Articles about voting issues in Iowa.

Iowa: Bipartisan Bill Would Restore Voting Rights for Iowa Felons | Iowa Public Radio

A bipartisan bill that would restore voting rights to Iowa felons who have completed their criminal sentences moved forward Monday in the Iowa House. Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Chariton, co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton. They both agreed to move the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee. “I agree there should be a process as far as for allowing folks who have served their time, who have paid their restitution, for nonviolent felons to be reintegrated back into society, to give them a second chance, to reenfranchise them as far as their voice at the voting booth,” Heartsill says. Read More

Iowa: In major reform, 2020 Iowa caucuses would include absentee voting, public vote totals | Des Moines Register

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential caucuses would break with decades of tradition in 2020 by allowing voters to cast absentee ballots and then releasing the raw total of votes won by each candidate. A Democratic National Committee panel known as the Unity Reform Commission set those changes into motion during a meeting here on Saturday, clearing the way for perhaps the most significant changes to the Iowa caucuses since they emerged as a key step in the presidential nominating process five decades ago. “There’s never been an absentee process. We’ve never released raw vote totals,” said Scott Brennan, a Des Moines attorney who serves on the DNC. “Those would seem to be pretty darn big changes.” Read More

Iowa: Secretary of State to mail 123,000 new voter ID cards this week | Des Moines Register

Iowans should be on the lookout this week for new voter identification cards, the Secretary of State’s office announced Monday. The office tasked with overseeing Iowa’s elections said roughly 123,000 cards will be mailed out as part of its efforts to implement a new voter identification law passed earlier this year by the Iowa Legislature. That law will require Iowans to show a valid form of ID at the ballot box beginning with the 2019 elections. “It should be easy to vote, but hard to cheat, and that’s what this new law ensures,” Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement. Read More

Iowa: Thousands of IDs going out under new voting law | Sioux City Journal

As Iowa’s controversial voter identification law is poised to start taking effect, Secretary of State Paul Pate said Monday his office plans to begin mailing ID cards this month to about 123,000 registered voters who do not already have a valid Iowa driver’s license or state identification card. The cards are free and will be sent automatically to roughly 6 percent of Iowa’s registered voters. Pate, who serves as the state’s elections commissioner, said the process is designed to ensure all registered voters in Iowa have an identification card to use when voting, starting with the 2018 elections. Read More

Iowa: Proposed rules for implementing Iowa’s voter verification law | Radio Iowa

Two dozen Iowans testified at a public hearing Monday afternoon, offering both praise and criticism for proposed rules to implement Iowa’s new voter verification law. Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP, said she’s worried the rules will make it harder for groups like hers to register new voters. “I have great concern about that,” Andrews said. One proposed rule will remove people from voter registration rolls if they’ve been called to jury duty, but notified the court that they couldn’t serve because they are not a citizen. Connie Schmett of Clive, a long-time GOP activist, praised the move. “We simply can’t allow our laws and our elections to be tainted,” Schmett said. Read More

Iowa: Secretary of State’s office considers proposals to implement new voter ID law | Des Moines Register

Iowans filled a cramped conference room at the Lucas State Office Building on Monday to offer both praise and criticism of the state’s new voter identification laws as the Secretary of State works to begin implementing the changes. Then-Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill into law in May, enacting a new requirement that every voter present government-issued identification at the polls on Election Day. Monday’s public hearing was intended to give Iowans a chance to discuss the rules governing how the law will be implemented. “The bill is the law now,” said Daniel Zeno with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. “The goal of the rules, we believe, should be to make sure it’s crystal clear so that voter registration organizations, same-day registrants, pre-registered voters all know what the rules are and that we’re protecting the voting rights of all Iowans.” The law, for example, says a voter’s registration will be canceled if that person submits a notice declining to serve on a jury because he or she is not a legal citizen. Read More

Iowa: Secretary of State seeks upgrades to battle attempted hackers | Des Moines Register

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says the integrity of the state’s elections system remains intact, although he acknowledges it’s been repeatedly attacked by outsiders who have included would-be hackers from Russia. “On a regular basis, we have bad actors who attempt to breach our system. Hundreds of thousands every single day … and we deflect them so that they are not successful,” Pate said. “To be a hacker, they have to actually get into the system. We have not been hacked. The Russians have not hacked us.” But Pate, a Republican who is Iowa’s chief elections official, confirmed to The Des Moines Register this week that he intends to ask the Iowa Legislature in 2018 for additional money for technology upgrades to the state’s elections system. The cost won’t be in the millions of dollars, but it will be significant, he added. “We have to stay ahead of the curve here. We need to make sure we are head of the bad guys before they come,” Pate said. Read More

Iowa: Groups express concern about rules for voter ID law | Associated Press

Proposed rules for Iowa’s new voter identification law will add unnecessary complications that could make it harder for people to vote, according to several voting advocacy groups. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the League of Women Voters of Iowa and six other groups offered a joint statement on the proposed administrative rules as part of a public comment period. They believe the rules could hurt people of color, low-income individuals, the elderly and the disabled. “We know that when it’s harder and more complicated for people to vote, that essentially disenfranchises them,” said Daniel Zeno, policy council for ACLU of Iowa. Read More

Iowa: Cybersecurity firm to review Linn County election system | The Gazette

The Linn County election commissioner has retained a Corridor-based cybersecurity firm to review the county’s voter registration and election system. Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said the review of the system by ProCircular will support the countywide school board elections Sept. 12. “This is a continuation of our efforts to improve the integrity of the voting process to ensure that our systems and records are secure, and that every vote is accurately counted,” Miller said. He also cited a “sense of urgency” because of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent declaration that voting systems are considered “critical infrastructure.” Read More