The Iowa Senate gave final approval Thursday to contentious legislation that will require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls and will reduce the time period for early voting. House File 516 passed on a 28-21 vote with Republicans casting all the yes votes. Democrats and one independent all voted no. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign it. The measure had previously passed the Senate, but a second vote was needed on Thursday because of several amendments approved by the House. There was only brief debate Thursday, but Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, strongly objected to one amended provision. The change pushes back the date for allowing 17-year-old Iowans to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election. The change will now take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, instead of being available for the 2018 election. “This change goes hand in hand with a voter suppression bill,” Bisignano said.
… Democrats have denounced the bill, calling it an effort to suppress voter turnout by minorities, older people and the disabled. Statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union and others show that minorities are less likely to have government-issued ID cards. That has, in part, led some courts to decide strict photo ID laws are discriminatory, and those laws have been struck down in numerous states.
One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, issued a statement criticizing the legislation.
“If this bill becomes law, it will disenfranchise many Iowa voters who may be members of the LGBTQ community like people of color, people with disabilities, elderly people, and others in a misguided attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, One Iowa’s executive director. “Transgender Iowans will face unique challenges at the polls due to how difficult obtaining identity documents that accurately reflect their name and gender can be.”