Two Republican-sponsored bills have recently appeared in the Iowa House of Representatives. One would require voters to show a photo ID when voting. The second would eliminate the straight-party voting option from the ballot. Neither bill has made it to the Senate floor yet. “It’s something that may or may not get on the Senate floor in the first place,” said Mack Shelley, professor of political science, about the voter ID bill. The bill would require a state-issued or student ID to vote. This makes it less restrictive than other states’ voter ID laws as student IDs are usually not accepted.“It’s one of those things that tend to divide the parties. When we’re thinking about access to the ballots and ease of voting, there’s a trade-off between seeking out fraud and making sure all of the eligible voters can vote and on the other side, making sure all eligible voters who want to vote can vote,” said David Peterson, professor of political science.
Peterson added that the Republicans emphasize breaking up fraud, and the Democrats emphasize access to a ballot. “It’s definitely not helpful in terms of political participation, like voting, to establish extra hurdles that you don’t have to jump over now,” Shelley said. “As it is now, you can pretty much show up on election day, and if you can legitimately claim Iowa residence, that’s all it takes.”