Iowa’s top election official doesn’t plan to ask the Legislature for extra money to educate the public about a voter identification requirement that could soon become law, a move that advocacy groups say could impact how many people find out about the change. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate intends to use existing office funds to pay for voter education and outreach in connection to his proposal to require ID at voting polls. His office provided the details in response to a public records request by The Associated Press. “We are not asking for any additional funding for this, because educating and encouraging people to vote is part of the duties this office already conducts,” said Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Pate, in an email Wednesday.
Rita Bettis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said she was troubled by the decision. She also pointed out a voter outreach plan wasn’t included in a draft of the bill.
“This needs to be a sincere, robust, good faith effort, and that’s especially true in a state like Iowa,” Bettis said, noting the state has one of the highest voter participation rates in the country.