Sara Hornick and her husband, Chris, took their children to Southwest Middle School at 8 a.m. Tuesday to showcase the democratic process at work. In the parking lot, a man was shouting. “Turn around. Don’t waste your time. We can’t vote, anyway!” Determined, she continued onward. At the desk where she’d normally verify her registration, a worker told her the electronic device — an e-poll book — wasn’t working. “Any idea when it will be?” she asked. “We have no idea,” the poll worker said, who then suggested she contact the Pennington County auditor. It was a scene taking place at polling places across Rapid City. More than half the voting sites, 16 in all, extended the closing time on Tuesday’s election day to accommodate a late start to ballot-casting thanks to a computer problem: The county-issued Dell Computers that navigated the new e-poll book service were not connecting to the secure hot spots provided by a separate router for each device.
Articles about voting issues in Iowa.
Iowa’s top election official said a campaign appeared to be responsible for texting voters incorrect information about polling places. But Secretary of State Paul Pate wouldn’t identify the campaign, telling reporters Tuesday afternoon there seemed to be “nothing malicious” about the text messages. Voters reported the texts to auditors in Black Hawk, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Winneshiek counties, Pate said. He was unsure how many voters received them. The text messages were sent from a toll-free number, which could not be independently tracked to its source. “I think it’s under control,” Pate said, adding that he wouldn’t comment further until the details were verified.
A Latino civil rights organization and an Iowa State University student filed a lawsuit calling the state’s new voter ID law unconstitutional and particularly burdensome for minority, disabled and elderly voters. The legislation at issue, House File 516, was passed on a party-line vote by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad last year. It made a number of significant changes to the Hawkeye State’s voting laws, including a requirement that voters show a photo ID or an approved substitute ID at the polls, as well as new restrictions on absentee ballots and the elimination of straight-party voting. According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court, HF 516 “severely burdens and abridges Iowans’ fundamental right to vote.”
A civil rights organization and an Iowa State University student is suing Iowa’s secretary of state over a voter ID law they say infringes on Iowans’ ability to fairly cast a ballot. The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and ISU student Taylor Blair announced Wednesday morning that they are filing a lawsuit in Polk County District Court. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who administers Iowa elections, is named as the defendant in a draft of the lawsuit, which did not appear online in the state’s filing system as of Wednesday afternoon. Under the law, Iowans are required to present a valid form of identification when casting a ballot. Those forms include a driver’s license, non-operator’s license, passport, military ID, veteran’s ID or state-issued voter card.
Iowa’s top elections official will form a new working group with the goal of bolstering the cybersecurity around Iowa voting. “With the past presidential election, with the dialogue that came out of that, we’ve had to be much more aggressive (on cybersecurity), but also to share more with you of what we’re doing so the voters have the full confidence in our elections system,” Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said during a Friday news conference during a training session for county auditors at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids. Concern about the security of the nation’s elections has hit a peak since 2016 due to investigations into Russian attempts to affect the 2016 presidential election.
The state’s top elections official says the state’s voting systems are buffeted by cyber attacks. Now Iowa’s secretary of state is launching a new partnership to try and insulate the department. According to Secretary of State Paul Pate, Iowa’s elections website and voter databases are hit by hundreds of thousands of threats on a daily basis. He said the majority of attacks are U.S.-based bots trying to steal personal information for financial gain. But so far Iowa’s voting systems have not been compromised, Pate said. “I’ve assured Iowans and I’ll assure them again today that our system is intact, that it has not been hacked. There are no foreign countries manipulating your votes or accessing your voting information,” he said.
Iowa: ‘Backdoor gerrymandering’ just one of Iowa GOP election-rigging attempts | Des Moines Register’
Iowa prides itself on its clean elections. Our state’s nonpartisan redistricting, which ensures fair treatment for both major parties, is a model for the nation. But that doesn’t mean Iowa is immune from efforts to twist the election process to the advantage of the party in power. Two bills moving in the Iowa Legislature are notable examples. The Iowa Senate last week approved a bill that would put Republicans at the top of the ballot in 98 out of 99 counties for the 2018 general election.
Iowa: Voter ID law rolls out during Polk County sales tax vote, causes confusion | Des Monies Register
James Sasek headed to his polling place Tuesday evening with two goals. He wanted to vote in Polk County’s sales tax election and he wanted to test the effectiveness of Iowa’s new voter ID law. Sasek cast his ballot, but only after 10 minutes of negotiating with poll workers who were unsure how to handle a voter unable or unwilling to present identification, he said. Polk County’s sales tax vote Tuesday was the “soft rollout” of the state’s voter ID law that will eventually require Iowans to present an accepted form of identification before casting a ballot. The law does not go into effect until 2019, but county auditors are testing the system this year. Voters on Tuesday were asked to present an ID. Those who could not were supposed to sign an oath verifying their identity and receive a regular ballot.
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.
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.”