NCSL in the News | September 2020

9/28/2020

September 30

Fact-checking Trump and Biden during 1st 2020 presidential debate
ABC News
In a normal election year, 19 states accept ballots that arrive after the election, as long as they are properly postmarked and arrive within a state-specific timeline, between three and 14 days post-election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These states are not "all run by Democrats" either. Alaska, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi and Ohio -- all states with Republican governors currently -- have postmark-by deadlines on the books, even when there isn't a pandemic causing widespread changes to voting.
 
The case for counting mail-in votes early
Roll Call
“States are trying in the course of six months to do what states like Colorado and Washington and Oregon have developed over the course of six years,” said Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s a lot of changes that have to go into place if you’re going to scale up.”
 
National Data Release Sheds Light On Past Polling Place Changes
Pew Trusts
Seventeen states allow the use of vote centers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though not every county in each of those states uses them (and Iowa does not use them for federal elections).
 
Washington state sex ed mandate sparks fight
New York Post
At least 29 states plus the District of Columbia require public schools to teach sex education, but the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Education Commission of the States -- two organizations that track policy trends -- said it has never appeared on a statewide ballot. Instead, the curriculum has been debated at school boards and statehouses.
 
Who has the right to vote and who doesn't? Here's what determines your voter eligibility
CNET
Residents with felony convictions aren't allowed to vote in many states. In some states, felons 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, felons never lose their voting rights, even if they're incarcerated.
 
License Plate Scanners Aren’t Just for Cops Anymore
Bloomberg
The U.S. has a patchwork of laws governing the use of license plate readers. At least 16 states have restrictions, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, including Tennessee, which says the data can only be stored for 90 days. Other states—Maine, for instance—just allow readers for certain public safety purposes.
 
New "Testing America's Freedom" Podcast from NWEA Examines Equity in Education
The Dallas Chronicle
Guests of the podcast include Daniel Thatcher, J.D., Senior Fellow, Education Finance Policy, National Conference of State Legislatures; and many others.
 
New paid and unpaid sick-leave law offers protections to NY workers
Newsday
In response to the pandemic, New York State passed a law in March requiring large employers to provide 14 days of paid sick leave to employees in quarantine, and mid-size and small employers worth more than $1 million to provide five days of paid sick leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
 

September 29

More Than 1 Million People Have Already Voted In The Election
Forbes
A number of states still have not even yet started their early voting yet, as in-person voting is only underway in nine states so far and will start in October in a further 38 states. Many states have also not yet started mailing ballots out to voters yet, according to state policies compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
 
Sex ed mandate sparks bitter Washington state ballot fight
AP
At least 29 states plus Washington, D.C., require public schools to teach sex education, but the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Education Commission of the States — two organizations that track policy trends — said it has never appeared on a statewide ballot. Instead, the curriculum has been debated at school boards and statehouses.
 
Trump’s Financial Records Show Long History of Tax Avoidance
The New York Times
In Maine and Vermont, felons never lose the right to vote, even while incarcerated, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 16 states, including Nevada, Colorado and New Jersey, voting rights are restored immediately after an inmate is released from prison, the organization said.
 
New effort seeks to protect Nebraska felon voting rights
Star Tribune
Nebraska is one of 11 states that either require a waiting period for felons beyond the completion of parole or probation or don't restore voting rights at all, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why the presidential election could take a month or more to decide
WUSA9.com
Each state has its own rules. In the battleground state of Florida, for example, counting can begin 22 days before the election, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Results can't legally be released until Election Night. But in Maryland, ballots received by mail can't be counted until the day after the election.
 
Arizona will see another minimum wage hike in 2021, but state will fall out of top 5 nationally
AZ Central
Arizona currently is tied for the fifth-highest minimum wage in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But as that wage rises in other states, Arizona will come down on the list.
 
Colorado poised to take another major step in regulating oil, gas industry — this time on well setbacks
Journal Advocate
If given final approval, the 2,000-foot setbacks would likely be the largest in the country, Kristy Hartman, the energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said in an email. She said the only other state she know with a setback of up to 2,000 feet is Michigan and it applies only to specific water resources.
 
