Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Signs Voting Restrictions Into Law
Republican-controlled state legislature of Iowa approved a bill with a host of new voting restrictions, and Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
The new Iowa law shortens the state’s early voting period from 29 days to 20. Ballots received after an election’s calendar day will be invalidated, changing the current statute that mail ballots postmarked on election day valid. The legislature’s action means that even if a voter submits their ballot on time, postal delays could invalidate their vote. Voting sites will be required to close at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., and election officials are banned from sending absentee ballot request forms unless requested. Voters will also be removed from active voting lists if they both do not vote in a general election and do not report a change of address or re-register again.
“All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot,” said Reynolds.
Iowa had no instances of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 general election. Indeed, the state had record-high turnout in 2020.
“We don’t have to wait to get people registered to vote. We don’t have to wait to have Democrats talking with their neighbors in rural and metropolitan areas in the state about how these harmful pieces of legislation are being forced through,” said Ross Wilburn, Iowa Democratic Party Chair.
Wilburn warns that laws like the ones passed in Iowa are being floated in several states including Arizona whose Republican state legislature proposed a bill that would allow them to sidestep an election’s popular vote and replace electors with those of their choosing.
“What is unique about this year is the volume of bills we are seeing to restrict voting access and the brazenness of the efforts to go after methods of voting that are historically uncontroversial and popular with voters and clearly make it harder for people to cast ballots,” lawyer at the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program Eliza Sweren-Becker said in a statement in March.
“Democrats and progressives are very, very good at voter engagement, and voter education,” Greg Speed, president of America Votes, said in a statement. “And we will be back, post-pandemic, knocking on doors, talking directly to our voters about how they will be able to safely, securely cast their vote, even as we fight back against all these suppression efforts.”