At the National Level:
– Since the beginning of 2011, 176 bills restricting voting and voter registration in some way have been introduced in 41 states. Over 70% of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the 2012 Presidential election will come from states with new restrictive voting laws.
-Laws requiring photo ID to vote have passed in seven states and such legislation was introduced in 34 states. Before the 2011 legislative session, only two states had ever imposed photo ID requirements.
-Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee passed laws requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down such a law in Arizona in April. Legislation was introduced in at least 12 states to require proof of citizenship to register to vote.
-Florida, Illinois and Texas put severe restrictions on civic groups seeking to register voters. The Florida League of Women Voters suspended its voter registration efforts because of the law, which is being challenged in Federal court.
– Florida eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio also cut back early voting periods.
-Maine abolished Election Day registration but voters approved its reinstatement in a November 2011 ballot initiative.
(Source: Brennan Center for Justice)
-Massachusetts has never passed laws permitting early voting, same-day voter registration or unrestricted absentee ballot voting.
-Several bills to require photo ID to vote were introduced during this legislative session; none has passed.
-Voters in Boylston and Oxford overwhelmingly approved non-binding referendum questions in spring town elections to require proof of citizenship to register and photo ID to vote.
-Latino voters were challenged without cause in an April election in Southbridge
-Last November a group called ShowIDtoVote tried to videotape voters in Lawrence and incorrectly implied voters needed to show a photo ID after similar actions in New Bedford.
-In November, the Department of Justice investigated allegations of voter suppression in Springfield.
-The Massachusetts Attorney General rejected an initiative petition to put a photo ID requirement question on the November 2012 ballot.