Canyon County sparks concerns with announcement of only 5 polling places, will seek to open more
Idaho Press-Tribune
There’s a difference between consolidated polling places, which serve more than one precinct at a single location, and a vote center, where voters from any precinct within the jurisdiction can vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which reports that 17 states allow vote centers on Election Day.
 
The Indy Explans: Question 4, enshrining voting rights in the state Constitution
The Nevada Independent
A total of 49 states have some explicit provision granting the right to vote in their constitutions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states have implemented a state constitutional requirement that elections be “free,” which several courts have interpreted as guaranteeing all eligible voters access to the ballot.
 
If Trump tries to influence electoral votes post-Nov. 3, ‘it can’t happen here,’ Gardner says
WMUR
READ an explainer on the Electoral College published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

September 28

Taxes are likely to go up for the wealthy in these nine states
CNBC
Along with New York, lawmakers in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Vermont have proposed various forms of tax increases on high earners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those states account for more than a third of the U.S. population, and nearly half of the nation’s millionaires, according to population data and wealth surveys. Jackson Brainerd, senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he expects the tax hike movement will grow at the state level. “As we move further into fiscal year 2021, I expect that more states will start looking to raise taxes to close budget shortfalls, especially if additional federal aid does not materialize,” he said.
 
Fact-Checking Falsehoods on Mail-In Voting
New York Times
In terms of security, both mail-in and absentee ballots are paper ballots hand-marked by the voter, which the National Conference of State Legislatures considers the “gold standard of election security.” Forty-four states have signature verification protocols for mail ballots.
 
'Naked ballots,' explained: In Pennsylvania, new court ruling complicates mail-in voting
NBC News
Pennsylvania is one of just 16 states that have historically required absentee ballots be mailed with secrecy sleeves or envelopes: Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia are the other 15, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures that reviewed mail-in voting laws earlier this year.
 
Demonstrators rally for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants
The Boston Globe
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. If authorized in Massachusetts, the coalition estimates 41,000 to 78,000 residents would get their license within three years.
 
New Jersey may become 1st state to ban single-use paper bags
Yahoo News
Eight other states have passed bans on the use of single-use plastic bags in supermarkets, including New Jersey neighbor, New York state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Time Crunch: Michigan's surge in absentee voting to test capacity of election workers
Crain's Detroit Business
Michigan is one of 14 states that allow election officials to open absentee ballots only during Election Day. Thirty-two other states allow election workers to begin processing ballots prior to the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ron Johnson says Wisconsin Legislature should pass a law to allow ballot counting before Election Day
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Many states allow some form of early counting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Steve Swatt and Susie Swatt: Will politics trump gender in California this election year?
Santa Maria Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 2,144 women are now serving in the 50 state legislatures, and more than 68% are Democrats. 
 
Allow counting of absentee ballots before Election Day
Milford Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the three crucial battleground states cited above — plus Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia and Wyoming — prevent poll workers from counting, or even processing, ballots until Election Day.
 
Groups across Texas host voter registration drives amid COVID-19 pandemic
WFAA
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of August 2020, 40 states have online voter registration. One state, Oklahoma, passed legislation to make this possible and is currently in the process of implementing it. 
 

September 25

Counting absentee ballots shouldn't wait until Election Day
USA TODAY
Unfortunately, a number of states have tied their hands with overly restrictive laws preventing election workers from getting a head start. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the three crucial battleground states cited above — plus Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia and Wyoming — prevent poll workers from counting, or even processing, ballots until Election Day.
 
Big States Eye Tax Breaks on Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers
Bloomberg Tax
Several legislatures are debating more expansive tax benefits assisting both consumers and employers, said Jackson Brainerd, a tax policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Colorado draws 2000-foot statewide oil and gas drilling setback. But it comes with a big “however.”
The Colorado Sun
Twelve other states have statewide setbacks, but the largest is 1,000 feet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California is also considering a 2,000-foot setback.
 
