The Iowa Senate Tuesday night rejected a Republican-sponsored amendment to require Iowa voters to show a photo identification when they are voting. The effort failed on a 26-24 vote with Democrats against and Republicans in support. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, proposed the amendment to the so-called standings bill, one of the final appropriations bills usually approved as adjournment nears. She suggested that if someone doesn’t have a voter ID, her measure would allow another voter with a photo ID to vouch for them at the polls.
Articles about voting issues in Iowa.
Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz announced today that voters in Tuesday’s City of Dixon special election will have the option to scan their state issued IDs to help check in at the polling place. This is part of Iowa Express Voter, a new electronic poll book program developed by the Iowa Secretary of State. Precinct election officials presiding over the upcoming City of Dixon Special Election will be the first in Iowa to use this new program.
“We are pleased that Scott County will be the first to use Iowa Voter Express in a live election environment,” Moritz said. “My staff and staff from Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s office have worked together to fine tune this new program. It has been a good example of intergovernmental cooperation, and will result in a good product that is easy to use,” Moritz said.
Two civil rights groups have sued Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz to halt a new state rule allowing people to be removed from voter registration lists if their citizenship is questioned. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens filed the lawsuit Friday in Polk County District Court. The document asks a judge to find the rule, which took effect Wednesday, illegal and issue a court order that prevents its implementation. Schultz, a Republican, has said the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, an issue he’s championed since taking office in 2011. Critics have called the rule a witch hunt, voter suppression and “a solution in search of a problem.”
A new rule that allows election officials to remove people from voter registration lists if their citizenship is questioned took effect Wednesday. The rule was backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican. He says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he’s made his key issue since taking office in 2011. But critics have challenged him calling the rule a witch hunt, voter suppression, and a solution in search of a problem. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has been fighting Schultz in court to stop the rule and plans to launch a new legal challenge now that the rule has taken effect. The group says Schultz does not have the authority under Iowa law to enact the rule and that it will erroneously deprive qualified citizens of Iowa their right to vote.
Charges have been dismissed against three Council Bluffs residents accused of election misconduct for registering to vote without U.S. citizenship, though the charges could be refiled at a later date, prosecutors said Monday. A Canadian couple and a woman originally from Mexico were charged with election misconduct and fraudulent practice in September. Prosecutors alleged they registered to vote without being U.S. citizens, but the three individuals, who were legally living in the U.S., said they were unaware they had done anything wrong. Prosecutors dismissed the charges because a key witness, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent looking into the cases, has been called to active military duty and unable to testify. Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber confirmed Monday that the charges could be refiled at a later date.
A proposal to require Iowa voters to show a photo ID at the polls has become a hot-button issue. Supporters argue it’s necessary to eliminate voting fraud. Opponents say it would hurt certain groups, like the elderly, who may no longer have a photo ID such as a driver’s license. A bill that just passed out of a House committee could be a compromise of sorts. The bill, HF 485, would allow residents in health care facilities and hospitals who can’t provide a photo ID to sign an affidavit to that effect and have a witness verifying the voter’s identity. “You can sign an affidavit indicating that you don’t have proof of ID and someone who knows you can sign it also,” said Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs. “It requires a witness.” The bill was recently approved by the House State Government Committee on a party-line vote and is now eligible for floor debate.
A controversial voting rule targeting immigrants without U.S. citizenship will take effect this month after a state oversight committee failed to stop it Friday, but activists are threating an immediate court fight. The rule, proposed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, establishes a way to remove from voter registration lists an individual whose citizenship is questioned. The Republican says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he’s made his key issue, but opponents say the rule intimidates immigrants who are citizens. The Administrative Rules Review Committee voted 5-5 along party lines on a motion to object to the rule. But since the objection needed six votes to pass, the rule will automatically take effect March 27. The legislative panel oversees state government agency rules and is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Schultz first proposed the change just a few weeks before November’s general election, but a Polk County judge blocked it after a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. The ACLU said Friday it would do the same on the day the new rule takes effect.
House Republicans moved forward Thursday with a proposal that would require Iowa voters to show photo identification at polling places. Lawmakers in the House State Government Committee approved the legislation in a 12-8 vote split along party lines. The measure is backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has filed identical bills in the House and Senate. Schultz, a Republican, has made voter ID one of his key issues. GOP lawmakers largely support him, saying identification is needed to prevent fraud. Democrats say there is little fraud and say Republicans want to discourage voting by minorities and the elderly, who may not have the required documents.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz weathered a storm of questions from Democratic legislators, but his answers did little to satisfy his critics. Schultz sought to convince the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee Feb. 14 that his office has learned from an election night computer crash that delayed results, creating what one lawmaker called a “national embarrassment.” “We did run into a blip with election night reporting. That won’t happen again,” Schultz said. Not everyone shared his confidence. Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, questioned the technology fixes Schultz talked about as well as the first-term Republican’s ability to manage the office. “I left today with more questions than I got answers,” Danielson said.
Speakers at a legislative hearing criticized a bill backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz that would require voters to show photo identification at polling places. Schultz has filed identical bills in the House and Senate, and Tuesday’s House hearing was the first time this session lawmakers have taken testimony on the proposal. Members of the Iowa League of Women Voters told lawmakers that a photo ID requirement would disenfranchise voters who don’t have required documents. They also say the rules could slow vote-counting.