Election Law Changes Ahead Of 2024

The future of elections in America are likely to be at the center of congressional debate in the next few weeks, as some election and voting bills are set to come to the floor.

Democrats have plans to introduce multiple proposals that would provide the federal government with authority to ultimately determine how state elections are conducted. If those bills were to be passed, Congress would be able to set voting standards for the entire nation.

A contrasting proposal from the House GOP would make voting laws stricter and ensure “states maintain primary control over elections.”

The bill, dubbed the American Confidence in Elections Act, is “the most conservative election bill to be considered in the House in over 20 years,” according to Representative Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, who chairs the Administration Committee in the House.

In explaining the bill last month, he said:

“It works to boost voters’ confidence and uphold the Constitution by ensuring states maintain primary control over elections, not the federal government. This is in stark contrast to House Democrats’ efforts in the last two congresses, which would have nationalized our election system and centralized it in Washington, D.C.”

The bill being proposed by the GOP would encourage all states to review their voter rolls, ban election officials from sending out absentee ballots to people who don’t request them, make voter eligibility checks mandatory and even conduct audits after elections take place.

The proposal by the House GOP is similar to many proposals that are being put forth in states that are led by Republican governments. Some of those proposals have added requirements to submit identification even when voting by mail, limiting people’s ability to turn in a ballot for someone else, and either reduce or completely ban the usage of drop boxes for ballots.

Georgia is one of the most prominent examples of this. The state was at the center of the presidential election controversy in 2020, and they passed a huge voting reform law back in 2021 that many other states have used as a model for laws of their own.

Democrats have criticized that legislation from the start, claiming that the regulations will result in voter suppression. Republicans fired back by saying the solid voter turnout during the 2022 midterm elections are proof that the Democrats’ concerns are unfounded.

During a hearing of the House Administration Committee back in May, Scot Turner, a Republican former Georgia state House member, said:

“The Georgia General Assembly has worked to create a system that makes it easier to vote, have results that can be audited and verified, give voters options for their preferred method of voting and build confidence using voter ID.”

Democrats say that control of elections by the federal government are necessary to ensure the voting process in America is upheld, and that fair and free elections continue. 

Their proposals would expand access to voting in various ways, by banning states from passing new restrictions on voting and using ballot drop boxes in more ways.