“Exclusive: New reports aim to help lawmakers, advocates with advancing voter-friendly policies”

Law Dork (Chris Geidner):

It may be a truism to say that voting is political, but throughout our nation’s history the questions of who can vote and how also have been viewed through a political lens.

The past few years have been no different. The most high-profile recent examples came out of former President Donald Trump’s lies about his 2020 election loss. Among his many efforts at disrupting and overturning the election results, Trump questioned several safe and secure voting practices as fraudulent in order to advance his baseless claims — leading his supporters to seek investigations of and changes to some of those policies. At the same time and sometimes in direct opposition to those efforts, others have pressed for policies to make voting easier and more accessible to people in their states.

Today, the Institute for Responsive Government (IRG) is unveiling its in-depth look at the legislative results across the nation from the two years since the 2020 elections.

The group’s Election Policy Progress Reports being released today are a 50-state (plus DC) review of elections policies coming out of the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions. Specifically, the review looks at “how each state has fared at making their election laws more responsive and user-friendly for voters and election administrators over the past two years.”

IRG is taking a different approach than some other election-related reviews. While the institute’s executive director, Sam Oliker-Friedland, credits some of those reports and rankings for their purposes — IRG highlights several in the introduction to the new progress reports — he said his group’s effort went in a slightly different direction.

“We saw a lot of organizations do a lot of baseline analyses of states’ voting policy landscapes,” he said in a phone interview on Jan. 10. His group’s progress reports, instead, are “tightly focusing” on legislative changes or the lack thereof, he said, while also accounting for where the state started.

“This is a resource for folks who are focused on what the legislature can accomplish,” Oliker-Friedland said.

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