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Protections Against Election Disinformation

Since the 2020 election and the proliferation of the “Big Lie,” voter confidence in elections has declined sharply and election denialism continues to plague our democracy. In response to these threats, some states have updated their laws to explicitly protect against election related disinformation. Specifically, this type of legislation prohibits the knowing dissemination of false information regarding the time, place and manner of conducting elections, as well as false or misleading information about the qualifications or restrictions related to voter eligibility. These laws generally work by imposing criminal penalties on persons who knowingly violate the disinformation prohibitions, and some states also provide private rights of action for voters to whom the false information is directed, allowing them to seek a court order against the person who communicated the information.
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Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State has a law explicitly protecting against election disinformation (11 states)
  • State does not have a law explicitly protecting against election disinformation (39 states + D.C.)

Breakdown by Population

*Note: These percentages reflect the voting-eligible population, as reported by the United States Election Project.

28%

28 % of the population lives in states that have a law explicitly protecting against election disinformation

72%

72 % of the population lives in states that do not have a law explicitly protecting against election disinformation



Data current as of 04/11/2024
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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