Movement Advancement Project (MAP)

Democracy Maps Updates for March 2023

Democracy Maps
4 min readApr 3, 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 March 31, 2023.

▸▸ State Policy Updates

Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People

  • Minnesota recently enacted legislation that automatically restores voting rights upon release from incarceration to people disenfranchised due to previous felony convictions.
  • An omnibus bill in New Mexico was signed by the governor at the end of March, implementing several pro-voter policies including automatic restoration of voting rights upon release from incarceration for people disenfranchised due to felony convictions (additional details below).

Including Minnesota and New Mexico, there are now 24 states that restore voting rights automatically upon release from incarceration.

Ballot Drop Boxes and Policies for Mail Ballots

  • In South Dakota, a recently enacted law bans the use of ballot drop boxes, despite the fact that drop boxes have long been used successfully and securely as an option for voters to return their mail ballots.

    South Dakota is now one of 11 states that ban the use of ballot drop boxes, and more than 1 in 5 voters now live in a state that bans the use of drop boxes.
  • In New Mexico, the same newly enacted omnibus legislation mentioned above codifies the accessible use of ballot drop boxes in the state.

    New Mexico is one of the 29 states that require or allow ballot boxes statewide.

    New Mexico also established a permanent absentee voter list, which means that voters registered in the state will automatically receive mail ballots in each election via a single sign on. New Mexico has joined 22 other states and D.C. with this option.

Protections for Native American Voters

New Mexico implemented additional protections for Native American voters in the state. These additional protections include involving tribal governments in automatic voter registration, placing additional early voting locations on tribal land and giving tribal governments new emergency powers relating to voting procedures.

New Mexico is one of five states that currently have protections in place for Native American voters.

Protections for Election Officials

New Mexico recently enacted a law that establishes protections for election officials by expanding the felony criminal offense of intimidation to apply to inducing or attempting to induce fear in a member of an election board, a voter, a challenger, or a watcher, for the purpose of inhibiting voting or election administration.

New Mexico is now the 8th state in the U.S. to implement these important protections for election officials.

Post-Election Audits

South Dakota recently enacted a law that requires the use of post-election audits in the state for the first time.

Like an independent audit of financial statements, post-election audits are a nonpartisan process that allows states to verify the accuracy and performance of voting equipment and vote counting machines.

With this new law, South Dakota becomes the 41st state to require the use of truly independent and nonpartisan post-election audits.

Membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC)

In a troubling new trend, Republican states have begun to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a nonpartisan organization created to assist states in maintaining accurate voter rolls.

ERIC helps states modernize their voter registration systems and increase efficiency and security. Member states submit their data to ERIC which then allows the states to see if voters have moved within or out of state, identify duplicate registrations and remove ineligible voters.

Despite these worthy goals, a campaign of misinformation and false claims about the organization have led six states to withdraw from ERIC in the past year: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, and West Virginia.

In Iowa, the Secretary of State recently announced the state’s intention to withdraw from ERIC later this year as well. This exodus threatens to impact the effectiveness and continued existence of the organization, which depends on the sharing of information between states to function.

Across the country, 27 states are currently members of ERIC to help ensure the accuracy and integrity of their voter rolls.

▸▸ More from Democracy Maps

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Democracy Maps

Democracy Maps tracks more than 50 laws and policies on elections and voting. Project of Movement Advancement Project, an independent, nonprofit think tank.