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States Enact Record Number Of Election-Related Bills, Democrats Lead Sponsorship

Legislative activity surges in 2023 with 380 bills enacted, a 63.1% increase from last year, as Democrats take the lead.

States have enacted 380 bills in 2023, a 63.1% increase from this point in 2022.

Legislative highlights


  • Two bills have been approved since our last edition. Two bills were enacted in the same period in 2022. 
  • States have enacted 380 bills in 2023, a 63.1% increase from this point in 2022. By this point in 2022, states had enacted 233 bills. In 2021, states enacted 183 bills. 
  • Democrats sponsored 16 of the bills active over the past week, a 27.3% decrease from the 22 Democrat-sponsored bills in state legislatures the week before. Republicans sponsored four bills that moved, a 76.5% decrease from the 17 Republican-sponsored bills the week before. 
  • The bill topics with the most legislative activity this week were contest-specific procedures (4), ballots and voting materials (1), voter registration and list maintenance (1), and voter qualifications (1).

Here is the current status of this year’s election-related bills:

  • 380 enacted bills (+2)
  • 28 that have passed both chambers (No change)
  • 105 that have passed one chamber (-2)
  • 1,422 introduced bills (+8)
  • 1,228 dead bills (No change)

States have approved 380 election-related bills in 2023, compared to 233 at this point last year. Of these bills, Democrats sponsored 112 (29.5%), Republicans sponsored 174 (45.8%), and 59 (15.5%) had bipartisan sponsorship. Committees or legislators with independent or other party affiliations sponsored the remaining 35 (9.2%) bills. To see all bills approved this year, click here

Bills approved since our last edition, with their official titles, are below.

Michigan (Democratic trifecta)

  • MI SB0572: Elections: other; precinct size; modify. Amends sec 658 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.658).

New York (Democratic trifecta)

  • NY S01381: Requires a proposed amendment to the constitution or other question provided by law to be submitted to a statewide vote be submitted to the people for their approval in plain language which is deemed to be no higher than an eighth grade reading level.

Bills that passed both chambers

Twenty-eight bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting gubernatorial action, compared to 31 bills at this point last year. To see all bills that have currently passed both chambers, click here.

Bills that passed both chambers since our last edition, with their official titles, are below.

Michigan (Democratic trifecta)

  • MI SB0385: Elections: election officials; electronically submitting precinct election inspector applications; allow. Amends sec. 677 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.677).
  • MI SB0590: Elections: other; contesting post-certification presidential election results; provide for. Amends sec. 13 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.13) & adds sec. 845a. TIE BAR WITH: SB 0529’23, SB 0591’23
  • MI SB0374: Elections: other; precinct size; modify, and require candidates for office to file financial disclosure report before assuming office. Amends secs. 658 & 661 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.658 & 168.661) & adds sec. 847a. TIE BAR WITH: SB 0614’23
  • MI SB0505: Criminal procedure: sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for certain Michigan election law violations dealing with intimidating an election official; provide for. Amends sec. 11d, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.11d). TIE BAR WITH: HB 4129’23
  • MI SB0529: Elections: presidential electors; certain provisions of the federal electoral count reform act; implement, clarify straight party ticket voting, modify the election tie-breaking procedure, revise the selection process for members of the board of state canvassers, and modify certain recount timelines. Amends secs. 22a, 22b, 46, 47, 581, 795c, 822, 842, 846 & 882 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.22a et seq.) & adds sec. 814.
  • MI SB0570: Elections: election officials; county clerk to appoint a designee to conduct an election audit under certain circumstances; require. Amends sec. 31a of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.31a).
  • MI SB0594: Elections: registration; online voter registration process; modify. Amends sec. 509ii of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.509ii).
  • MI SB0573: Elections: other; precinct size; modify. Amends sec. 661 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.661).

Governors have vetoed 37 bills this year, compared to 18 at this point in 2022. To see all bills vetoed in 2023, click here.

Bills vetoed since our last edition, with their official titles, are below. 

New York (Democratic trifecta)

  • NY A06919: Provides for the reinstatement of state recognition and acknowledgment of the Montaukett Indian Nation; provides that the Montaukett Indian nation shall have a chief or sachem, three tribal trustees and a tribal secretary; provides for the qualification of voters; makes related provisions.

