Ballotpedia releases State of Election Administration Legislation 2024 Mid-Year Report

Welcome to the Monday, July 1, Brew. 

By: Briana Ryan

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. State of Election Administration Legislation 2024 Mid-Year Report
  2. Legislative activity in state government trifectas featured in the report
  3. Noteworthy policy areas in election administration featured in the report

State of Election Administration Legislation 2024 Mid-Year Report

State legislators introduce thousands of bills each year, affecting how Americans vote and our elections are administered. Ballotpedia’s State of Election Administration 2024 Mid-Year Report provides insights, analysis, and takeaways from the election-related bills we tracked this year.

Ballotpedia’s comprehensive Election Administration Legislation Tracker is the basis for the data and analysis in this report. 

The report covers election-related state legislative activity in the 46 states that had legislative sessions from Jan. 1 through June 6. 

  • During that time, we tracked 3,735 election-related bills. In 2023, we followed 3,719 bills, and in 2022, we identified 2,505 bills.
  • Three hundred-five of the bills we followed this year became law. Lawmakers enacted 400 bills in 2023 and 165 bills in 2022.
  • Governors vetoed 35 election-related bills in 2024. That’s more than the number of vetoed bills in 2023 and 2022, respectively. All but five of this year’s 35 vetoes came from states with divided governments.
  • States with Democratic trifectas considered more election-related legislation than states with Republican trifectas. However, states with Republican trifectas enacted more than three times as many new election laws as their Democratic counterparts.
    • Republican-sponsored legislation in states with Republican trifectas made up 44% of all enacted election legislation.
  • This is the third year in a row that legislation with bipartisan sponsorship was more likely to become law than bills with any other type of sponsorship. Just 8.2% of election legislation had bipartisan sponsorship, but lawmakers enacted these bills at a higher rate (20%) than legislation with other sponsorship. Democratic-sponsored legislation was the least likely to be adopted (2.9%), while 10.8% of Republican-sponsored legislation became law.
    • These rates are similar to those for 2023 and 2022, when bipartisan legislation was significantly more likely to become law (23.1% in 2023, 17% in 2022) than Republican-sponsored legislation (13%, 9.8%) and Democratic-sponsored legislation (9.1%, 7%).
  • Tennessee was the most active state, adopting 36 new laws, followed by Georgia with 33. Both states have Republican trifectas. The most active state with a Democratic trifecta was Maryland, with 10 new laws. Virginia adopted the most bills, 25, out of any state with a divided government.

Legislative activity in state government trifectas featured in the report

The report includes summaries of some of the trends we’ve seen this year and information about current state law and legislative activity across various election policy areas. Here’s a sneak peek from the report at the policy areas that were the focus of legislative activity in state government trifectas:

  • States with Democratic trifectas passed laws related to cure provisions for absentee/mail-in voting, new definitions and penalties for voter suppression, and new laws related to election dis- and misinformation.
  • States with Republican trifectas passed laws related to topics including ballot harvesting/ballot collection, voter registration drives, preempting efforts to establish ranked-choice voting, and referring noncitizen voting ballot measures to voters.
  • Topics that drew attention from states across the political spectrum include voter list maintenance, oversight and rules for presidential electors, and voting by eligible but incarcerated individuals.

Noteworthy policy areas in election legislation featured in the report

The report describes activity in the most active states and provides updates and analyses of several noteworthy topics. 

  • Five states–Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma–passed laws banning the use of ranked-choice voting (RCV)– more than in any other year. In total, 70 bills authorizing a new use of RCV were introduced this year. That’s less than in the same period last year but more than in 2022. The number of bills banning or repealing new uses of RCV— 45— is more than in 2023 and 2022.
  • Thirteen states adopted new laws related to maintaining accurate voter registration rolls, also known as voter list maintenance. Ten of these bills came from states with Republican trifectas, two from states with divided governments, and one from a state with divided government.
  • Eight states, including six with Republican trifectas, passed laws related to the eligibility of noncitizens to vote. The only new law related to noncitizen voting from a state with a Democratic trifecta comes from Minnesota. 
  • Two states with Republican trifectas—Nebraska and Oklahoma— passed laws that more quickly return voting rights to certain individuals convicted of a felony. Elsewhere, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia changed voting rules for incarcerated eligible voters.
  • Three states with Republican trifectas—Idaho, Mississippi, and Louisiana—added new definitions of who may return another voter’s ballot. Among states with Democratic trifectas, only Connecticut adopted a significant change to absentee/mail-in ballot laws.

More than two-thirds of states’ regular legislative sessions have concluded for the year. This report contains takeaways from the bulk of state legislative activity in 2024. Ballotpedia will continue to release analysis and observations of election-related legislative activity throughout the remainder of the year.

Click here to dive into the full report

Editor’s note: this newsletter has been updated to reflect that 70 bills authorizing a new use of RCV were introduced this year and that the number of bills banning or repealing new uses of RCV is 45. The original post had reported the inverse numbers for both implementation and banning.