Lawmakers dump COVID-19 Workers' Comp Bills Into Study
SouthCoastToday.com
As of late August, officials in at least 15 states had passed legislation, issued executive orders or enacted other administrative policy changes to directly address workers’ compensation coverage of COVID-19, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas DPS debuts state's first online voter registration form
Houston Chronicle
Texas is one of just nine states that do not offer online voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A closer look at voting laws in every state
Martinsville Bulletin
Using a combination of sources including the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia, RepresentUs, and Vote.org, Stacker compiled a list of voting laws and policies for every state and Washington D.C.
 
New Jersey Lawmakers Say State Would Be First To Ban Paper Bags Under Bill Passed By Democrat-Led Legislature
CBS 3 Philadelphia
Eight states have banned plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine and Maryland have also passed bills banning Styrofoam. Hawaii has a de facto ban on paper bags with less than 40% recycled material, according to the conference.
 

September 24

New York considers hiking taxes for the rich to fill COVID-19 hole
The Hill
“By the time you become a millionaire, you can afford to live wherever you like,” he said. Jackson Brainerd, a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many states have not focused on taxes during their 2020 fiscal years, focusing instead on drawing on reserves, freezing spending and borrowing money. 
 
Bill to block local fees, bans on plastic bags heading to DeWine’s desk
Dayton Daily News
Eight states have statewide bans on single-use plastic bags and several large cities such as Boston, New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. have imposed bans or fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A closer look at voting laws in every state
Martinsville Bureau
Using a combination of sources including the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia, RepresentUs, and Vote.org, Stacker compiled a list of voting laws and policies for every state and Washington D.C.
 
How ‘referee’ Secretary of State Frank LaRose has handled this year’s big fights over absentee voting in Ohio
Cleveland News
At least 14 states allow for online absentee ballot requests, including neighboring Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight additional states and Washington, D.C. allow voters to scan and email in copies of paper application forms.
 
Many Parents Are Hesitant to Give Their Kids a COVID-19 Vaccine. What If Schools Require It?
NBC 5 News
All states allow for exemptions for children with medical reasons, and 45 states plus Washington, D.C., grant exemptions on the basis of religious objections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 

September 23

Many parents are hesitant to give their kids a Covid-19 vaccine. What if schools require it?
NBC News
While all 50 states require student vaccinations, a patchwork of laws allows for parental objections: All states allow for exemptions for children with medical reasons, and 45 states plus Washington, D.C., grant exemptions on the basis of religious objections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Secrecy envelopes will cause electoral chaos, official warns
CBS 21 News
Pennsylvania is one of 16 states that require secrecy envelopes be provided to voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Wisconsin should allow clerks to start counting absentee ballots before Election Day
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Many states allow some form of early counting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado, for example, allows counting to begin 15 days before Election Day, according to the NCSL. 
 
Arizona ranks low on vaccine scale, including COVID
East Valley Tribune
All states have medical exemptions. And most have religious exemptions. But Arizona is among only 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that allows parents to opt out strictly for personal, moral or other beliefs.
 
Massachusetts lawmakers dump COVID-19 workers’ compensation bills into study
Mass Live
As of late August, officials in at least 15 states had passed legislation, issued executive orders or enacted other administrative policy changes to directly address workers' compensation coverage of COVID-19, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Making a Voting Plan: All Your Questions, Answered
Entertainment Tonight
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures -- which broke down voter ID laws state-by-state -- 36 states require some sort of ID at the polls. If you are a first-time voter, you may be expected to show some sort of ID, too.
 

September 22

Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballot Ruling Could Cause 100000 Ballots To Be Rejected, Official Warns
Forbes
16. That’s the number of states that are required to use secrecy envelopes for absentee ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while other states have different measures in place to ensure voters’ privacy as ballots are opened.
 
Wisconsin Ponders Self-Driving Vehicles
Wisconsin Public Radio
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles.
  