Enacted bills by topic and sponsorship, 2022 vs. 2023

The chart below shows the topics of the bills with legislative activity since our last edition. Click here to see a full list of bill categories and their definitions.

The chart below shows the topics of a sample of the 3,199 bills we’ve followed this year. Note that the sums of the numbers listed do not equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics.  

Of the 20 bills with activity this week, 15 (75.0%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, two (10.0%) are in a state with a Republican trifecta, and three (15.0%) are in states with a divided government. 

Two bills were acted on in the same week in 2022. One of the bills was from a state with a Republican trifecta, and one was from a state with a divided government.

The map below shows election-related bills acted on in the past week by state trifecta status.

The chart below shows the topics of a sample of the 3,199 bills we’ve followed this year. Note that the sums of the numbers listed do not equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

Of all the election-related bills introduced this year, 1,394 (43.6%) are in states with Democratic trifectas, 1,366 (42.8%) are in states with Republican trifectas, and 439 (13.7%) are in states with divided governments. 

Texas legislators have introduced the most election-related bills this year (413). Texas only holds legislative sessions in odd years and had no activity in 2022. The Texas Legislature held two special sessions from May 29 to July 13, with the regular session adjourning on May 29. A third special session began on Oct. 9, and a fourth on Nov. 7. New York was the most active state at this point in 2022, with 377 bills introduced. Texas has enacted the most bills this year (34). In 2022, Louisiana and Arizona had enacted the most bills at this point (18). 

The chart below shows the topics of a sample of the 3,199 bills we’ve followed this year. Note that the sums of the numbers listed do not equal the total number of bills because some bills deal with multiple topics. PHOTO BY BALLOTPEDIA

The map below shows the number of election-related bills introduced by state and trifecta status this year.

Federal lawsuit challenges Tennessee election law

On Nov. 29, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe (R), and another Knoxville voter filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee challenging a new law regulating primary elections. SB0978 requires a specific sign be placed in a prominent location at each polling place reminding voters that it is a crime to vote in a party primary when a voter is not a bona fide member of the party. Plaintiffs argue the law is unconstitutional because it threatens “voters, including primarily those who have no intent to crossover vote, with felony convictions based on nebulous standards that have no definition under state law and instead are defined by private political parties.” League of Women Voters of Tennessee President Debby Gould said the law “will have a chilling effect on Tennesseans exercising their right to vote and creates unnecessary confusion for voters. The League of Women Voters will continue to fight to ensure that all voters are empowered at the ballot box and can feel confident in their right to vote.” Madison County Republican Party Chairman Larry Lowrance said it is “not right for a Democrat to vote in the Republican primary or for a Republican to vote in the Democrat primary. And if a person chooses to not be affiliated with either party and be independent, then they forfeit the opportunity to vote in a primary and can vote in the general election.” The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has not commented on the lawsuit. In 15 states and the District of Columbia, at least one political party conducts closed primaries for congressional and state-level offices in which a voter must affiliate with a political party in order to participate in that party’s primary.

U.S. Supreme Court rules lawmakers must sit for depositions in election lawsuit

On Nov. 27, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two Arizona lawmakers’ request to avoid sitting for depositions in a lawsuit challenging state election laws. The lawsuit is a consolidation of eight different cases more than 20 plaintiffs filed in 2022 challenging HB2492 and HB2243. HB2492 requires all Arizona residents registering to vote to provide evidence of US citizenship and proof of location of residence. This bill also requires county recorders to cancel a voter’s registration if provided with proof that the voter is not a U.S. citizen. HB2243 requires the state’s voter registration form to include a statement that if a voter permanently moves out of state, their voter registration will be canceled. Plaintiffs alleged the laws were racially motivated and violated the 14th Amendment. Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma (R) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R) sought to intervene in the lawsuit in defense of the laws in April, after which a U.S. district court ordered them to comply with plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Toma and Petersen then petitioned the Supreme Court to block the lower court’s order. The lawmakers’ attorney, Kevin O’Malley, said the Supreme Court ruling “will chill both the atmosphere for all legislators to freely express their views during the legislative process and the ability and willingness of present and future legislative leaders to participate in litigation to defend the constitutionality of state laws.” All Voting is Local Arizona State Director Alex Gulotta said, “Legislators pass laws for inappropriate reasons. The public deserves to know and the courts should consider those motives when trying to determine if those laws should be struck down.”

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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