Iowa is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to elections and the Republican-controlled House State Government Committee approved an Election Modernization and Integrity Act its sponsor said will make it even better. The committee, which convened briefly at 3 p.m. Tuesday but didn’t begin discussion until after 7:30 p.m., continued debating past 11 p.m. whether the bill would, as Chairman Ken Rizer, R-Cedar Rapids, said, “make it easier to vote, harder to cheat and nobody will be turned away.” In the end, the committee voted 14-9 along party lines to approve the bill, making it eligible for consideration by the full House.
By requiring the use of 21st Century technology such as e-pollbooks, currently used by 72 of the state’s 99 counties, House Study Bill 93 “will make Iowa elections more efficient, more voter friendly and more secure,” he said. Voting will be “as easy as going through the express line at Hy-Vee,” Rizer said.
Not quite, argued Rep. Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, who said HSB 93 “makes huge changes” that would make voting cumbersome and disenfranchise the elderly, disabled and minorities.
“I cannot in good conscience support the amendment,” she said, referring to changes Rizer offered Tuesday. His amendment would require the Secretary of State to create a public education program, a training program for pollworkers and eliminates straight party voting. It also dropped a change in poll hours and changes in the absentee voting window and the early voting windows from an amendment considered earlier.