Has Your State Made It Harder To Vote?

PUBLISHED June 16, 2022 at 6:00 am


In some, almost every step of the voting process has changed since 2020.

One consequence of former President Donald Trump’s “big lie,” or false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, is that many states have changed election laws in their states, making voting more difficult. Overall, in our analysis of data from the Brennan Center for Justice, the Voting Rights Lab, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and FiveThirtyEight’s own database, we found that since the 2020 election, 24 states have passed 56 new laws amending the Restricting voting rights Some cases affect almost every step of the process.

The number of restrictions signed in 2021 was unprecedented. Actually loud Brennan Center, the total number of restrictions shattered the previous record year of 2011, when 14 states enacted 19 laws as of October of this year. In other words, depending on where you live, the way you cast your vote could be very different this year. That’s why, here at FiveThirtyEight, we’re going to walk you through each state’s new voting restrictions and how they can affect you at every step of the voting process.

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Register to vote

The first step in the voting process is registering to vote. Since the 2020 election, 17 states have taken steps to increase the frequency of voter roll wipes, often removing eligible voters from the registration list without notice and requiring voters to re-register or cast a provisional ballot when they arrive at their polls choice arrive place. This is the case in Iowa, where voters are marked as inactive if they did not vote in the last federal election and did not re-register or report a change in voter registration. Other states, like Montanaalso took steps to make registration more difficult End of registration on election day. In total, there are 29 new laws targeting voter registration.

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apply for a postal vote

While some states Conducting elections mostly or entirely by mail, other states rely more on a mix of in-person and mail-in voting. However, in 2020, in the face of the pandemic, postal vote, especially for absentee ballots, was very popular. In fact it helped win President Biden’s victory in 2020. As a result, a number of states have enacted laws restricting the ability to vote by mail. For example GOP-run states like Georgia, Texas and Iowa Now ban mail ballot applications from being sent to voters who haven’t applied for one. There are 14 new laws in total that make it more difficult to apply for a postal vote.

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return postal ballot

Some states have also streamlined existing deadlines for returning absentee ballots, giving voters less time to fill out their forms and mail them back to the appropriate polling officials. in the ArkansasFor example, absentee ballots must now be received on the Friday before election day (previously the deadline was the day before the election). Other states, like Kentucky and Texas, have restricted or criminalized the practice of returning absentee ballots on behalf of another person, a practice sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting.” There are a total of 14 new laws that have made it more difficult to return an election card.

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Early voting

One of the biggest changes to early voting is new restrictions on when voters can actually cast their ballot. Some states have passed laws that limit the number of days people can vote in person early. in the Kentucky, for example, in 2020 district clerks could offer early in-person voting up to 12 days before an election, but now it’s only limited to the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before an election. Additionally, a handful of states now have new or stricter identification requirements for those looking to vote early. There are a total of 14 new laws making early voting more difficult.

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voting on election day

But not every voter can cast their vote early. Instead, many vote in person on election day. And there are three main ways states are targeting Election Day voting after 2020: by enacting stricter voter identification laws, enacting additional restrictions on polling stations, and restricting the accessibility of voting. in the Texasfor example, in-vehicle voting or roadside voting is now banned for people without disabilities, removing a pandemic-era change that was allowed thousands of voters to cast their ballot in one of the most populous counties in the state. In addition, any person personally supporting a Texas vote must complete new documentation disclosing their relationship with the voter. In total, there are 14 new laws introducing hurdles to voting in person on Election Day.

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election confirmation

Voting does not necessarily mean the end of the voting process. In some states, there are additional steps that take place after voting to verify that the person who cast a ballot is the intended voter, and that, too, has become more difficult after 2020. For example, officials can reject ballots that do not meet certain verification requirements, as is the case here Indiana, when a new law requires district electoral boards or the absent board members at the district court clerk’s office to compare the voter’s signature on the absentee ballot with the signature on the absentee ballot application, electronic ballot book, or on record. There are 16 new laws in total that will change the voter verification process. Some states — though not all — allow voters to fix errors on their ballot through a process known as “ballot curing.” Even the states that allow voters to fix bugs have enacted laws that make it difficult to do so, such as Nevadareducing the amount of time that voters can fix errors on ballots.


As we have already writtenHowever, at this point it is difficult to see whether even the strictest electoral laws will have a major impact on voter turnout, or which party wins where. Rather, the impact on citizens will be most important when assessing how voting has become more difficult. For example, we don’t know if a handful of voters or thousands of voters will be deterred – or unable – to vote in states with these new anti-democratic voting measures. Overall, however, voting in this year’s election will be different than in previous cycles. Other limitations are also possible on the horizon: as long as the belief in the “Big Lie” remains a key part Given the Republican allegiance to Trump, lawmakers will continue to push measures that add additional hurdles to voters as a tool to win the election.

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