Election Legislation Monthly Roundup
Project Vote monitors election legislation in all 50 states and Congress. If you would like to follow election legislation activity, subscribe to our weekly eDigest by clicking here.
The following states have recently adjourned their 2010 legislative sessions.
Alaska – Adjourned April 18, 2010
No election bills of note passed the legislature.
Alabama – Adjourned April 22, 2010
Although no election bills of note passed the legislature, the state introduced several key pieces of legislation. There were multiple bills to require restrictive photo voter ID as well as bills to restore voting rights of Alabaman felons. In particular, voter ID House Bill 227 was reported favorably by the House committee this session, but ultimately failed upon adjournment. The Alabama Restoration of Voting Rights bill, SB 214, would have also provided for the automatic restoration of voting rights upon completion of sentence. The bill, like SB 220 (which would have shortened the time period a felon convicted of moral turpitude must wait to restore voting rights) failed upon adjournment.
Arizona – Adjourned April 29, 2010
Arizona’s 2010 legislative session began a promising one: the introduction of positive election reforms like preregistration and Election Day Registration brought hope to improve the lagging voter registration rates in the state, particularly among Arizona youth. Although the EDR bill and Project Vote-supported preregistration bill (SB 1220) failed to pass, the state enacted a bill to provide voter registration access on college campuses (HB 2668). Preregistration is expected to re-emerge in the next legislative session, when sponsors of the bill expect to have a wider range of support.
Colorado – Adjourned May 14, 2010
The state, once again, pushed to pass a photo voter ID requirement. But, as in years past, the bills were postponed indefinitely.
Disappointingly, a bill to restore voting rights of felons upon release from incarceration was adopted by the Senate and read twice in the state House, where it died.
Read more on SB 179 here.
Connecticut – Adjourned May 5, 2010
No election bills of note passed the legislature.
Florida – Adjourned April 30, 2010
Bills to expand Early Voting, create voter registration programs for high school students, and to end the practice of voter caging were introduced in the legislature. All bills failed upon adjournment.
One bill filed (HB 131) pre-empts all counties’ power of election to the State denying the right of counties to spot check audits of voting machines ensuring the machines work correctly. This bill would also deny voter ADA compliant ballots from 2012 to 2016. The bill is currently awaiting the signature or veto of the governor. Many voting rights organizations, in Florida, oppose HB 131.
Georgia – Adjourned April 29, 2010
The Georgia Legislature introduced similar legislation (HB 665 & HB 1073) that complied with the Federal MOVE Act that requires all states to make voter registration and absentee ballot applications available electronically. The bills are currently on the governor’s desk.
Hawaii – Adjourned April 29, 2010
Hawaii’s 2009-2010 legislative session brought a number of election reform bills designed to improve voter registration and participation in the notoriously low-turnout state. The legislature introduced measures to pass Election Day Registration, remove all felon voting restrictions for Hawaiian residents, provide automatic registration or online voter registration, and implement vote-by-mail in all elections. There were even measure to establish the constitutional right to vote for voting age Hawaiians (HB 1574) and another to require citizens to register to vote or face fines (SB 648).
However, only one bill, SB 645 actually passed at least one chamber. The bill, which would have allowed for Election Day registration, was adopted by the Senate in 2009, but died in the House upon adjournment on April 29.
Kentucky – Adjourned April 15, 2010
Two election bills of note, restoration of voting rights House Bill 70 and youth voter education House Bill 212 both were on track to improve the administration of elections in Kentucky.
House Bill 70 would have provided the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons after completing all terms of their sentences, including probation and parole. Currently, only certain felons may apply for a pardon to restore voting rights. House Bill 212 would have provided a voter education program for Kentucky 12th grade students on how to register and vote.
Both bills were adopted by the House, but died in their respective Senate committees.
Missouri – Adjourned May 14, 2010
The state’s long-time effort to pass photo voter ID legislation – despite having a 2006 law struck down as unconstitutional by a Missouri court – came to a head in 2010.
The measures in question are House Joint Resolution 64 and House Bill 1966. If HJR 64 passes, a photo ID and advance voting initiative would be on the November ballot, and, if passed by the voters, would be implemented according to the provisions in HB 1966.
Read more on HJR 64 and HB 1966 here.