Iowa’s top election official threw his support Wednesday behind GOP changes to his voter identification bill, after Republicans reversed course on plans to reduce early voting and polling hours in the state. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate initially declined to comment on whether he backed an amendment in the House that was briefly attached to his voter ID bill. It proposed reducing the number of early voting days in primary and general elections from 40 days to 29 days. It also would have cut polling hours for those elections from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m. Iowa currently has one of the longest early voting periods in the country, and Pate had not planned to change that distinction with his original version of the bill.
Pate released a statement Wednesday noting the proposed reductions had been dropped and added, “the bill in its current form has my full support.”
The changes to early voting and polling hours had been introduced by Marion Republican Rep. Ken Rizer, chairman for the House State Government Committee. The amendment was publicized Monday and formally dropped a day later.
Rizer said he had stronger support for other proposed changes without the provisions on early voting and polling hours. His remaining changes include a plan to eliminate the option of voting straight party with a single mark on a ballot.