Democracy Maps Updates for February 2023
MAP’s newest project, the Democracy Maps, tracks more than 40 laws and policies related to elections and voting. Our maps are updated in real time as legislatures across the country pass laws that impact voting, elections, and our democracy.
These are the Democracy Maps updates as of February 2023.
▸▸ State Policy Updates
Ohio enacted the first election law of 2023, passing a strict voter ID bill which requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls. If a voter does not have an acceptable ID, they must vote using a provisional ballot, and in order for their ballot to be counted, they must provide proof of ID to the Board of Elections within four days following Election Day.
According to a report from the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, more than 1 million Ohioans had their driver’s licenses suspended in 2020; suspended licenses cannot be used as valid ID. Such suspensions also disproportionally impact poor voters and communities of color.
Ohio is now the 11th state in Democracy Maps’ strictest category of voter ID laws. Voting rights advocates have already filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new voter ID requirements.
The new Ohio law also implements concerning restrictions on ballot drop boxes in the state, with only a single drop box now allowed per county. (See MAP’s policy brief on ballot drop boxes to learn more.)
Ballot Drop Box Policies & Availability | Democracy Maps
States take a variety of policy approaches to ballot drop boxes, with some states requiring they be accessible statewide, while other states limit, restrict, or even ban the option.
Minnesota’s House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation that would automatically restore voting rights upon release from incarceration to people disenfranchised due to previous felony convictions. This bill is now heading to the Governor’s desk for signature.
Current Minnesota law requires that these individuals complete all terms of probation or parole before their rights are restored. If the bill is signed into law, Minnesota would join 22 states that currently restore voting rights automatically upon release from incarceration.
Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People | Democracy Maps
States differ on when and how formerly incarcerated people can have their voting rights restored. This map outlines the landscape of policies at the state level.
In New York, legislators in the Senate have already passed a number of election-related bills in 2023. Among the most notable bills are proposals that would codify the accessible use of ballot drop boxes, and allow the use of portable or mobile early voting locations. Legislation has also been introduced that would prohibit misinformation related to elections that impacts the exercise of voting rights. The bill also adds new criminal penalties for engaging in such actions.
In Pennsylvania, the state Senate passed legislation in January that proposes a constitutional amendment which would implement strict photo voter ID requirements for in-person voting. The amendment would remove the option for voters without a photo ID to sign a sworn statement as an alternative. It would also require the voter to complete additional steps after Election Day in order for their ballot to be counted. These kinds of additional requirements add unnecessary and burdensome hoops for voters to jump through, which can disenfranchise eligible voters, particularly in communities of color.
Voter ID Requirements for In-Person Voting | Democracy Maps
In a majority of states, voters show some form of ID when casting a ballot in-person. In some states, for voters without a required ID, additional need steps to be taken by the voter after Election Day to ensure their vote is counted.
The amendment would also require voters to provide a copy of valid identification when returning their mail ballot. If adopted by the Pennsylvania House, the proposed amendment would be sent to the ballot for voters to approve in the next statewide election.
▸▸ Engaging with Democracy Maps
As state legislative sessions begin to heat up, the Democracy Maps resources are especially useful for understanding election systems across the United States.
MAP’s Democracy Maps track more than 40 laws and policies related to elections and voting, and they are updated as legislatures across the country pass laws that impact voting, elections, and our democracy. Additionally, this project includes comprehensive Democracy Profiles for each state and in-depth policy reports, briefs, and analyses on timely topics related to voting and elections.
Dynamic, real-time maps
The Democracy Maps are updated in real-time as policies change and provide a quick visual overview of which states have adopted such policies. The maps can also be used to show where certain policies are gaining traction nationwide.
The categories of laws tracked by Democracy Maps include:
- Voter Registration
- Voting in Person
- Election Security
- Representation and Participation
- Voting by Mail
- Independence and Integrity of Elections
See Democracy Maps’ full list of laws and policies, grouped by category.
All of the Democracy Maps are freely embeddable, and because the maps are updated in real-time, when policies change, the maps automatically update on any website where they are embedded.
Directions on how to embed a Democracy Map onto any website.
State snapshots in Democracy Profiles
The Democracy Profile for each state includes a quick snapshot of each state’s voting population, electoral statistics, and how the state ranks across the categories of policies we track.
Each state also has an overall democracy score, which can be compared to other states in our full U.S. ranking, and each state profile can be downloaded as fact sheet.
See examples of downloadable fact sheets for Florida and Pennsylvania.
In-depth policy research
The Democracy Maps project regularly releases policy briefs and analysis that address timely issues related to democracy, elections, and voting. Recent research and analysis include the following:
- Five Approaches to Actually Secure U.S. Elections
- How States Rank on Voting and Democracy Compared to LGBTQ Equality
- The Battle Over Ballot Drop Boxes
Democracy Maps will continue publishing new research in the months to come. See below for ways you can stay engaged with our work in 2023.
Learn more about how to navigate the Democracy Maps.
▸▸ More from Democracy Maps
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