Pandemic’s Toll on Public Pension Plans
Real Clear Politics
Because of the accounting methods used to calculate pension liabilities, the full scope of the COVID-19 impact on state pensions may not be known until 2022, said Anna Petrini, a senior policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Pandemic’s Toll on Public Pension Plans
State Net
Because of the accounting methods used to calculate pension liabilities, the full scope of the COVID-19 impact on state pensions may not be known until 2022, said Anna Petrini, a senior policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Voter fraud fears and mail worries grab headlines, but the wait will be the worry in 2020
Brookings Institution
(NCSL Info Cited)
 

September 21

Your big questions about voting and the 2020 election, answered
CNN
Here are the states that prepay postage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures…
 
How Much State Legislators Are Paid Across the Country
MSN
Legislators’ 2020 salary and pay data, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, reveals a huge variety in how and how much each state pays its lawmakers.
 
How do I vote in my state in the 2020 election?
CBS News (NCSL Info. cited)

 
Wisconsin Ponders Self-Driving Vehicles
Wisconsin Public Radio News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles. Wisconsin is one of them. In 2017, Wisconsin lawmakers approved a bill on trucker platoons.
 
What’s next for NJ’s sweeping plastic bag ban?
NJ Spotlight News
At least eight states, beginning with California in 2014, have adopted statewide bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Jersey to adopt 'millionaires tax' to address widening income gap
Deccan Herald
At least eight other states — including California, Massachusetts and New York — have considered proposals to increase taxes on high-income residents, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

September 18

Deal Reached in N.J. for ‘Millionaires Tax’ to Address Fiscal Crisis
New York Times
At least eight other states — including California, Massachusetts and New York — have considered proposals to increase taxes on high-income residents, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Trump’s bluster and millions haven't stopped universal mail-in voting plans
Politico
And by mid-October, the rest of the universal mail-in voting states will have started sending out ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2006, the Supreme Court has repeatedly warned courts not to allow significant voting changes close to Election Day, in one case citing 75 days out as a deadline.
 
House Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill
The Hill
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized marijuana in small amounts for personal consumption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How Much State Legislators Are Paid Across the Country
MSN
Legislators’ 2020 salary and pay data, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, reveals a huge variety in how and how much each state pays its lawmakers. Our roundups include, where possible, the number of legislators a state employs, from federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
 
What’s next for NJ’s sweeping plastic bag ban?
NJ Spotlight
In New Jersey, more than 130 municipalities have adopted bans, according to Jennifer Coffey, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. At least eight states, beginning with California in 2014, have adopted statewide bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

September 17

Campaigns adjust as voters cast ballots before Election Day
Roll Call
Voting has already started in the battleground state of North Carolina, where state officials began mailing ballots nearly two weeks ago. This month, 29 other states are set to mail absentee ballots to voters and early in-person voting will kick off in seven states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
So You Moved During the Pandemic. Now How Do You Vote?
The New York Times
To vote in person, simply show up at your assigned polling location on Election Day. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia offer early voting in person, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan advocacy group.
 
Senators Push to Keep Daylight Saving Time: Government Has Already 'Asked a Lot of American People'
Newsweek
Changing the clocks is often believed to be rooted in farming, but the intent of it is actually to conserve energy. By giving people more daylight hours, the belief was that they could go outside for entertainment instead of using the radio, television or other devices that required electricity and natural light reduced the need for turning on lights. Studies have called into question the degree of energy savings, according to the National Conference of State Legislature, and others show a higher number of car crashes in the days after a time change.
 
When will we get a result for the US election?
BBC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a full list of when each state counts postal votes.
 
Could Oklahoma’s Legislature address police reform next year?
The Oklahoman
More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have introduced police reform legislation this year, said Amber Widgery, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Widery, who specializes in criminal justice policy, outlined some of the reforms being considered in other states.
 
What could become nation’s toughest ban on plastic bags set for another vote
NJ Spotlight
At least eight states, beginning with California in 2014, have adopted statewide bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Immigrants rally at Michigan Capitol for driver's license access
mlive.com
As of June, 16 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico issue driver’s licenses or permits to some or all immigrants who live in the U.S. without legal permission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

September 16

Bipartisan House group proposes $500 billion state, local aid
Bond Buyer
Without additional federal aid to state and local governments, the nation faces the prospect of a double-dip recession later this year, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi has predicted. Zandi repeated that prediction Tuesday during an online presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The risks of going back into recession would be high” if Congress does not pass what he described as a “fiscal rescue package,” Zandi said.
 
