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.
Statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union and others show that minorities are less likely to have government-issued ID cards. That has, in part, led some courts to decide strict photo ID laws are discriminatory, and those laws have been struck down in some states.
“The partisan bias of this bill is clear. That is reprehensible,” Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, told Republican lawmakers. “We know why you are doing this bill. Shame on all of those who support it.”
Democrats insisted that election reforms are not needed. They pointed to a statement by Pate after November’s election in which he declared that Iowa has “one of the cleanest, best election systems in the country.”
Full Article: Voter ID bill gets Iowa Senate OK after contentious debate.