116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
All last year and continuing this year there has been a constant drum beat in our nation to 'Stop the steal!” The drum beat continues after over 60 lawsuits have been withdrawn, declined to be taken up by the courts or dismissed. Judges in multiple states and representing multiple political parties from district courts to the Supreme Court have found no basis in the claims that there was any fraudulent activity associated with any election. Some federal judges delivered searing rebukes about the content and nature of the suits that were filed.
Multiple recounts in multiple states, multiple investigations by local, state and regional authorities have found no substance to support the assertion made by Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, and other Iowa legislators that we need election reform in Iowa because 'it addresses the controversy that the country is going through right now.” The 'controversy” is based on speculation, innuendo, rumors and social media posts. No proof, only the thump, thump, thump of unproven theories.
Using these unproven and debunked claims about 'shady dealing across the country” the Iowa Legislature now feels compelled to fix a problem that does not exist. The legislation that is being rushed through would:
' Reduce the number of days in the early voting period.
' Stop county auditors from sending out absentee ballots until mid-October.
' Limit when auditors can send absentee ballot request forms.
' Bar anyone from returning an absentee ballot other than the voter or an immediate family member or care giver.
' Allow only one drop box for early ballots per county and that drop box must be outside the county auditor's office.
' Make it more difficult for auditors to establish satellite voting locations.
' Require the state attorney general to investigate all allegations of voter fraud presented.
In the last election cycle our state had the largest turnout in history - 1.7 million voters participated, which represents a 76 percent turnout with no 'controversy” reported. Iowans were provided multiple mechanisms to cast their ballots. Over 1 million people voted absentee by returning ballots through the mail, dropping them off or filling them out at early voting sites
Every citizen in Iowa has the right and obligation to vote. This is one of the most critical foundations of our democracy. Our representatives in the Legislature should be proud of the turnout in the last election and looking for ways to make it even easier for Iowan's to fulfill this obligation in upcoming elections. Clearly this legislation is specifically intended to reduce the number of voters that participate in future elections. If passed, it will have the effect of disenfranchising voters in our state by imposing obstacles to methods that provide maximum
This legislation is being fast tracked through both the House and Senate with the possibility of being on Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk by the weekend.
Iowans should contact their senators and representatives and advise them to gather additional input, do further analysis and make sure that these changes are in the best interest of all Iowans.
Bob Eckles lives in Cedar Rapids and is a retired consultant and mediator.