Wisconsin’s Top Court Won’t Order Ballots Reprinted, Averting Election Chaos
The New York Times
At least 17 states have laws requiring local election officials to supply return postage for mailed ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Michigan Senate approves bill to allow absentee ballots to be processed before Election Day
Detroit Metro Times
If the bill passes the House and is signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan will become at least the 33rd state to allow clerks to process absentee ballots before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
9 ways other states make voting easier, more accessible than Texas
KSAT News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states currently do not require a document to vote. Another 15 states allow residents to cast their ballots without photo identification.
 
Northwest to operate within $200000 budget cap for new student success software
Northwest Missourian
According to an article by the National Conference of State Legislatures, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions faced unexpected costs and potential revenue reductions. Some of these costs can include refunds for room and board, increased cleaning operations and increased technology costs. Northwest paid close to $4.2 million dollars in room and board refunds last semester after shifting classes online in March -- though $2.4 million of those costs were offset by institutional CARES Act funding.
 

September 15

On a viral list of 10 Trump 'accomplishments,' 3 are true
USA Today
All school immunization laws offer exemptions to children for medical reasons, and 45 states plus Washington, D.C., grant exemptions for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Just 15 states allow exemptions for philosophical reasons.
 
Wisconsin’s Top Court Won’t Order Ballots Reprinted, Averting Election Chaos
The New York Times
At least 17 states have laws requiring local election officials to supply return postage for mailed ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Virginia lawmakers push to expand police decertification law
CBS 19 News
"The legislation has received pretty overwhelming bipartisan support in some states and it's moved at a pace that is unprecedented,” said Amber Widgery, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Poll: 38% of Arizonans surveyed would refuse COVID-19 vaccination
Arizona Daily Star
But Arizona is among only 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that allows parents to opt out strictly for personal, moral or other beliefs.
 
Mail-in voting? Maybe think again!
CapeGazette.com
One website (www.ncsl.org, the National Conference of State Legislators) reported on a list that only 19 states notify the voter of a ballot rejection and offer them an opportunity to re-vote or correct the rejected ballot. Delaware was not on that list.  Time factors and deadlines were not given.
 

September 14

What are the consequences of voting twice in an election?
The Hill
State penalties vary across the country. According to a database from the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 28 states say it is a felony to vote twice in the same election. A number of other states classify it as an infraction or misdemeanor.
 
Will We Know on Election Night Whether Trump or Biden Won?
Newsweek
Forty-one states begin counting vote-by-mail ballots either as they are received or at some point prior to Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The only swing states with a large impact on the presidential contest that begin counting on Election Day are Michigan and Pennsylvania.
 
Court examines North Carolina’s new law that requires photo IDs for voting
The Washington Post
NCSL Information Cited.

Postal Service will deliver ballots with insufficient or unpaid postage
USA Today
Seventeen states — Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin — mandate prepaid postage for ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Federal appeals court blocks Florida's felons from voting
USA TODAY
Most states restore felons' voting rights after their sentences are complete. Many states impose additional requirements. Florida is among 11 states with the most restrictive rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Twitter flags Trump tweet. Again.
ABC News
Under the United States Constitution, each individual state is charged with overseeing elections. North Carolina, along with 30 other states and the District of Columbia, “prohibit voting twice in the same election,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL says “7 states prohibit voting twice within the state or for the same office” and “11 states explicitly prohibit voting in more than one state.”
 
‘Terrible role-modeling’: How California lawmakers flouted pandemic safety practices
Los Angeles Times
At least 30 states have allowed remote voting, extended bill deadlines or made other legislative accommodations since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Amazon Says It Was Not Price Gouging During the Pandemic When It Sold Toilet Paper for $36
VICE
There are currently 36 states, plus D.C., that have price-gouging statutes on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The statutes vary, however, with some states like Arkansas, California, and Delaware limiting price increases by 10%, and others, like Kansas, that set the threshold as high as 25%.
 
