The Ballot Bulletin: Ballotpedia’s Weekly Digest on Election Administration, December 8, 2023

Legislators in four states have pre-filed at least 23 bills for their 2024 legislative sessions.

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.

A look at 2024 legislative sessions and pre-filed legislation

December is generally a quiet time for state lawmakers. Most legislative sessions have ended, and lawmakers are gearing up for the new year. 

Here’s what we can expect from legislatures in 2024:

  • 37 state legislative sessions begin in January
  • Six legislative sessions begin in February
  • One legislative session begins in March
  • Two legislative sessions begin in April.

Ten states have full-time legislators, meaning the legislature meets throughout the year. All other legislators are considered part-time because they only meet for a portion of the year. Forty-six state legislatures hold regular sessions every year. However, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas only meet in odd-numbered years (unless the governor or legislature calls a special session. 

For comparison, the chart below shows the number of bills tracked by month and partisan sponsorship in 2023. 

We’re already following 23 pre-filed bills in Alabama, Florida, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. All of these states have Republican trifectas. Democrats sponsored five of these bills, Republicans sponsored 14, and four bills have bipartisan sponsorship.

The bills deal with the following subjects, presented with the number of bills in each category:

  • Absentee/mail-in voting: 4
  • Election security: 4
  • Audits and oversight: 3
  • Contest-specific procedures: 3
  • Voter registration and list maintenance: 3
  • Ballot access: 2
  • Voting equipment: 2
  • Conflicts between levels of government: 2
  • Election funding: 1
  • Counting and certification: 1
  • Early voting (in-person): 1
  • Litigation: 1
  • Alternative voting methods: 1

Click here to view all of the 2024 legislation we are following. 

Legislative highlights

Now, back to the current year.


  • One bill has been approved since our last edition. One bill was enacted in the same period in 2022. 
  • States have enacted 403 bills in 2023, a 72.2% increase from this point in 2022. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 234 bills. In 2021, states enacted 183 bills. 
  • Democrats sponsored 18 of the bills active over the past week, a 12.5% increase from the 16 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored nine bills that moved, a 125% increase from the four Republican-sponsored bills the week before. 
  • The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were contest-specific procedures (11), voter qualifications (8), alternative voting methods (7), ballot access (6), and election dates and deadlines (6). 

Recent activity and status changes

This week, we identified additional election bills that did not have activity this past week but have been added to or updated in 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:

  • 403 enacted bills (+23)
  • 22 that have passed both chambers (-6)
  • 109 that have passed one chamber (+4)
  • 1,463 introduced bills (+41)
  • 1,266 dead bills (+38)

Enacted bills

States have approved 403 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 234 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 122 (29.5%), Republicans sponsored 182 (45.8%), and 64 (15.5%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 35 (9.2%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here

The bill approved since our last edition, with its official title, is below.

Michigan (Democratic trifecta)

  • MI SB0505: Criminal procedure: sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for certain Michigan election law violations dealing with intimidating an election official; provide for. Amends sec. 11d, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.11d). TIE BAR WITH: HB 4129’23

Bills that passed both chambers

Twenty-eight bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 30 bills at this point last year. To see all bills that have currently passed both chambers, click here.

The bill that passed both chambers since our last edition, with its official title, is below.

Massachusetts (Democratic trifecta)

  • MA H4204: Making appropriations for the fiscal year 2023 for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects

Vetoed bills

Governors have vetoed 40 bills this year, compared to 18 at this point in 2022. To see all bills vetoed in 2023, click here.

Bills vetoed since our last edition, with their official titles, are below. 

Wisconsin (divided government)

  • WI SB98: Verifying citizenship of individuals on the official voter registration list and contents of operator’s licenses and identification cards. 

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 3,303 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 31 bills with activity this week, 17 (54.8%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, nine (29.0%) are in a state with a Republican trifecta, and five (16.1%) are in states with a divided government. 

Eight bills were acted on in the same week in 2022. Five of these bills were from states with Democratic trifectas, and three were from states with Republican trifectas.

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, 1,426 (43.2%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,419 (43.0%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 458 (13.9%) are in states with divided governments. 

Texas legislators have introduced the most election-related bills this year (414). Texas only holds legislative sessions in odd years and 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. A third special session began on Oct. 9, and a fourth on Nov. 7. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022, with 377 bills introduced. Texas has enacted the most bills this year (34). 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

Federal lawsuit challenges North Carolina congressional districts

On Dec. 4, a group of North Carolina voters filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the state’s newly enacted congressional districts. The North Carolina General Assembly adopted new congressional district boundaries on Oct. 25. The Senate approved the new maps 28-18, and the House voted 64-40 in favor of the new districts. Both votes were along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of the districts and Democrats voting against them. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that “[b]y strategically packing and cracking North Carolina’s minority voters, the 2023 Congressional Plan entrenches the state’s white majority and erases the gains made by voters of color in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles.” A number of North Carolina state legislators are named as defendants, including Speaker of the House Timothy Moore (R).  Moore responded to the lawsuit on his website, saying, “It has taken Democratic activists over a month after these maps were approved by the General Assembly to concoct these baseless allegations. This is a desperate attempt to throw chaos into North Carolina’s elections, on the first day of candidate filing no less. We are fully confident that these maps are going to be used in this election and every election this decade.” Elias Law Group partner Abha Khanna, who is representing the plaintiffs, said the new map “dismantles existing minority opportunity districts, wiping away hard-fought gains made by voters of color in recent elections.”

Presidential candidate challenges Utah ballot access requirements

On Dec. 4, Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I) and four other plaintiffs sued Utah officials over the state’s ballot access laws. Kennedy withdrew from the Democratic primary on Oct. 9 and announced he would run as an independent. Utah law requires independent or unaffiliated candidates to collect and verify 1,000 petition signatures before filing their nomination certificate, which is due between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, 2024. Democratic and Republican candidates do not have to meet the same requirements. The suit names Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson (R) and Director of Elections of the State of Utah Ryan Cowley as defendants. In the complaint, plaintiffs allege that “[n]o state in the history of the United States has sought to impose such an early date to collect, validate and file ballot access petitions to secure ballot access for the general election to be held on the far-off date of Nov. 5, 2024.” Plaintiffs also said the deadline is “a severe violation of rights guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution for which the State of Utah has no compelling nor legitimate interest to enforce.” Henderson’s office said, “We are reviewing the complaint, we have no comment at this time.” For more on presidential state filing deadlines, see the Dec. 7 edition of Ballotpedia’s The Daily Brew.