Virginia state lawmakers on Tuesday approved a package of bills to make it easier to register and vote in a state that will likely play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of November's election.
The legislation changes Election Day to a state holiday, allows for "no-excuse" absentee voting, establishes automatic voter registration and repeals a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. This would make Virginia the first state to repeal such a law.
Illinois election officials said Monday that hundreds of former inmates had their voter registrations mistakenly canceled and that the state was working to restore their status quickly.
The canceled registrations, which affected 774 felons who had re-registered to vote following their release, was at least the fourth mishap related to voter registrations revealed by the Illinois Board of Elections in the past two weeks alone.
The latest episode involved a "data-matching error" in the information shared between the state corrections department and the elections board.
Progressive groups in Ohio formally launched their effort Wednesday to put before the voters an amendment to the state constitution making voting easier on several fronts.
If ultimately successful, the package would be counted on to boost turnout in one of the nation's most populous political bellwethers starting in 2022.
But first, a coalition of mostly left-leaning groups called Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections, spearheaded by the state's branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, must collect 443,000 valid signatures by July on a petition asking for the referendum.
All states should adopt automatic voter registration, expand mail-in voting and implement new auditing practices to assure the accuracy of vote counts, a bipartisan panel of election administrators proposed Thursday.
A 57-page report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which convened a task force of officials to come up with ideas, offers 21 recommendations that cover all aspects of elections, from registration to casting and certifying ballots.
The recommendations, adopted unanimously by the nearly two dozen local and state election administrators from across the country, are intended to provide a roadmap for state legislatures to follow, said Matthew Weil, director of the BPC's effort. Lawmakers are convening in most state capitals this month for their annual sessions, so there is still time for election overhauls to be put in place before the November presidential election.