Voting Laws

2016 Voting Law Roundup

Source: The Brennan Center for Justice

At the beginning of the 2016 legislative session, and as of March 25, 2016, at least 422 bills to enhance voting access were introduced or carried over in 41 states plus the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, at least 77 bills to restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced or carried over from the prior session in 28 states.

New voting restrictions in place in 2016. Aside from new restrictions considered in 2016, there are 17 states with voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election this year. The new measures range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions.

Those 17 states are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. See the following map:

 

2015 Voting Law Roundup 

In 2015, at least 464 bills that would enhance access to voting were introduced or carried over in 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

During the same time, at least 113 bills that would restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced or carried over in 33 states.

 

2014 Voting Law Roundup

Numbers Overview

Since the beginning of 2014, and as of November 11, 2014, legislators from both sides of the aisle have introduced and supported bills that expand access to registration and voting:

  • At least 340 expansive bills that would increase access to voting were introduced in 42 states plus the District of Columbia whose legislatures have had floor activity in 2014.

Vigilance is still required, as numerous restrictive voting bills have been introduced in a number of states:

  • At least 83 restrictive bills were introduced in 29 states whose legislatures have had floor activity in 2014.

 

2013 Voting Law Roundup

Numbers Overview

Since the beginning of 2013, and as of December 18, 2013, restrictive voting bills have been introduced in more than half the states:

  • At least 92 restrictive bills were introduced in 33 states.

  • Of those, 13 restrictive bills are still pending in 5 states.

  • Of those, 5 restrictive bills are currently active in 2 states, in that there has been legislative activity beyond introduction and referral to committee (such as hearings, committee activity, or votes).

  • 8 states have already passed 9 restrictive bills this session.

At the same time, across the country, politicians from both sides of the aisle have introduced and supported bills that expand access to registration and voting.  

  • At least 237 expansive bills that would expand access to voting were introduced in 46 states.

  • Of those, 73 expansive bills are still pending in 7 states.

  • Of those, 17 expansive bills are currently active in 4 states, in that there has been legislative activity beyond introduction and referral to committee (such as hearings, committee activity, or votes).

  • 10 states have passed 13 bills that expand opportunities for eligible citizens to register and to vote.

 

2011-2012 Voting Law Roundup

Numbers Overview

At least 180 restrictive bills introduced since the beginning of 2011 (as of October 2012) in 41 states.

27 restrictive bills currently pending in 6 states.

25 laws and 2 executive actions passed since the beginning of 2011 in 19 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin).

15 states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election(Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). These states account for 203 electoral votes, or 75 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.

Of these, restrictions from 18 laws and executive actions are currently in effect in 13 states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

In the past two years, vetoes, referendums, court decisions, or the Department of Justice have blocked or blunted restrictive measures in 14 states (Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin). Note: this list does not include successful legislative victories such as those in Nebraska and other states.

 


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