Look Who Isn’t Fighting Over Election Law: Ballots & Boundaries

  • Iowa procrastinators, your Election Day’s gonna change
  • LeBron James gets a mention during Georgia’s debate

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Republicans have the power to cram through pretty much anything they want over the Democratic governor’s veto in Kentucky. So we did a double take when their mail-in voting bill (H.B. 574) won the complete support of state House Democrats.

To get bipartisan buy-in, Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) said he started with things both parties like (early in-person voting, an absentee-ballot request online portal, paper balloting), then added things that members of one party likes but both can accept.

For the Democrats, county voting centers and signature curing were added to the bill, and for Republicans, a ban on ballot harvesting and purging of voters registered in other states.

“There’s a false narrative, a false choice people assert, that you can either have enhanced voter access or you can have enhanced election security,” said Adams (R). “Not only can you have both, sometimes they have to go together.”

HEAR MORE of that interview with Bloomberg Government’s Alex Ebert.

LEBRON & GEORGIA

Not sure whether NBA star LeBron James swayed any opinions in the Georgia state Senate, but he definitely got noticed.

“I’m sure I’ll get more tweets from LeBron James and other folks about how I vote and how I’m suppressing votes,” state Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R) said Monday before saying “aye” to ending 15 years of no-excuse absentee voting (S.B. 241).

The senator said he prays “that we find a way to make sure all Georgians trust the process, that they all trust their government.”

More Than A Vote, a group founded by James, is fighting legislation that could make it harder for Black Americans to vote, an effort that included airing a commercial during the NBA All-Star game.

(Photo: Morethanavote.org advertisement)
Ad tells viewers this isn’t the time “think posting hashtags and black squares is enough.”

The group also opposes Georgia’s House-passed bill (H.B. 531) to limit locations for absentee ballot drop boxes, curtail weekend voting and ban giving food or drinks to people waiting in line to vote. More Than A Vote will take on legislation in other states, as well, said spokesman Michael Tyler. — Jennifer Kay

STICK WITH YOUR OWN PARTY

Utah lawmakers have sent a bill to Gov. Spencer Cox (R) that would outlaw political party switching just before a primary election.

Under the bill (H.B. 197), when voters apply to change their party registration after March 31 of an election year, it would take effect after the late June primary.

Cox has until March 25 to sign the legislation, though he hasn’t said publicly whether he will.

The chief sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher (R) said he’s pushing the bill because more than 21,000 Democrats switched affiliations just in time to have an impact on the Republican presidential primary. There’s no way to tell whether those people made any impact, since President Donald Trump won almost 280,000 more votes than his closest competitor.

An analysis by the Electoral Innovation Lab at Princeton University showed that Republican registrations grew in the state by nearly 100,000 between January 2020 and the primary in June, most of them unaffiliated voters becoming Republicans. A majority of them remained with the party after the primary. — Tripp Baltz

BETTER LEAVE WORK EARLY ON ELECTION DAY

A one-day-old law in Iowa will give voters less time to get in line on Election Day.

Election locations will close at 8:00 p.m. rather than 9:00 p.m. under the measure that Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed Monday.

The new law also will let county officials confirm — or invalidate — voter eligibility more frequently, and they’ll only count absentee ballots received by Election Day, instead of waiting to check for those postmarked by Election Day. The benefit, according to the governor, will be “more transparency and accountability,” — Stephen Joyce

Must Reads

LeBron’s Group Is New; Here’s Where An Established Group’s Putting Money: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin will be targeted in a $10 million effort by Heritage Action to support legislatures that want to change election laws. — Foxnews.com

Redistricting In A Nutshell: “If they start with Pueblo, you get one map. If they start with Denver, you get another map.” — Colorado Sun

Bipartisan State Government Less Common Than It Used To Be: Republicans and Democrats share power at the legislative and/or gubernatorial levels in 12 states. During the redistricting season that followed the 1970 Census, there were at least 22 states with split control. — Pew Research Center

A Look At Absentee Voting in all 50 states — Fivethirtyeight.com

Ballots & Boundaries is your check-in on what states are doing to change voting laws and reconfigure political boundaries in once-a-decade redistricting.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com; Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com; Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bloomberglaw.com; Stephen Joyce in Chicago at sjoyce@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Heather Rothman at hrothman@bgov.com

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