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How the 5 vote-by-mail states have overhauled their election systems

This is the second in a series of articles examining changes to voting laws in every state.

The ongoing election evolution in the United States, while in large part catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic, has been building momentum for years.

Many states were already undergoing major overhauls to their election systems leading up to the 2020 election, even before the pandemic gripped the nation. And in the aftermath of the presidential contest, states have doubled down on voting reforms.

To provide a comprehensive analysis of the voting law changes in every state and Washington, D.C., since 2019, The Fulcrum compiled data from the Voting Rights Lab, the National Conference for State Legislatures, the Brennan Center for Justice, and state statutes and constitutions. This second installment focuses on the five states that conduct primarily vote-by-mail elections.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans intend to block the For the People Act.

Survey finds bipartisan support for HR 1, especially some of its components

While congressional Republicans remain overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, opposed to the For the People Act, a new survey found strong bipartisan backing for the wide-ranging bill that would set new standards for elections.

The survey — conducted by Data for Progress, a progressive think tank and polling firm, for Vox — found that 69 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat support the bill when told it would "make it easier to vote, limit the influence of money in politics, and require congressional districts to be drawn by a non-partisan commission so that no one party has an advantage." That breaks down as 85 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans. (Note that voter ID and so-called ballot harvesting, among the most partisan elements of election administration, were not mentioned.)

No Republican voted in favor of the bill, also known as HR 1, when Democrats pushed it through the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans have vowed to block its passage in the Senate. Republicans say the legislation would damage election security while Democrats claim it would make elections more fair.

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Hawaii will soon join 20 other states, plus D.C., that have adopted automatic voter registration.

Hawaii to institute automatic voter registration

Hawaii is poised to become the latest state to adopt automatic voter registration.

The Senate unanimously approved the measure on Tuesday after the House passed it earlier this month, with only one lawmaker voting "no." The bill now goes to Gov. David Ige's desk, and he is expected to sign it.

With Democrats forming an executive and legislative trifecta, Hawaii is following the nationwide trend in which Democrats are largely advocating for voting easements, while Republicans are trying to roll back access to the ballot box.

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GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte approved eliminating same-day voter registration in Montana after it had been used for 15 years.

Montana ends same-day registration, tightens voter ID requirement

Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed legislation ending Montana's long-standing same-day voter registration practice, while also imposing stricter voter ID requirements.

The Republican governor approved the two restrictive voting measures on Monday, after the GOP-majority Legislature passed the bills largely along party lines last month.

This makes Montana the latest state to roll back voting access following the 2020 election. Republican lawmakers across the country have been pushing for stricter election rules that they say will protect against voter fraud — despite no evidence of widespread wrongdoing. At the same time, Democrats have been advocating for expanding access to the ballot box.

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