A bill requiring Iowans to show identification at the polls was approved by a panel of legislators Monday amid concerns the requirements could restrict access to voting. House Study Bill 93 would make a number of election-related changes that Secretary of State Paul Pate says are needed to ensure the integrity of Iowa’s election processes and prevent fraud. Among them is provision that would require every voter to present valid government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or military ID. “We don’t have a voter fraud issue in the state of Iowa,” said Connie Ryan, a lobbyist with the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund. “And it makes no sense to put in provisions that would actually limit people’s ability to vote.” According to an Associated Press report, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office was notified of 10 potentially improper votes cast out of 1.6 million counted statewide in the most recent elections. But the proposal remains popular. According to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll conducted earlier this month, 69 percent of respondents said they support requiring an ID to vote. And although the plan is most popular among Republicans, with 88 percent saying they support mandatory voter ID, 48 percent of Democrats also said they think voters should have identification.
The proposed legislation requires the Secretary of State’s office to compare lists of newly registered voters against the state Department of Transportation’s list of Iowans who have a driver’s license or non-operator’s identification cards. Those who register but do not already have a state-issued ID card through the Department of Transportation automatically would receive a free one in the mail.
That card, under an amendment Rep. Ken Rizer, R-Cedar Rapids, presented Monday, would act both as a voter registration card and a qualifying voter ID card. It would include the voter’s signature, a unique identification number and a bar code that could be scanned. Military or veterans ID cards also would be accepted, but student identification cards from colleges and universities would not.
Full Article: Voter ID legislation advances in Iowa House.