Election bills surge nationwide as 47 states consider restrictions

Lawmakers introduced 108 restrictive voting bills in less than five weeks this spring, according to an analysis of the scope and momentum of new election limits being considered across the country.

By March 24, state lawmakers had introduced 361 restrictive election bills in 47 state legislatures, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which has been tracking the legislation. That's 108 more bills than in the center's last count on February 19, a 43 percent increase.

Former President Donald Trump's stolen election lie has inspired an avalanche of election-related bills nationwide. By all accounts, the 2020 election was secure and the results accurate. Trump's own attorney general, William Barr, said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and the president's legal efforts to overturn the results failed in courtrooms around the country.

But that hasn't stopped states from reducing access to the ballot box.

Five restrictive election bills have already been signed into law, including Georgia’s election omnibus last week. That new law prompted outrage from activists and put a spotlight on similar legislation around the country. On Wednesday, dozens of Black business leaders publicly urged corporations to oppose voting restrictions, and Atlanta-based businesses Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines publicly called their state's law “unacceptable.”

Georgia is not alone: Iowa's governor signed a bill earlier this month that makes early voting harder. Arkansas also passed two bills tightening voter ID rules, while Utah passed a bill the center says will make faulty purges more likely.

At least 55 restrictive bills in 24 states are advancing through state legislatures, the center said; 29 bills have passed at least one chamber.

Most of the bills target mail voting, which was expanded last year because of the pandemic. A quarter of the restrictions seek tighter ID requirements, and others aim to make voter registration harder or expand voter roll purges.

Texas, Georgia, and Arizona lead the nation for restrictive election proposals.

A number of expansive proposals also are being considered.

According to the analysis, 843 bills with expansive provisions have been introduced in a different set of 47 states. That's up from 704 bills six weeks ago.

Nine expansive bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting signature, while 41 bills have passed one chamber.

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