In response to an open-records request, Secretary of State Paul Pate has turned over the “sum total” of correspondence between his office and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — two emails. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa requested the correspondence as part of its nationwide effort to gather all communications between the commission and state election officials. ACLU could have made a “simple inquiry” rather than go through the public records request process, Pate said. He suggested ACLU’s intent was “not to obtain information, but to receive media coverage.” ACLU of Iowa rejected that criticism, but Executive Director Mark Stringer said the organization is satisfied with Pate’s response.
Articles about voting issues in Iowa.
An Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Donald Trump last fall has pleaded guilty to election misconduct. Court records show Terri Lynn Rote entered a plea on 27 June to the felony charge and a district court judge in Des Moines accepted the plea. Sentencing is set for 15 August. Rote, who is 56 and lives in Des Moines, told police she turned in two absentee ballots before the November election because she believed Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election was rigged and that her first ballot would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton. She was arrested on 21 October at a satellite voting station in Des Moines attempting to vote the second ballot.
Some minor changes to Iowa election laws will go into effect July 1, while major changes to the election laws will be occurring in the next two years. Among the minor changes, voters not registered to vote in the precinct where they live will need to provide proof of residence, as well as identification, when they vote at the polling place. “This will be the last year that people vote for their school board in September. They vote for school board every two years in the odd years. In 2019, when voters vote for city council they will also be electing their school board. Which means everyone in the county in November 2019 whether rural or city will be able to cast a ballot,” Clay County Auditor Marjorie Pitts said. “If you live in a city you will have both city council and school board members on your ballot. To me this is a pretty significant change.”
Iowa voters soon will need to show identification at the polls under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad. The measure overhauls Iowa’s election laws through a series of changes that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and to prevent fraud, but which Democrats and others argue will suppress votes by creating barriers for the poor, elderly, people with disabilities and minorities. “Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important,” Branstad said at a public bill signing Friday. “And we’re very proud that Iowa has a tradition and history of doing so, and this is going to strengthen our ability and make it more effective and efficient.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued a formal opinion Monday that if a governor resigns, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for all intents and purposes, but does not have legal authority to appoint a new lieutenant governor. Sen. David Johnson, I-Ocheyedan, requested the opinion following Governor Terry Branstad’s announcement that, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will serve as U.S. ambassador to China, according to a release. “The lieutenant governor takes on this authority because she is lieutenant governor,” Miller wrote in his opinion. “In other words, upon a governor’s resignation, the lieutenant governor will hold both the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.” … Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate disagrees.
Iowa: Minutemen’s support for Voter ID bill reinforces voter-suppression concerns | Des Moines Register
Of the 54 groups that registered a lobbyist’s opinion on a bill tightening voting requirements in Iowa, only one expressed support: the Iowa Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. The national Minutemen corps has a storied history for its anti-immigrant, and in the view of civil right groups, white-supremacist positions. In earlier times, it took a vigilante approach to patrolling the border and nabbing undocumented immigrants. Lately it has focused on rhetoric and advocacy, and tipping off law enforcement on where to look for the undocumented. Though individual chapters remain, the national corps seems to have disbanded after its president in 2010 called on members to “return to the border locked, loaded and ready to stop each and every individual we encounter along the frontier,” and then she thought better of it.
The Iowa Senate gave final approval Thursday to contentious legislation that will require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls and will reduce the time period for early voting. House File 516 passed on a 28-21 vote with Republicans casting all the yes votes. Democrats and one independent all voted no. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign it. The measure had previously passed the Senate, but a second vote was needed on Thursday because of several amendments approved by the House. There was only brief debate Thursday, but Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, strongly objected to one amended provision. The change pushes back the date for allowing 17-year-old Iowans to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election. The change will now take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, instead of being available for the 2018 election. “This change goes hand in hand with a voter suppression bill,” Bisignano said.
After debating a voter ID bill for more than five hours Monday, Rep. Bruce Hunter wasn’t about to ignore its $700,000 cost. Hunter, D-Des Moines, challenged the line item in the Secretary of State’s budget during a meeting Tuesday of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee. He challenged any committee member to explain why the money was needed to implement House File 516, which is awaiting final approval in the Senate. Hunter and fellow Democrats repeatedly asked majority Republicans what problem they were trying to solve. There have been few problems with voter fraud and impersonation, “but we give them $700,000 to chase Don Quixote,” Hunter said. “Given the cuts in other departments, it is unconscionable to put in $700,000 for a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.
Iowa: Budget includes funding for voter ID initiative, cuts for other programs | Des Moines Register
Legislative Republicans unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that includes nearly $650,000 to implement a new voter ID initiative but makes $1.4 million in cuts to other departments and programs. Republicans said they were glad to support the Secretary of State’s voter identification plan, but Democrats were immediately critical that it would come at the expense of other programs such as the Iowa Public Information Board and the Child Advocacy Board. “Given the cuts of every other department, this is unconscionable that we would put $700,000 into a problem that doesn’t exist when we have other problems that do exist and we’re cutting those departments,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. The proposal would provide about $47.4 million in funding to administration and regulation services. It’s part of the state’s overall $7.245 billion spending plan, which includes cuts to nearly every area of the state budget.
A bill that would enact voter identification requirements continues to inch forward in the Iowa Legislature as lawmakers make a final push to close out the session. The Iowa House debated House File 516 into the night Monday. The legislation would make significant changes to the state’s election laws that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and prevent fraud. But Democrats contend the measure is about “voter suppression,” and they offered an amendment that would have vastly expanded the types of accepted identification to include things like student IDs, tribal IDs, Medicare cards and hunting licenses. The amendment was voted down by the House’s Republican majority.