A contentious voter identification plan that is supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats was introduced Wednesday in the Iowa House. House Study Bill 93, labeled the “Election Integrity Act,” has been proposed by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican. Pate said his plan will modernize Iowa’s elections technology by establishing electronic poll books in every Iowa precinct. In addition, the bill calls for establishing a voter ID system with signature verification, absentee ballot verification and post-election audits. … The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has vowed to fight Pate’s bill, calling it a solution in search of a problem.
Articles about voting issues in Iowa.
A key group of election officials plans to oppose legislation proposed by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate that would require voter identification at the polls and make other changes to the state’s election system. The Iowa State Association of County Auditors confirmed Monday that the group voted Friday to register against Pate’s bill. The group also agreed to form a committee that would suggest changes to the bill.
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.
An Iowa House member isn’t doing any favors for his father. Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, who succeeded his father in the Johnson-Cedar County legislative district, is proposing that the state stop collecting voluntary contributions to the state Democratic and Republican parties from Iowa income taxpayers. Kaufmann’s dad, Jeff Kaufmann, is the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “My dad can raise his own money,” the younger Kaufmann said Wednesday after the House Ways and Means Committee approved his plan on a party-line vote. The income tax checkoff doesn’t raise a lot of money — $72,797 in 2016, but it allows Iowans, especially low-income Iowans, to make a contribution toward the political process, Rep. John Forbes, D-Des Moines, said in opposing the bill during the committee meeting.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate stepped right into the middle of a heated debate over voting rights at a time when it is burning brightest. Former President Barack Obama called voter fraud a “fake news” story in his final press conference, while the term “hacking” gets thrown around with abandon after the 2016 election. The debate is happening as some states have ramped up efforts to limit the franchise after parts of the Voting Rights Act were struck down in 2013, and yet others have worked to expand participation. But Pate, a Republican, is hoping — probably in vain, if the early indications are correct — some of the “political nonsense” will die down once people get a good look at his Voter Integrity Act proposal.
With Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Election Integrity Act still in draft stage, Democrats on the House State Government Committee on Thursday complained it was hard to ask questions about his proposal to require all voters to present ID cards before casting their ballots. “We were hoping today to have the bill before us … so we could ask about what it does and about problems and pitfalls,” Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said about the bill still being drafted by the Legislative Services Agency. “Part of the concern and angst we have about opening this up today is there are so many questions we have.”
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate on Thursday defended his new voter identification proposal as an effort to improve administrative efficiency — not to prevent fraud or disqualify voters. And he said he’d oppose any efforts by state lawmakers to expand the plan to include a more controversial photo-ID requirement for voters. “There are many legislators and they have different perspectives, but I’ve tried to encourage them to leave this bill alone, to treat it as what we’ve presented it as and try to keep it as clean as possible,” he said. Pate, a Republican, described his soon-to-be-introduced “Election Integrity Act” in a meeting Thursday with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. The overall effort, he said, is to streamline election administration across the state by bringing electronic voter databases to every precinct in every county of the state.
The student government presidents at Iowa’s three public universities are speaking out against a new proposal to require Iowa voters to show their IDs at the polls. “We know firsthand how difficult it is to get students registered to vote already — with frequent address changes and being introduced to the electoral process for the first time — the last thing students need is another barrier to their participation,” student government leaders at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa said in a statement released Sunday. The joint statement came in response to a plan released last week by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, which calls for requiring voters to present an ID, which could include an Iowa driver’s license, passport or military ID card. College IDs would not be accepted, but Pate’s plan calls for issuing a new free ID to all existing active voters. Signatures would be verified at polling sites.
Iowa voters would be required to present identification at the voting booth under a plan unveiled Thursday by Secretary of State Paul Pate. The proposal by the state’s chief election official, which will be considered in the 2017 Iowa Legislature’s session, is aimed at ensuring the integrity of Iowa’s elections, Pate said. However, Democratic legislators and civil libertarians promised a fight over the issue, raising concerns that new rules could suppress voter turnout. Pate’s plan would require all voters to present an ID, which could include an Iowa driver’s license, passport, or military ID card for all who have them, and issuing a new free ID to all existing active voters. College IDs would not be accepted. Signatures would be verified at polling sites. … State Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, who chaired the Senate State Government Committee last session, issued a statement contending Pate’s plan will disenfranchise older Iowans, younger Iowans and people of color.
Iowa will require voters to show identification at the polls under a bill announced Thursday by the state’s top election official, and Republicans in the new GOP-controlled Legislature have indicated a willingness to pass it. The legislation mirrors voter ID bills introduced in Republican-controlled statehouses around the United States in recent years and comes just weeks after President-elect Donald Trump questioned — with no evidence — the integrity of voting in the presidential election. “We just want to ensure that voters are who they say they are,” Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said in releasing details. Pate’s office said a draft of the bill was not available yet, but included a plan to require Iowa residents to show an Iowa driver’s license, passport or other approved form of ID to vote. The office would distribute free state-issued IDs to existing registered voters, according to Pate, though his office is seeking $1 million to help make that happen.