Although it was approved on a largely party-line vote in the GOP-controlled House, a bill changing the deadline for Iowa voters to return their absentee ballots likely will be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate. House Democrats were unanimous in opposing House File 506, arguing it that will disenfranchise voters who wait until the end of the 40-day voting period to mail in their ballots. “It’s a sad day in Iowa,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, who said if the law had been in effect in 2014, more than 3,000 votes would not have been counted. “Voters who did what was right. They voted. They did their patriotic duty … and we’re going to tell them their vote doesn’t count.” The final vote was 56-41, with one Republican voting “no.”
Under current law, an absentee ballot is counted if it is received by the county auditor before the polls close Election Day or if it arrives no later than noon on the Monday following the election and is clearly postmarked.
HF 506 would change the deadline to the close of the polls on Election Day — 9 p.m. for general elections in Iowa. Military ballots still would be counted until noon on the day county supervisors canvass the votes.
Auditors sought the bill. The problem, they said, arises because the postal service does not postmark all mail. After each election, auditors have to tell people their ballot will not be counted because it did not arrive with a postmark to verify it was mailed before the election, floor manager Rep. Quentin Stanerson, R-Center Point, said. “They have to tell the voter that although they did everything right, their vote can’t be counted,” he said.
Full Article: Iowa Senate likely to take up absentee voting change.