor to the state Legislature. The House approved an amended version of the Senate bill 60-41 along party lines. Sens. Warren Daniel (R), Ralph Hise (R), and Paul Newton (R) introduced the bill on June 12, and the Senate passed the bill 28-19, also along party lines, on June 21. The House’s amended version of the bill now requires an additional vote in the Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Rep. Destin Hall said,”It’s not hard to see how folks might think there are problems in our elections when the very entity that’s overseeing those has a partisan lean. This bill takes that partisan lean out of it.” Executive Director of The Center for Election Innovation & Research David Becker said, “This is a recipe for potential chaos in a state where elections have been run very well in the past, and where the margins of victory have been among the most narrow in the country.” North Carolina has had a divided government since 2017, when Cooper’s election as governor broke the state’s Republican trifecta. Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in the state’s Legislature, with a 72-48 majority in the House and a 30-20 majority in the Senate.
Pennsylvania implements automatic voter registration
On Sept. 19, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) announced the state’s implementation of automatic voter registration, becoming the 24th state to use some form of automatic registration. Eligible residents will now be automatically registered when acquiring or renewing ID cards or drivers licenses. In his announcement of the changes, Shapiro said, “Automatic voter registration is a commonsense step to ensure election security and save Pennsylvanians time and tax dollars. Residents of our Commonwealth already provide proof of identity, residency, age, and citizenship at the DMV – all the information required to register to vote — so it makes good sense to streamline that process with voter registration.” House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R) said, “The governor is following the sad and misguided precedent set by his predecessor that recognizes our election laws need updating and modernized, but then disenfranchises the General Assembly from exercising its constitutional prerogative to make laws.” Delaware and Minnesota also enacted automatic voter registration this year. The Delaware Department of Elections announced the implementation of automatic registration on June 21. Minnesota enacted the policy through HF3, which Gov. Tim Walz signed into law on May 5. Click here for more information on voter registration policies in each state.