Virginia lawmakers push to expand police decertification law
Staunton News Leader
"The legislation has received pretty overwhelming bipartisan support in some states and it's moved at a pace that is unprecedented," said Amber Widgery, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A million mail-in ballots could go uncounted this fall
Houma Today
Deadlines vary from state to state. Most states, however, require ballots to arrive by Election Day, according to a compilation by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
US Postal Service Postcard Causes Confusion About Mail-In Voting In California
Capital Public Radio News
"The most common state deadline for election officials to receive absentee or mail ballots is on Election Day when the polls close," the National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website. "Some states, however, accept and count a mailed ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked prior to the election."
 
'Terrible role-modeling': California lawmakers flout pandemic etiquette
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Congress continues to gavel into session in person, and many state constitutions require legislatures to meet in person. At least 30 states have allowed remote voting, extended bill deadlines or made other legislative accommodations since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

September 11

Postal Service will deliver ballots with insufficient or unpaid postage
USA Today
Seventeen states — Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin — mandate prepaid postage for ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Former felons have the potential to swing close 2020 races
Politico
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, felons in 16 states lose their voting rights while they’re incarcerated. In 21 states, felons lose their voting rights during incarceration and for additional time after, typically while on parole or probation or until outstanding fines, fees or restitution are paid. And in 11 states, felons face stricter even policies.
 
Explainer: Despite Trump claims, voter fraud is extremely rare. Here is how US states keep it that way
Reuters
Eight states also require a witness signature, while three states require notarization, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Alabama has perhaps the strictest rules, directing voters to submit copies of their IDs as well as signatures from either a notary or two witnesses.
 
Idaho's Rosey Tax Collections Make It One Of The Fastest-Recovering States So Far
Boise State Public Radio
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Idaho is one of four states reporting a less than 5% hit to their revenue projections made prior to the pandemic
 
Energize and Vote aims to assist residents with voter registration
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Even though 40 other states have online voter registration in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Lee said, “Wyoming’s a little bit far from being able to do that.”
 
Trump's Latest Bogus Talking Point on Voter Fraud
NBC 10 Boston
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states “are mailing ballots to all eligible voters, no request needed,” for the November election.
 

September 10

Is Voting Twice a Felony?
NY Times
At least 28 states expressly classify voting twice in the same election as a felony in their election law statute, according to a database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group. Several states make it an infraction or misdemeanor. Even in states with no specific statute prohibiting voting twice, it is illegal, because federal law prohibits it in federal elections, stating that the penalty for “whoever votes more than once in an election” should not be “more than $10,000” and that the person should be “imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
 
It's Too Late to Expand Mail-In Voting as Trump Steps Up Attacks
Bloomberg
More than 30 U.S. states have made changes to accommodate mail-in voting in response to the pandemic, with some deciding to mail an application or ballot to every registered voter and others eliminating the need to provide an excuse to get an absentee ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. On Tuesday, for example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, announced he will allow voters to drop off completed ballots at early voting sites.
 
Alabama's absentee voting system doesn't allow voters to fix disqualified ballots
WBRC
Nineteen states require that voters be notified when there is a missing signature or signature discrepancy on their absentee or mail-in ballot and are given an opportunity to correct it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Out of those 19 states, 13 allow for some period of time after an election day for voters to fix a discrepancy in their absentee ballot.
 
What are poll watchers and what do they do?
WICZ
The requirements vary by state, but poll watchers generally must be registered voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has tracked poll-watching laws in each state.
 

September 9

The System Still Works
The Atlantic
A 2018 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that “the volume of law enforcement legislation considered since 2014 is greater than what has been seen at any time in recent memory,” adding that “in 2017 alone, over 1,500 bills were introduced in nearly every state and more than 260 were enacted into law. The overall theme of state legislative trends from 2014 to 2017 has been improving police-community relations in order to create safer communities and increase police effectiveness.”
 
