Iowa Gov Signs Bill Curbing Voting Rights

March 9, 2021 by TWN Staff
FILE- In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference in Johnston, Iowa. Iowa Democrats are beginning to consider changes to their get-out-the-vote plans under the assumption that Reynolds will sign into law a Republican-backed bill that makes it harder to vote early, potentially eroding a key aspect of Democratic campaigns. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday signed into law a Republican-backed bill that makes it harder to vote early, potentially eroding a key aspect of Democratic campaigns.

The  Bill was approved in a party-line vote in the state House last week.

At the time, Republican lawmakers said the bill is needed to guard against voting fraud, thought they routinely conceded their state has no history of election irregularities.

“It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election,” Reynolds said after signing the legislation. “This bill strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot.”

The law shortens the early voting period to 20 days from the current 29, just three years after Republicans reduced the period from 40 days. It also requires most mail ballots to be received by Election Day, rather than counting votes postmarked by Election Day that arrive by noon on the Monday following the election.

Voting sites will close at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m., and county election officials are banned from sending out absentee ballot request forms unless requested. Satellite voting sites also can only be set up if enough voters petition for one, and voters will be removed from active voting lists if they miss a single general election and don’t report a change in address or register as a voter again.

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