Iowa governor signs law restricting voting access
© WikiMedia (Joe Mabel)
Iowa governor signs law restricting voting access

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law Monday legislation that makes it more difficult to vote early, among other voting process changes.

Formerly under Iowa law, the early voting period was 29 days. Mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day and arrive by noon on the Monday following the election in order to be counted. County election officials could send out absentee ballot request forms without the forms actually be requested, and voting sites closed at 9 PM.

SF 413 shortens the early voting period to 20 days, and most mail ballots must now be received by Election Day. The law also changes voting site hours, which will close at 8 PM instead of 9 PM. County election officials will only be allowed to send out absentee ballot request forms when they are actually requested, and satellite voting sites can only be set up if voters petition for one. Finally, voters will be removed from active voting lists if they miss a single general election and do not report a change in address or register as a voter again.

The bill had been passed by the Iowa Senate by a vote of 30 to 18, with most support coming from the Republicans. The bill passed the Iowa House by a vote of 57 to 37, similarly with the most support from Republicans.

On signing the bill into law, Reynolds stated:

It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election. This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot.

Reynolds signed a total of 17 bills into law on Monday.