After taking a dip in 2014, election-related enactments were up in state legislatures in 2015. In 2015, 241 bills were enacted in 45 states, more than 2014 and back on par with 2013 and 2012.
Voter registration was the hottest topic this year and included online voter registration, data-sharing for list maintenance, as well as automatic voter registration, which made its debut on the national stage. Voter ID continued its decline for the third year in a row, but there were some notable enactments on the subject. Preparation for the 2016 presidential election was the source of several enactments and some unique issues made their mark as well.
Here are some of the key enactments:
- Florida, New Mexico and Oklahoma enacted online voter registration.
- Oregon and California enacted automatic voter registration.
- Alabama, Texas, and Virginia authorized interstate data-sharing of voter registration lists.
- North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia enacted changes to existing voter ID requirements.
- Indiana enacted legislation to ban ballot selfies, while Arizona and Utah enacted legislation to permit the practice.
- Michigan and West Virginia repealed straight-ticket voting.
Compared to previous years:
- Enactments on the following topics increased: automatic voter registration, election date consolidation, general list maintenance, interstate crosschecks of lists, poll workers, absentee and UOCAVA Voters.
- Enactments on the following topics remained popular: online voter registration, election-related crimes, election technology and pre-registration and youth voters.
- Enactments on the follow topics decreased: early voting, felon voting rights, same-day registration (Vermont was the only state to adopt it), voter information confidentiality, and vote-by-mail.
Information on all 2015 election legislation can be found in NCSL’s 2011-current Database of Election Legislation. If you would like assistance in using this database please contact NCSL’s elections team or call us at 303-364-7700.