- We think there are two election-related issues you should keep an eye on in 2022 — general voting laws and redistricting. We expect state lawmakers to pursue legislation related to these topics during the 2022 legislative sessions.
- This post is part of our series on state policy issues to watch in 2022, where we explore seven policy areas and our predictions for the upcoming legislative year (elections, energy and environment, labor and employment, public health, social justice, tax and budgets, and technology).
As states kick off their 2022 legislative sessions, here are some of the main topics we expect lawmakers to explore in the area of elections. This post is part of our series on state policy issues to watch in 2022 (click here to see all issues areas).
Voting and Election Law
Background: The 2020 presidential election took place amid a global pandemic, and many states made efforts to boost mail-in ballot voting over in-person voting to keep electors safe from the spread of COVID-19. After his defeat, President Trump made unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud. In response, Republicans in state legislatures launched election audits that failed to detect the type of voting fraud claimed by the former president and enacted new laws that curtailed many of the accommodations that safeguarded electors during the pandemic. Alternatively, some Democratic controlled states enacted laws to make rules to expand mail-in voting permanent.
Why It's Trending: Major elections will take place in 2020. And after a year of fierce political debate over election laws, state lawmakers will look to make changes to election laws before voters go to the polls in November.
Current Landscape: Lawmakers in Georgia, Florida, and Texas enacted major election laws last year that were widely criticized as limiting ballot access in future elections. Requiring or limiting access to ballot drop boxes was a major issue after the 2020 election saw their widespread use. About two dozen states now have drop box rules on the books. Last year New York, Maine, and Delaware enacted automatic voter registration while California, Nevada, and Vermont switched to all-mail voting.
2022 Outlook: Election laws will be a high profile issue in 2022. Whether state lawmakers are willing to partake in a major election law overall during an election year or will make small tweaks and big rhetoric will be the question moving forward. Expect action early in the session if the former.
Background: Every ten years, states must redraw the district lines for congressional and state legislative seats with long-term political consequences at stake. Traditionally, state legislatures maintain a majority of control over redistricting with input or veto power from the governor. However, over the last two redistricting cycles a trend has emerged that places the power to redraw district lines in the hands of an independent or bipartisan commission.
Why It's Trending: Well, this becomes a trending issue every ten years thanks to the constitutionally mandated census schedule. Like clockwork. And because the decisions made during this process extend for the next ten years, it’s super important.
Current Landscape: Over half the states have completed congressional and state legislative redistricting. The remaining states will complete the process before candidates begin to file paperwork to run in the new districts this spring. MutiState is tracking this activity closely with our State Redistricting Dashboard.
2022 Outlook: Lawmakers and commissions in the states that have not yet completed the redistricting process will need to finish up their work pretty early in the year. But even once a new district map is enacted, the process isn’t quite done. That’s because there are inevitable legal challenges to each set of maps each cycle. The lawsuit will need to work themselves through the legal process, where judges could put new maps on hold, ask states to redraw maps, or take the reins themselves and create judge-drawn maps. Last cycle saw lawsuits over maps drawn in 2011 active until the 2020 election.
This post is part of our series on state policy issues to watch in 2022 (click here to see all issues areas).