The following statement can be attributed to Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director, regarding SF 413.
“This wide-reaching attack on early voting will do a number of things that will make it harder for Iowans to vote:
- Forbids auditors from mailing absentee ballots request forms to voters, unless explicitly asked to.
- Severely restricts anyone other than the individual voter from returning an absentee ballot.
- Reduces the state’s early voting period so it would be one of the shortest in the country. It’s now 29 and would be reduced to 18 days.
- Reduces the period that people can request that an absentee ballot be sent to them.
- Further limits satellite early voting locations.
- Closes polls an hour earlier than currently.
- Reduces the amount of time employers must allow employees time off work to vote from 3 to 2 hours.
- Requires the government to purge people from voter rolls after missing fewer elections than now.
- Concentrates election authority in the hands of the Secretary of State, with no oversight.
Early voting, absentee ballots, satellite voting, and keeping voting booths open longer all make it easier for people to vote. There is absolutely no evidence that these measures encourage any fraud. Meanwhile, study after study does produce evidence that voter fraud is an almost non-existent problem in our country and our state. This legislation is a solution in search of a problem.
It also puts too much power to control elections into the hand of one person—the Iowa Secretary of State.
This legislation also will further limit voting among Iowans who have difficulty in actually physically getting to the polls, especially during a limited time frame. This includes the elderly, people with disabilities, people who can’t drive or don’t have a car, who don’t have good access to public or similar transportation, people who might be penalized by their employer or workplace for taking time to vote, and people who have to care for children or others.
Democracy works best when every qualified voter can vote without these obstacles.”