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At least 11 states have enacted restrictive voting laws this year, new report finds

<i>Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/AP/FILE</i><br/>At least 11 states have enacted 13 restrictive voting laws this year. Voters here wait in line at a polling place in Austin
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/AP/FILE
At least 11 states have enacted 13 restrictive voting laws this year. Voters here wait in line at a polling place in Austin

By Shania Shelton, CNN

(CNN) — At least 11 states have enacted 13 restrictive voting laws this year, according to a new analysis from the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school.

The Brennan Center said the 13 restrictive laws enacted so far this year is greater than the number of restrictive laws enacted in any year in the last decade with an exception to 2021 — in which at least 14 states, during about the same time frame, had passed 22 restrictive laws following the 2020 election.

This year, at least 13 states also enacted 19 expansive laws that make it easier to vote, resulting in more expansive laws passed than both restrictive and election interference laws across the country this year.

The report shows the continued efforts by state legislatures to bring change to election laws in an age of election denialism since the 2020 presidential election where former President Donald Trump and his allies spread the falsehood that widespread election fraud contributed to his defeat.

The laws restricting voting include actions such as curbing access to mail voting and implementing stricter photo ID requirements for voter registration or in-person voting, per the report. Brennan examined key state legislative trends for the first five months of 2023.

The states that enacted restrictive voting laws this year include Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

According to this year’s report, in addition, at least four states have enacted five laws directed at election interference, including making it a crime for an election official to send an unsolicited mail ballot in Arkansas. The other states that enacted election interference laws include Florida, Georgia and South Dakota.

In Florida, a law enabling the statewide prosecutor to have new power to go after people for election-related crimes also was enacted this year.

Meanwhile, Minnesota and New Mexico have both enacted expansive voting laws this year that establish automatic voter registration and restore voting rights to ex-felons who have completed their terms of incarceration.

A third of state legislatures are still in session, giving the opportunity for several election bills to still be enacted this year, including two Texas election bills that target the elections process in Harris County, the state’s largest county and home to Houston.

The Brennan Center looked at voting laws that were enacted as of May 29. The report categorizes legislation as restrictive if it “contains one or more provisions that would make it harder for eligible Americans to register, stay on the voter rolls, or cast a ballot as compared to existing state law” and expansive if one or more provisions makes it easier.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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