Election Reform: Multi-State Agenda Campaign Update

The major election reforms PSN is promoting this session are new options for voting by mail and national popular vote.

Permanent absentee voting, sometimes called “no-excuse voting” allows registered voters to vote by mail without having provide an excuse to register for an absentee ballot before each election. Laws like these address voting barriers and will help drive voter turnout in states across the country - just in time for the coming 2010 and 2012 election years.

Currently six states -- California, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, Washington, and New Jersey -- have permanent no excuse absentee voting while Oregon runs a mail-in vote statewide and Maine has a permanent absentee pilot program currently underway. Other states continue to upgrade existing absentee voting laws to ensure that they are permanent no-excuse; twenty-three states do not allow for no excuse absentee voting. PSN helped introduce legislation last year, and will continue to support bills carried over to this session. In addition to those bills carried over to this session in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, PSN has helped introduce model legislation in five states, including New York S2868, introduced by Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Iowa HSB133, introduced by Rep. Mary Mascher, Rhode Island HB7418, introduced by Rep. Amy Rice, Maryland SB293, introduced by Senators Jamie Raskin and Joan Carter Conway, and Alaska HB277, introduced by Rep. Robert Buch.

National Popular Vote (NPV) is a campaign to make every vote count in presidential general elections through passing an interstate compact where states agree to apportion their presidential electors to the winner. The compact would become effective when a majority of electors are included under the agreement.

Passing NPV will help progressive causes, as an election system that fosters broad participation and high voter turnout is essential to bringing about progressive change for the simple reason that a majority of people, especially many not currently voting, support the goals that progressives are striving to achieve. NPV continues to gain steam, as 29 legislative chambers have passed the bill in 19 states. Currently Maryland, Washington, New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois have passed NPV. A number of states not in session this year are also discussing campaigns for the 2011 session.

To view a full map of green buildings bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.

For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Election Reforms campaign page.