Has Your State Made It Harder To Vote?


PUBLISHED Jun. 16, 2022, at 6:00 AM

In some, almost each step of the voting course of has modified since 2020.

One consequence of former President Donald Trump’s “Massive Lie,” or the false declare that the 2020 election was stolen, is that many states have modified voting legal guidelines of their states, making it tougher to solid a poll. In complete, we present in our evaluation of knowledge from the Brennan Middle for Justice, the Voting Rights Lab, the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures and FiveThirtyEight’s personal database that because the 2020 election, 24 states have handed 56 new legal guidelines that prohibit voting, in some instances affecting almost each step of the method.

The variety of restrictions signed into legislation in 2021 was unprecedented. In truth, in keeping with the Brennan Middle, the overall variety of restrictions shatters the earlier record-high 12 months, which was 2011, when 14 states enacted 19 legal guidelines by October of that 12 months. In different phrases, relying on the place you reside, the way you solid your poll this 12 months could possibly be very totally different. That’s why right here at FiveThirtyEight, we’re going to stroll you thru the brand new voting restrictions in every state and the way they could have an effect on you at every step of the voting course of.

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Register to vote

Step one within the voting course of is registering to vote. For the reason that 2020 election, 17 states have taken steps to extend the frequency of voter roll purges, which might take away eligible voters from the registration listing, typically with little discover, and require voters to reregister or solid a provisional poll after they arrive at their polling place. That is the case in Iowa, the place voters are marked as inactive in the event that they didn’t vote within the final common election and in the event that they have not registered once more or reported a change to voter registration. Different states, like Montana, additionally took steps to make registration tougher by ending Election Day registration. In complete, there are 29 new legal guidelines in place that focus on voter registration.

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Apply for mail-in poll

Whereas some states conduct elections largely or solely by mail, different states depend on extra of a mixture of in-person and absentee voting. In 2020, although, given the pandemic, absentee voting, particularly with mail-in ballots, was actually well-liked. In truth, it helped clinch President Biden’s victory in 2020. However consequently, plenty of states have handed legal guidelines that prohibit individuals’s skill to vote by mail. For example, GOP-led states like Georgia, Texas and Iowa now prohibit mailing absentee poll purposes to voters who haven’t requested one. In complete, there are 14 new legal guidelines in place that make it tougher to use for an mail-in poll.

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Return mail-in poll

Some states have additionally tweaked present deadlines for when absentee ballots have to be returned, giving voters much less time to fill out their varieties and return them to the suitable election officers. In Arkansas, for example, absentee ballots should now be obtained the Friday earlier than Election Day (the deadline was beforehand the day earlier than the election). Different states, like Kentucky and Texas, have restricted or criminalized the observe of returning absentee ballots on behalf of another person, a observe generally known as “poll harvesting.” In complete, there are 14 new legal guidelines in place which have made returning an absentee poll harder.

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Early voting

One of many greatest adjustments to early voting is new restrictions on when voters can truly solid their ballots. Some states handed legal guidelines limiting the variety of days individuals might vote early in particular person. In Kentucky, for example, county clerks might provide early in-person voting in 2020 as many as 12 days out from the election, however now it’s restricted to only the Thursday, Friday and Saturday earlier than an election. Moreover, a handful of states now have new or extra stringent identification necessities for individuals who need to vote early. In complete, there are 14 new legal guidelines in place that make early voting more difficult.

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Election Day voting

However not each voter can solid his or her poll early. As a substitute, many vote in-person on Election Day. And there are three main methods states focused Election Day voting post-2020: by introducing stricter voter ID legal guidelines, inserting extra restrictions on polling locations and limiting the accessibility of voting. In Texas, for example, voting from vehicles or curbside voting is now banned for individuals and not using a incapacity, which eliminates a pandemic-era change that allowed 1000’s of voters to solid their ballots in one of many state’s most populous counties. Moreover, any particular person helping a Texan voting in particular person should fill out new paperwork disclosing their relationship to the voter. In complete, there are 14 new legal guidelines in place that introduce hurdles to voting in-person on Election Day.

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Poll verification

Casting a poll doesn’t essentially mark the top of the voting course of. In some states, there are additional steps that happen after voting as a way to confirm that the one that solid a poll is the supposed voter, and that, too, has gotten harder after 2020. Officers, for example, might reject ballots that don’t meet sure verification necessities as is the case in Indiana, the place a brand new legislation mandates that county election boards, or the absentee board members within the workplace of the circuit court docket clerk, examine the signature of the voter on the absentee poll with the signature on the absentee-ballot software, the digital ballot e book or on file. In complete, there are 16 new legal guidelines in place that change the poll verification course of. Some states — although not all — do enable voters to repair errors on their poll through a course of generally known as “poll curing.” Even the states that enable voters to repair errors have handed legal guidelines that make it harder to take action, like Nevada, which shortened the size of time wherein voters can repair errors on ballots.


As we’ve written earlier than, although, it’s difficult at this level to see whether or not even essentially the most stringent election legal guidelines could have a large-scale impact on turnout or which celebration wins and the place. Slightly, it’ll be the impact on on a regular basis residents that issues most when assessing how voting has gotten tougher. We don’t know, for example, whether or not a handful of voters or 1000’s of voters will likely be deterred — or unable to — solid a poll in states with these new anti-democratic voting measures in place. On the entire, although, voting on this 12 months’s elections will look totally different from earlier cycles. It’s potential, too, that there are extra restrictions on the horizon: So long as perception within the “Massive Lie” stays a central part of Republican fealty to Trump, lawmakers will proceed to push measures that add extra hurdles for voters as a instrument to win elections.

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