Capitol Update: Week 7

Voter ID and Absentee Ballot Changes Proposed

Election laws differ from state to state, and are classified into two groups: strict and non-strict. Iowa’s current laws are considered non strict; meaning that some voters without acceptable identification have an option to cast a ballot that will be counted without further action on the part of the voter.

The legislation requires scannable ID of all voters at polling site:  use existing Iowa Driver’s License/passports/military or veteran IDs for all who have them, and a new and free ID to all active voters who don’t have DOT-issued IDs will be provided.

Currently the law requires that absentee ballots can be requested at almost any time.  This causes confusion, and often times those forms are misplaced before the ballot is ready to be sent.   The bill creates an “earliest date to request” for an absentee ballot at 120 days before the election.  The requests would not be filled until the ballots are ready, about 45 days before a general election.

The bill moves the latest date to request an absentee ballot by mail to 10 days before election. This moves the mailed-in request time frame to accommodate current postal office delivery standards. Presently, the deadline is the Friday before the election, making it impossible to get the ballot to and from the voter before the polls close on Election Day.

HSB 93 cancels voter registration of people who swear on jury questionnaire they are not U.S. citizens. Currently, if it is proven that someone who is registered to vote in Iowa is not a citizen of the state or the country, nothing happens to their voter registration status.

News from District 96

The Legislative process is speeding up this week.  There have been subcommittee meetings going on all over the Capitol building.  Legislators are busy reviewing bills for next week’s funnel.

This week I had the opportunity to visit with the Pork Producers as well as President Leath from Iowa State University.  I also had breakfast with both the Co-op Association and the Iowa Truss Manufacturer’s Association.

I spoke with Gary Schwab from the Jones County E911 group.  He and I discussed issues that are important to emergency services.  I appreciate the work of our law enforcement community.

I was excited to be joined in the Capitol on Thursday by multiple student and youth groups who oppose drug abuse.  The Jones County Safe & Healthy Youth Coalition, Maquoketa Valley TEL (Teens Eliminating Lies), and West Delaware TADA (Teens Against Drug Abuse) shared their opposition to drug and alcohol abuse in young people.  I am thankful of their willingness to address these tough issues.

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