116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
After one of the most successful elections in Iowa history, lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill that will make it harder for Iowans to vote.
Companion bills quickly advancing through the Iowa House and Senate this week would erect unnecessary barriers to voting absentee by mail and early in-person voting, which are increasingly popular options. Last November, Iowans easily broke our election turnout record with nearly 1.7 million voters, including more than 1 million early voters.
By all credible accounts, the system worked pretty well, but Republican leaders want to mess with success. Proponents seem to have two troubling motivations - a false belief that the 2020 election process was rigged against Donald Trump, and getting revenge against so-called 'rogue auditors” from blue counties.
Facing an election during a pandemic, auditors from Linn County and Johnson County last year sought to make voting easier and safer by bolstering access to mail-in ballots. They sent voters absentee ballot request forms with information already filled in, a move that defied the secretary of state's guidance and drew legal action from the Trump campaign.
Instead of clarifying the law to empower auditors to promote absentee voting, lawmakers are threatening penalties against election workers. It's just one item on a sizable list of new restrictions on voting proposed in the legislation.
In an era of rigid partisan division, it is striking to see Republican county auditors speak out so forcefully against GOP-sponsored legislation. They come from some of the state's most reliable Republican strongholds, and they can clearly see the burdens this would impose on their constituents.
'Every auditor across this state works tirelessly to host elections Iowans can be proud of, and I think in 2020 we overwhelmingly proved that was the case,” Adams County Auditor Rebecca Bissell said during a hearing this week.
Legislative leaders' decision to cram the bill through in a matter of days deprives Iowans of the ability to understand a complicated piece of legislation.
It's a big omnibus bill with many moving parts and lingering questions, a conglomeration of petty policymaking. During legislative proceedings, a few proponents have struggled to answer basic questions about the bill, underscoring how hastily it's being thrown together.
Iowans like early voting. This legislation would make early voting harder.
(319) 398-8262; email@example.com