State legislators across the US are enacting bills to change their voting processes before the 2022 midterms. Some states have recently made headlines for their changes, such as Texas legislators departing their capitol to delay a vote and Major League Baseball withdrawing the All-Star game from Georgia. There is no one change being made here, and dozens of states are acting to change mail-in and absentee ballot parameters, to voter ID laws, and more.
Nine states made changes to their voter registration systems. Many of these changes involve improving online registration sites, expanding pre-registration for teenagers, and creating programs for the recently incarcerated to learn how to restore their right to vote. Montana changed registration requirements to provide guidelines on what is acceptable ID to register.
Twelve states changed their deadlines for mail-in ballot applications and/or returns. Five of these states decreased the amount of time available for voters to apply for and/or return a mail-in ballot. Georgia decreased the deadline to apply from four days before the election to 11 days.
Six states increased the amount of time voters will have to apply for/return ballots. Two of these states, California and Massachusetts, extended 2020 laws that sent all registered voters in those states a mail-in ballot. Texas clarified the reasons voters can and cannot request an absentee ballot.
Many states passed laws regarding official ballot drop boxes, which are set up by election officials for voters to return absentee ballots in-person. Three states decreased the amount of ballot drop boxes allowed per county and adding regulations such as monitoring of drop boxes by county election officials. Three other states passed laws to increase ballot drop box locations.
Ten states passed laws regarding signature matching, meaning when election officials compare the signature on an absentee ballot to the voter’s signed registration form. Five states increased the amount of time for ballot “curing,” which allows a voter to prove their identification if signatures do not match. Two states decreased their ballot curing deadlines.
Four states passed laws allowing forms of student ID and tribal documents to be used as voter ID at polling locations. Montana passed a law requiring a photo in all forms of identification for voters. Arkansas prohibited the use of a sworn signature in lieu of an ID when filling out a provisional ballot.
Eight states passed laws changing the early voting period. Seven of these states extended the early voting period to include additional days. Georgia extended the early voting period for regular elections but shortened the period for runoff elections. Iowa reduced the early voting period from 29 days to 20 days.
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