Articles about voting issues in Iowa.

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. Read More

Iowa: Contentious voter ID bill gets final OK; heads to Branstad | Des Moines Register

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. Read More

Iowa: Democrats question GOP’s spending on voter ID | The Gazette

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. Read More

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. Read More

Iowa: Political back-and-forth continues on voter ID bill at Iowa Capitol | Des Moines Register

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. Read More

Iowa: Secretary Of State’s Office Released Statistics That Its Own Staff Objected To | The Huffington Post

In an effort to highlight voter irregularities and push for stricter voting laws, Iowa’s top election official pushed statistics on alleged voter fraud that even a member of his own staff privately suggested were misleading, emails obtained by the Huffington Post reveal. This past January, Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) introduced a bill that required those who wanted to cast a ballot to show official identification, eliminated straight party voting, and established post election audits of the vote. This effort was part of a nationwide push by Republicans to enforce voter ID laws, even though voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. And to sell the measure, his office did what other Republicans have as well: it argued that while there’s been no evidence of voter fraud in Iowa, elections are insecure and could potentially be cheated. Read More

Iowa: Voter ID bill gets Iowa Senate OK after contentious debate | Des Moines Register

Iowa voters would need to provide government-issued identification at the polls under an election bill approved Thursday by the Iowa Senate. House File 516, which was initiated by Secretary of State Paul Pate, passed on a 26-21 vote after a contentious debate. All Republicans supported the bill, and all Democrats and one independent were opposed. The bill returns to the House because it was amended by the Senate. The legislation is aimed at making sweeping changes to the state’s election laws that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and prevent fraud. … Democrats called the legislation a “voter suppression bill” intended to help Republicans win elections by reducing voter participation by minorities, older people and people with disabilities.  Read More

Iowa: House GOP passes voter ID bill, sends to Senate | Associated Press

The Republican-controlled House on Thursday approved a voter identification bill, despite criticism from Democrats that the measure would suppress voter turnout among minorities, the elderly and the disabled. The bill by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate would make several changes to Iowa’s elections system, though most attention has been on a requirement that voters show approved ID at the polls. The measure is opposed by advocates for easier voting requirements such as the League of Women Voters of Iowa and elections officials including the Iowa State Association of County Auditors. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states had laws in 2016 requesting or requiring voters to show identification at the polls. Read More

Iowa: House approves voter ID bill following 12 hours of debate | Des Moines Register

Iowa would become one of 34 states that have enacted laws requesting or requiring some form of identification on Election Day under a bill approved by the Iowa House Thursday. House File 516 was approved on a party-line vote after nearly 12 hours of debate that spanned two days. It now advances to the Senate where a Republican majority also is expected to advance the legislation. Secretary of State Paul Pate, who submitted the bill, immediately praised its passage. … Democrats took to the floor Wednesday and Thursday in an effort to convince Republicans the legislation is unnecessary, expensive and would have a disproportionate and negative effect on minorities, the elderly, the disabled and others. Read More

Iowa: Auditors question cost of state voter ID bill | Associated Press

Legislation that would require Iowa voters to show identification at the polls doesn’t have enough money committed to it and will burden local governments, according to top Iowa elections officials. The concern from some members of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors came as the Republican-controlled House had formal debate yesterday over Secretary of State Paul Pate’s voter ID bill. Some Democrats argued the proposal would suppress voter turnout, while one GOP lawmaker compared future voting under the proposed bill to checking out from an express lane at the grocery store. As lawmakers argued over the legislation, county auditors at the Capitol earlier in the day questioned the available funding. The bill doesn’t have a formal price tag, though the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, using details provided by Pate’s staff, estimated the measure has a one-time fiscal impact of roughly $200,000 for the secretary of state’s office. That includes $85,000 for state-issued IDs for people without Iowa driver’s licenses. Read More