Bill restricting early voting waiting for Gov. Reynolds’ signature

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — A bill sits on Gov. Kim Reynold’s desk that would restrict how long Iowans have to vote by mail, how long polls are open, and the role county auditors have in the process.

Senate File 413 would cut Iowa’s early voting period from 29 days to 20 as well as, reduce the absentee request period from 120 days to 70.

Woodbury County Commissioner of Elections Pat Gill said this will complicate early voting.

“Obviously what’s going to occur is that people are going to have to wait in line longer at satellite sights if that’s the way they want to do it,” Gill said. “That was the way- or the choice of a lot of voters that wanted to vote early.”

The bill also puts restrictions on how county auditors mail out absentee ballot applications and they could face criminal charges if they violate state guidelines.

“The people that are really going to hurt are folks that are not affiliated with a party that I used to send request forms to.”

Local Democratic Rep. Chris Hall said the bill could make it harder for Iowans to vote.

“I think this bill takes our state backward and it moves Iowa in the wrong direction,” Hall said. “Every voter should have the freedom to cast their vote and know it’s been counted and this bill is, unfortunately, going to create a lot of barriers for seniors, for individuals with disabilities, and for people who are just working and might have a harder time getting to the polls now.”

Republican Sen. Jim Carlin said the bill is needed to protect our elections.

“These things were done to address any possibility of voter fraud. We were concerned about how the last election was handled and we’re concerned that fraud may have been incentivized by not doing anything, so this is what we did in response to that.”

In the 2020 election, a record-breaking 1.7 million Iowans voted, with more than a million Iowans voting by mail.

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