Advisory: CLC Releases Updated Report on Changes to Early Voting and Mail Voting Laws in All 50 States
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) released an updated, 50-state version of a report about states’ early voting and mail voting laws. Like the original report, this version examined the changes to laws that states have made since the 2020 election, using a 10-point scale to grade whether these methods of voting are accessible to voters. The new version also includes regional comparisons, clarifications on how to measure restrictions around distributing unsolicited mail ballot applications and prohibiting drop boxes, and potential implications for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
“Many states need to do more to protect the freedom to vote and make this basic American right truly accessible to all citizens,” said Valencia Richardson, legal counsel for voting rights at Campaign Legal Center. “We need to understand the sharp shifts in voting access that have occurred across the country over the last few years to address significant and widespread obstacles to voting. Our country’s democracy works best when all voters can participate without barriers.”
CLC’s main findings include:
Racial Disparities: Among the 10 states with the highest Black populations, only Virginia received a strong score for voting access. The other nine states, which are primarily located in the South and are home to tens of millions of Black voters, fell woefully behind the rest of the country in providing early voting and mail voting access.
Access for Disabled Voters: These voters are disproportionately impacted by state laws that expand or limit access to mail voting. CLC’s updated report reflects this by awarding a full point to states that maintain permanent mail voting lists for disabled voters, even if nondisabled voters are not eligible to be on these lists.
Upheavals and Divides: Several new voting laws were enacted in 2021 and 2022. During the 2022 elections, voters will find themselves navigating these laws and processes for the first time. These changes have created divides between states that have made voting easier, states that have made it harder and states that have done some of both.
National Trends and Room for Improvement: While laws vary greatly from state to state, there are both positive and concerning national trends in access to these methods of voting. Currently, thirty-two out of 50 states have substantial room for improvement to ensure access to universal early voting and mail voting.