In legislative shuffle, Calif. prioritizes safety gear, sick leave during crisis
MSN Money
The California Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the measure, questioned whether an employee’s illness could be traced to their job when the virus is so widespread. By varying degrees, at least 14 states have extended workers’ compensation to include COVID-related scenarios, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Privacy Risks of Recreational DNA Testing: States Take Action
The National Law Review
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Florida is among 16 states that require informed consent for a third party to perform, require or obtain genetic information, among 24 states that require informed consent to disclose genetic information, and among five states that define genetic information as personal property.
 
Poll Workers Needed, Will Pay
NBC 10 Philadelphia
Most states pay poll workers for the long hours worked. And in some states poll workers can be as young as 16. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, compensation varies from location and hours, with some states paying just under $100 while others are offering hazard pay on top of compensation.
 
Georgia investigating double voting in primary election
Minneapolis Star Tribune
If the poll worker fails to call the county election office, or can't get through to anyone, or if the county election office fails to cancel the absentee ballot request, that could allow double voting. Statistics show double voting is rare, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
'He's decided he's the king': Gov. Greg Abbott's COVID response leaves lawmakers on sidelines
Houston Chronicle
NCSL Information Cited.
 
Georgia investigating double voting in primary election
Daily Herald
Statistics show that double voting is rare, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

September 8

With Washington Deadlocked on Aid, States Face Dire Fiscal Crises
The New York Times
In May, the Federal Reserve offered to buy states’ bonds if terms in the municipal bond market become onerous. But most states think the Fed loans cost too much and have to be paid back too quickly to be of much help. So far only one state, Illinois, and one state authority, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, have taken the Fed up on its offer. New Jersey and Hawaii are exploring deals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the states’ fiscal plans as they develop.
 
States plan for cuts as Congress deadlocks on more virus aid
Washington Post
At least three-quarters of states have lowered their 2021 revenue projections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Officials seek thousands of poll workers ahead of Election Day, fear shortage due to COVID-19
ABC News
Coronavirus has made recruitment "an even bigger concern," Wendy Underhill, the director of elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told ABC News.
In many states, the challenges won't end on Election Day. Volunteers are also needed to rapidly process results, particularly in states where counting of absentee ballots cannot begin until Election Day. Without more workers counting, the results could take days to be tabulated, Underhill said.
 
Will Courts Pick the Next President?
Wall Street Journal
The finagling over late ballots and messy signatures might stall the reporting of credible results. About a dozen states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, don’t begin processing absentee votes until Election Day, per the National Conference of State Legislatures. In the absence of a partisan skew, this might not matter. But a recent Journal poll says that 66% of Trump supporters intend to vote in person, compared with 26% of Biden backers.
 
Election 2020 Battleground States: Here's How They'll Count Mail-In Ballots
Forbes
Each state has different election rules concerning when and how a mail-in ballot is processed (which usually begins with verifying the signature on the ballot envelope) and counted — processing the ballots early ensures they are ready to be counted as soon as the law permits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
5 things to do to keep your ballot from rejection
NBC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, has a rundown of the receipt and postmark rules for mail ballots in each state. Calling the election board can also clear up doubts.
 
Summer of protest: Chance for change, but obstacles exposed
The Register-Guard
Federal police reform stalled on Capitol Hill after an initial burst of movement. Nationwide, since late May, there have been at least 450 pieces of policing reform proposals introduced in 31 states, according to a count by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many states had finished their normal legislative session at the time of Floyd's death and are planning to address police accountability next year.
 
Greg Abbott has unilaterally directed COVID response longer than 47 governors
Laredo Morning Times
Texas’ Legislature meets less often than most states. The only other states that hold legislative sessions every other year are Montana, Nevada and North Dakota; most states moved to annual calendars between the 1960s and ’70s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
San Diego: Here's How to Make Sure Your Mail-In Ballot Counts
IVN News
Whatever the effect on San Diego’s election, California’s law isn’t unique. At least 26 other states allow a designated individual to return a voter’s ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Deadline nearing to get counted in census
Journal Review
The 16 largest federal programs allocating funds based mainly on the census have distributed more than $11 billion to Indiana, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures