In the News | November 2020

10/5/2020

Nov. 13

Democrats gear up to fight gerrymandering after state House losses
NBC News
The country had the fewest partisan change in legislatures since 1944, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the fight over those maps could long outlive the next presidency.
 
Trump is contesting the election in several key states. Here's how their electoral votes work
USA TODAY
The Electoral College is largely a "winner-take-all" system, meaning electors vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan association of legislatures.
 
How long can Trump keep contesting 2020 election results?
New York Post
The vast majority of states have laws that set the same deadlines for certifying the vote counts and resolving court cases, all of which fall within 30 days of the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But eight — Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — require “that disputes surrounding the selection of presidential electors be resolved in time to meet the ‘safe harbor,’ deadline,” the NCSL’s website says.
 
Idaho legislature looks to January as Covid explodes
Idaho News
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports legislatures and assemblies across the country are looking at potential suspension of committee meetings, changes in legislative procedures and operations, and remote participation due to Covid-19.
 
Reserve funds to ease deficit
The Salem News
Most of the withdrawals were small in proportion to reserve balances, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states — such as Nevada, Alaska and California — tapped sizable amounts to plug budget holes amid uncertainty over how long the coronavirus outbreak might last.
 
Many Americans have criminal records, so why does Alabama make it so hard to clear your name?
Montgomery Advertiser
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that 1 in 3 Americans adults has a criminal record. There are about as many people in the U.S. with records as there are four-year college degree holders, the Brennan Center for Justice found. Combine the population of California and Texas, the country’s two largest states, and it still falls short of conservative estimates.
 
New Hampshire’s Was Only State Legislature That Changed Parties In 2020 Election
New Hampshire Public Radio
Republicans now have unified control in 24 states, according to Tim Storey, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fifteen states are under Democratic control, he said during a webinar Thursday, and 11 are divided.
 
OFFICIALS SEEK ANSWERS TO FUNDING QUESTIONS FOR BODY WORN CAMERAS
Montclair Local
Turner’s bill would have made New Jersey the 20th state (plus Washington, D.C.) to require law enforcement to have written policies on use of body-worn cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Once fully in effect, the bill would have made New Jersey only the sixth state to require the cameras, however, according to the same organization.
 

Nov. 12

What Are Election Observers? Role at Crux of Trump Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
The Wall Street Journal
Pennsylvania was among at least a dozen states that imposed social-distancing rules on election observers or allowed county boards to do so, including Texas and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Garey Forster: The GOP victory hidden behind the presidential race
The Advocate
Final election results are not in yet for Arizona, Nebraska has a nonpartisan legislature and Minnesota is split, reported the National Conference of State Legislatures. These state legislators are important because legislatures determine the partisan composition of Congress through remapping of districts for the next decade.
 
State Senate Bill Aims To Cover Texas First Responders Who Contract COVID-19
Dallas Observer
Eighteen states have gotten this done since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Half of them did it by executive order.
 
North Carolina doesn’t verify voter signatures on mail-in ballots. Is that a problem?
Raleigh News & Observer
North Carolina is one of only 11 states to require notary or witness signatures on mail-in ballot envelopes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why are there Senate runoffs in Georgia but not North Carolina? What to know
The Macon Telegraph
The vote requirement varies by state — as does the timing of the runoff election. Georgia holds primary runoffs nine weeks after the original primary but other states hold them sooner, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

Nov. 11

State-level elections marked by unprecedented stability
The Hill
That is the lowest number of chambers to change hands in one cycle since 1944, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “This appears to be a remarkably status quo election in the U.S. states,” wrote Tim Storey, NCSL’s executive director, and Wendy Underhill, the group’s top elections analyst. “After all the furor, campaign spending, and [get-out-the-vote] efforts, the political landscape has barely budged.”
 
Biden's Coattails Didn't Extend to State Legislatures
U.S. News & World Report
"It's an incredibly low number of chamber flips" for an election year, says Tim Storey, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group. "The average number of chamber switches going back to 1900 is 12."
 
State legislators pick electors; Supreme Court ruled against 'faithless electors'
USA Today
All but two states appoint electors from a roster of people loyal to the party of the popular vote winner, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine and Nebraska appoint electors by congressional district, saving the last two votes for the statewide winner.
 
Democrats blame increased Trump turnout, uphill races for failure to win state legislative seats
NBC News
The elections leave Republicans with majorities in 59 of the 98 chambers that have partisan control, compared to Democrats' 37, with two outstanding, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What Are Election Observers? Role at Crux of Trump Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
Wall Street Journal
Pennsylvania was among at least a dozen states that imposed social-distancing rules on election observers or allowed county boards to do so, including Texas and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California gave counties some latitude in making rules for observers, including how close they can be to ballots, what they can bring with them when they observe the process and how many people are allowed in a room.
 
Masks, Plexiglass on Tap for Upcoming Legislative Sessions
Pew Trusts
Decisions for 2021 are complicated, said Angela Andrews, who directs the legislative staff services program at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Do they limit access to the building?” she asked. “Should there be temperature cameras? What does social distancing look like in a committee room and who can be allowed in? Do you do rapid COVID tests on the legislators, the staff or others?”
 
State Senate Bill Aims To Cover Texas First Responders Who Contract COVID-19
Dallas Observer
Eighteen states have gotten this done since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Half of them did it by executive order.
 
Editorial Roundup: Indiana
Chicago Daily Herald
The number of states allowing straight-ticket voting has dwindled, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana is one of only six states allowing voters to pick all candidates from one party with a single ballot mark. Sixteen states have abolished all straight-ticket voting, or in part. Indiana stopped straight-ticket voting in at-large races in 2016.
 

Nov. 10

Democrats blame increased Trump turnout, uphill races for failure to win state legislative seats
NBC
The elections leave Republicans with majorities in 59 of the 98 chambers that have partisan control, compared to Democrats' 37, with two outstanding, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Ballot clerks asked for help. Lawmakers didn't act. Disinformation followed.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Despite bipartisan support, neither bill was taken up by the Senate. Plus, both bills have been waylaid by the coronavirus pandemic. Wisconsin has had one of the least-active legislatures in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Prioritizing in-person voting has slowed Alaska’s absentee ballot counting process
Anchorage Daily News
Most other states begin their reviews several weeks before Election Day, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alaska’s absentee ballot review board doesn’t convene until a week before Election Day.
 
California Sen. Kamala Harris Named 49th Vice President of the United States
The Sacramento Observer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states allow the governor to make an appointment to fill a Senate vacancy temporarily, but only under very strict conditions.
 
Masks, plexiglass on tap for upcoming legislative sessions
Herald Mail Media
After the virus hit in March, at least 26 legislatures had to suspend, postpone or temporarily adjourn their sessions, according to Natalie Wood, who directs NCSL's Center for Legislative Strengthening.
 

Nov. 9

Republicans solidify grip on state legislatures, which is likely to lead to redistricting and gerrymandering efforts in 2021
CNBC
“Redistricting always has litigation, period,” said Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s always something to argue about. And some states have more of it than others. But there’s always something... I think that some stuff around the census will have to be sort of settled before we’ll see what kinds of cases are related to the redistricting that follows. But right now, all eyes are on the Census.”
 
What is a provisional ballot? Special ballots will help determine who is the next president
USA Today
Provisional ballots are "special ballots designed to ensure that all voters have a chance to cast a ballot even if their eligibility to vote is uncertain," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida minimum wage hike approved by voters still faces hurdle of GOP Legislature
Herald Tribune
Seven other states have approved legislation with a goal of establishing $15 minimum wages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Florida is the first state to set the $15 goal through a constitutional ballot measure.
 
Masks, Plexiglass on Tap for Upcoming Legislative Sessions
Pew Trusts
Decisions for 2021 are complicated, said Angela Andrews, who directs the legislative staff services program at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Do they limit access to the building?” she asked. “Should there be temperature cameras? What does social distancing look like in a committee room and who can be allowed in? Do you do rapid COVID tests on the legislators, the staff or others?”
 
In State Races Across America, the Status Quo Prevailed. Here’s What That Means for Higher Ed.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
NCSL Information Cited
 

Nov. 6

Legislative Turnover at Lowest Level Seen Since 1920s
Governing
The number of new legislative majorities this year is the lowest since at least 1944, when four chambers switched hands. If this year’s total stays at three, it will be the least amount of turnover since 1928, when just one chamber flipped, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The lack of partisan change in the states is jaw dropping,” note Tim Storey and Wendy Underhill of NCSL.
 
Democrats fail to make gains in state legislative races in advance of 2021 redistricting
VOX
Ten years ago, Republicans routed Democrats in state legislative races across the country — gaining control of more seats than they had since 1928 and earning control of 54 of the 99 state legislative chambers, their highest total in 58 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Legalizing Marijuana Back in Spotlight in New York as New Jersey Passes Referendum
The Wall Street Journal
The use of recreational marijuana is currently permitted in 11 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Trump Blames Democrats for Late Counted Mail Ballots. He Should Blame the GOP.
The Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited.
 
Elections, infections and emotions: In the week ahead, look for the fallout
Miami Herald
The state-level election results bear this out. Hardly any state legislative chamber is switching partisan hands, and most continue to be under GOP control, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. COVID restrictions over business rules, curfews, and gathering sizes have been left to state and local governments.
 
POLITICO Playbook PM: Has anyone seen Donald Trump?
Politico
As of late Wednesday, Republicans had flipped control of two chambers, the New Hampshire state House and Senate, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What’s New in Civic Tech: NCSL’s Recount Processes by State
Government Technology
For those wondering about recount policies, the National Conference of State Legislatures has created a centralized location to find election recount rules by state.
 
Alaska has the slowest ballot-counting process in America. The top election official says security is the priority, not speed.

Anchorage Daily News
The 15-day limit is the most generous in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmakers look to convert vacant Maryland real estate into housing for the homeless
WTOP
“We really haven’t seen any state that has taken the approach of retail spaces and adaptive rehousing,” Michael Quillen, a Policy Associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told committee members Tuesday. The association compiled information on how states across the nation are sheltering their homeless populations: From New York to Louisiana to California, states have repurposed hotels emptied by the coronavirus as a safe haven for the homeless.
 
Fact-checking Trump's Thursday post-election speech
KVUE
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a detailed breakdown of when states stopped accepting ballots via mail. In all states, as long as a ballot was received by Election Day, it is perfectly legal no matter how long it takes the state to process it. Many states also allowed ballots that were received after Election Day to be counted as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.
 

Nov. 5

Democrats’ ‘Blue Wave’ Crashed in Statehouses Across the Country
The New York Times
On Wednesday, the results were not yet final, but the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state-level races, said there were changes or potential shifts of control in just four chambers: the New Hampshire House and Senate, which Republicans took back from Democrats, and possibly the House and Senate in Arizona, though the contests for those chambers were still too close to call. He said it was the first time since 1946 that so few chambers were changing hands.
 
“This is crazy in that almost nothing has changed,” said Tim Storey, an expert with the N.C.S.L. “It really jumps off the page.”

GOP holds line in state legislatures, dealing blow to Democrats
The Hill
“Nobody but the most ardent Republicans would have said the first flips would have been in the direction of the GOP,” said Tim Storey, the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Oregon Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Heroin and Cocaine; Four States Legalize Marijuana

The New York Times
Florida becomes the eighth state to enact a minimum wage of $15, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it is the first state that Donald J. Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election to do so. The District of Columbia has also enacted a $15 minimum wage.
 
Republicans Bolstered as Democrats Hopes Fall Short in State Legislative Races
The Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited
 
 
Electoral College 2020: Faithless Electors
USA Today
Each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the combined total of its congressional delegation, and each state legislature determines how it will select its own electors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan association of legislatures.
 
Nebraska becomes the latest state to cap payday loan interest rates
CNN
Across the U.S., 37 states have specific statutes that allow for some type of payday lending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
More U.S. states okay recreational marijuana in wide-ranging ballot questions
Reuters
The ballot measures, some of which were undetermined until Wednesday, were among at least 124 wide-ranging statutory and constitutional questions put to voters this year in 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

 
Michigan Passes Warrant Requirement for Electronic Data Searches
Bloomberg
The vote will make Michigan the 13th state to include privacy protections in its constitution, and the third state to do so via ballot measure following Missouri in 2014 and New Hampshire in 2018, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures analysis.
 

Nov. 4

Votes are always being counted for days after election night
Washington Post
While some states have enough results reported election night to declare the winner, because one candidate is too far behind to make up for the gap, that doesn’t mean all the votes are counted. If states were to suddenly do what Trump wants, the election would be decided on unofficial results rather than official results, which is inherently unconstitutional and arguably undemocratic. “The close of the polls is not the end of an election,” says the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Republicans Hold Their Edge in State-Level Politics
Governing
“At the moment, continuity appears to be the headline,” says Mick Bullock, public affairs director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Things could certainly change as we have many legislative chambers not called for.”
 
Stock Futures Fall as Trump Claims Victory: Live Business Updates
The New York Times
Florida becomes the eighth state in the country to enact a minimum wage of $15, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the first of them that Donald Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election. The District of Columbia has also enacted a $15 minimum wage.
 
Ballot Measure to Legalize Marijuana Passes in New Jersey
Wall Street Journal
The use of recreational marijuana is currently permitted in 11 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters in Arizona, South Dakota and Montana also voted on measures to legalize recreational marijuana Tuesday.
 
Oregon Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Heroin and Cocaine, and New Jersey and Arizona Legalize Marijuana
New York Times
Florida becomes the eighth state to enact a minimum wage of $15, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the first state that Donald J. Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election. The District of Columbia has also enacted a $15 minimum wage.
 
Statehouse elections could shift political dynamics in key swing states
Washington Post
In addition to Texas, Republicans were especially focused on defending their legislative majorities in Florida and Georgia, two states where Democrats are also hoping to make gains.
Republicans hold 23 of 40 Florida Senate seats and have a 26-seat majority in the Florida House, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Votes are always being counted for days after election night
Washington Post
While some states have enough results reported election night to declare the winner, because one candidate is too far behind to make up for the gap, that doesn’t mean all the votes are counted. If states were to suddenly do what Trump wants, the election would be decided on unofficial results rather than official results, which is inherently unconstitutional and arguably undemocratic. “The close of the polls is not the end of an election,” says the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Watch Out for This Misinformation on Election Day
The New York Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, mail-in ballots are the “gold standard of election security.” In most states, registered voters need to apply to vote through an absentee or mail-in ballot. In nine states and Washington, D.C., registered voters are automatically sent ballots by mail.
 
New Jersey Voters to Decide on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Wall Street Journal
Voters in Arizona, South Dakota and Montana are also voting on measures to legalize recreational marijuana. The use of recreational marijuana is currently permitted in 11 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida voters may boost minimum wage to $15 an hour
CBS News
If approved, Florida would become the eighth state in the U.S. to set its baseline pay at $15 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn't budged since 2009, the longest period of time without an increase since it was passed in 1938 as part of the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act.
 
Voter intimidation is illegal. If you see it happen today, this is what to do
CNET
Poll watching, also called poll challenging, is legal. A poll watcher is a partisan individual whose purpose is to observe a polling place in support of making sure their party has a fair chance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
You might hear a lot of bogus claims today online. Here are some common false ones about voting.
Chicago Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, mail-in ballots are the “gold standard of election security.” In most states, registered voters need to apply to vote through an absentee or mail-in ballot. In nine states and Washington, D.C., registered voters are automatically sent ballots by mail.
 
Nine Higher Education Votes To Watch In Today's Election
Forbes
So, as voters head to the polls, organizations such as the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) will be tracking election day results at the state and local levels — and their potential impact on a wide range of education issues.
 
Can you buy alcohol on Election Day? Yes, but it used to not be that way for many states
WUSA9.com
In 1811, Maryland was the first state to put laws in place that prohibited purchasing alcohol on Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
The cost of voting: Arkansas felons must repay debts before registering
Arkansas Times
Sixteen states automatically re-enfranchise felons after they are released from prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas is one of the many states that deny voting rights to people serving felony parole or probation. Some states do not ever allow people convicted of certain crimes to regain the right to vote.
 
California eyes ending cash bail, rolling back crime reforms
Tulsa World
While most states recently have altered their pretrial release laws or policies, voters' approval of Proposition 25 would make California “the only state with a complete prohibition on fiscal conditions of release,” according to National Conference of State Legislatures criminal justice expert Amber Widgery.
 

Nov. 3

Dressing up for Election Day? These clothing items can get you turned away at the polls
Fox News
There are 37 states that prohibit campaign signs and literature from polling places, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan, nongovernment organization and at least 21 states have restrictions specifically relating to apparel at the polls, with 15 prohibiting it.
 
November Surprise: Fewer Ballots Rejected by Election Officials
The New York Times
In some other states, voters who make mistakes are simply out of luck. Only 18 states require that voters be notified if their ballot has a missing signature or a signature discrepancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Texas and Alaska, state officials went to court this year to preserve their right to throw out ballots without telling voters — and won both cases.
 
Votes are always being counted for days after election night
Washington Post
While some states have enough results reported election night to declare the winner, because one candidate is too far behind to make up for the gap, that doesn’t mean all the votes are counted. If states were to suddenly do what Trump wants, the election would be decided on unofficial results rather than official results, which is inherently unconstitutional and arguably undemocratic. “The close of the polls is not the end of an election,” says the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
The Finance 202: Trump says GDP proves he ‘was right’ about coronavirus recovery. Economists aren't so sure.
Washington Post
Florida voters will consider raising the minimum wage to $15: “The measure, if successful, would make Florida the eighth state to adopt an eventual $15-an-hour pay floor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures,” the WSJ's Justin Baer reports.
 
Tense Campaign Between Trump and Biden Reaches Election-Day Climax
Wall Street Journal
More than 120 statewide ballot questions were also being put to voters in more than 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota would legalize marijuana, adding to 11 states and the District of Columbia that have similar laws. A Colorado measure would ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, and another in Louisiana would amend the state constitution to make it clear that there was no protected right to abortion in the state.
 
Can I Wear Political Clothing When I Vote?
The New York Times
In addition, some states are a little fuzzy on what “political clothing” is, but you can be prosecuted for breaking the law, not to mention being sent home after all the time you’ve waited in line, so better safe than sorry. A very good breakdown of what states allow has been created by the National Conference of State Legislatures and can be found here.
 
The Electoral College, explained
Vox
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 30 of the 50 states have passed laws “binding” their electors to vote in accordance with the presidential popular vote in their state. But in most, the penalty for not doing so is only a fine. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of these penalties this year — but other states still don’t bind electors, and the justices didn’t require electors to abide by the vote in their state.
 
Here's how to check if your ballot was received and accepted
Vox
At least 18 states require election officials to contact voters if there’s a problem with a ballot and give them a chance to correct, or “cure,” their ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states have adopted new procedures to cure ballots starting this election.
 
Know your voting rights before you head to the polls on Election Day
CNET
Depending on the state you live in and conviction, you may be able to restore your right to vote if it was suspended. In some states, people who are convicted of felonies lose their right to vote indefinitely depending on the crime, or they need a governor's pardon to vote again, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In other states, such as Maine, people convicted of felonies never lose their voting rights, even if they're incarcerated.
 
She died after voting early. Now her ballot won't count.
The Union Journal
States around the country are divided on whether to count votes from people who cast an early ballot and then die before Election Day. At least a dozen states allow it, more than a dozen others reject those votes, and laws in other states are unclear, recent research from the National Conference of State Legislatures found. Among the most crucial swing states, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania don’t count early ballots cast by voters who die before Election Day, while Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Ohio do, according to the NCSL and state elections officials.
 
Taxes, heroin and statehood: A glimpse into this election's national ballot measures
Daily Press
“The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and direct democracy — the citizen initiatives — is no different,” said Amanda Zoch, a specialist in ballot measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group that serves members of legislatures. “You can’t go gather in-person signatures in a pandemic when you’re in a stay-at-home order and supposed to be social distancing.”
 
Chad Blair: Stressed About The Election? Pot Might Help
Honolulu Civil Beat
As of June 2019, 14 states (including Hawaii) and territories have approved adult-use cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while 33 states, the D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands “have approved comprehensive, publicly available medical marijuana/cannabis programs.”
 
Can a voter fix a problem on a mail-in ballot?
WKTV -NY
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a state-by-state rundown, but that list isn’t comprehensive so voters should check with their local elections officials to understand their options.
 
Your guide to voting on Election Day in Maine
Bangor Daily News
You can check your voter registration status by entering your name, date of birth and current address on the site Vote.org. Maine is one of 21 states that allows same-day registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It means that you can go to your polling place, show identification and proof of residency, register and vote. You do not need identification to vote, only to register.
 
Voting on Tuesday? Here's what you need to know before heading to the polls
NewsChannel5.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, a provisional ballot is “designed to ensure that all voters have a chance to cast a ballot even if their eligibility to vote is uncertain—are available at polling places in most states on Election Day. After the election, the ballots are investigated to determine if they will be counted.”
 

Nov. 2

Amanda Zoch on Key Ballot Initiatives in Campaign 2020
C-SPAN – Washington Journal (Video Only)
Amanda Zoch from the National Conference of State Legislatures talked about key ballot initiatives in the 2020 elections.
 
Statehouse Seats Are Up for Grabs, and With Them, Great Power
New York Times
About 80 percent of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats are up for grabs this year, with elections in 44 states, according to Tim Storey, an expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, or N.C.S.L. The stakes are high for both parties. Democrats are on offense in state elections this year, trying to pry chambers away from G.O.P. control, but Mr. Storey said it was highly unlikely that the Democrats would make gains anywhere close to those that Republicans scored in the 2010 election cycle, when they gained a whopping 24 chambers, the culmination of a historic realignment of Southern legislatures toward the Republican Party.
 
Taxes, Heroin and Statehood: A Glimpse Into This Year’s Ballot Measures
New York Times
“The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and direct democracy — the citizen initiatives — is no different,” said Amanda Zoch, a specialist in ballot measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group that serves members of legislatures. “You can’t go gather in-person signatures in a pandemic when you’re in a stay-at-home order and supposed to be social distancing.”
 
Biden's win would give Democrats 4 years of power. State legislatures could give them 10.
NBC News
The disparity was at its most stark before the 2018 election with 32 state legislatures in Republican control, 13 with Democrats and four remaining divided, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. (Nebraska, the 50th legislature, is nonpartisan.)
 
Iran targeting U.S. state voter rolls and spreading election propaganda, officials say
NBC News
But all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have at least some way to make access easy for requesters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida to Vote on Raising Minimum Wage to $15
The Wall Street Journal
The measure, if successful, would make Florida the eighth state to adopt an eventual $15-an-hour pay floor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Election 2020: What You Need to Know
The Wall Street Journal
Many states will compare the signature on the absentee ballot envelope to the signature on a voter’s file (this could be from voter registration forms, ballot application or the D.M.V.), according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Can I still register to vote? What to know about same-day registration and states that offer it
Fast Company
The good news is, all hope is not lost for the unregistered masses in limited swaths of the country. As of this year, 19 states and D.C. offer some options for same-day voting, according to a recent roundup from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Generally speaking, that means that residents of those states can register and vote on Election Day, even if you’ve missed the deadline. In some cases, states may allow registration during the early-voting period, too.
 
Key ballot measures to watch on state taxes
The Hill
There are at least 30 tax- and revenue-related measures on the ballot in 16 states across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, sparking fights over property taxes, income taxes and excise taxes.
 
Gerrymander Power on the Line in Narrowly Divided Legislatures
Bloomberg Gov
Even without a nudge from Washington, there’s been a trend toward commission-drawn maps: 109 congressional districts in eight states were drawn by independent boards; 93 additional districts were drawn by eight states with bipartisan or nonpartisan political processes, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
 
All passengers in cars required to wear seat belts under new state law
New York Post
New York enacted the country’s first-ever seat belt law in 1984, but until now it was one of 20 or fewer states that did not require all passengers to strap in, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Illinois isn’t No. 1 in Census spending, but Pritzker’s ‘nation-leading’ claim still counts
Chicago Sun-Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks Census spending by state, publishes data showing Illinois ranks second among states in total spending at $31.5 million, below California at $187 million. The NCSL previously had New York above Illinois as well, at $60 million, but has since revised it down to $20 million.