A first look at voting laws introduced in state legislatures across the country finds that voter suppression efforts continue to be a concern at the outset of a pivotal election year. The Trump administration is promoting a similar agenda at the national level. At the same time, lawmakers are also making a significant push to expand access to the polls, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
In the first analysis of its kind in 2018, the Brennan Center’s Voting Laws Roundup shows that lawmakers in eight states have introduced at least 16 bills making it harder to vote, and 35 restrictive bills in 14 states have carried over from previous legislative sessions. If passed, the laws would increase restrictions on voter registration and limit early and absentee voting opportunities, among other changes.
Legislatures in 22 states are considering a combined total of at least 144 bills that would expand access to voting, and in 23 states and the District of Columbia lawmakers are considering 263 bills that carried over from the previous session. This includes legislation to automate the voter registration process, a reform with bipartisan backing that increases voter turnout, along with accuracy and security of voter rolls. There are also bills to expand opportunities to register, restore voting rights to people with past criminal convictions, reduce the burden of existing voter ID laws, and more.