Excerpt from Rep. Bruce Hunter’s newsletter:
On March 5, voters will be deciding whether or not to raise the sales tax in Des Moines from six cents to seven cents. I am not writing to urge you to vote one way or another on this issue. I am writing to urge you to vote.
And to bring the proper ID.
March 5 will be the first election in which you will be required to show an ID in order to vote. According to the Secretary of State’s office, the following are acceptable forms of ID:
• Iowa Driver’s License
• Iowa Non-Operator’s ID
• Military ID
• U.S. Passport
• Tribal ID
• Veteran’s ID
• Voter ID Card
We, of course, are requiring ID’s to be shown before one is allowed to vote because we need to crack down on the terrible problem of voter fraud.
Secretary of State Pate seems serious about cracking down on the problem:
According to Secretary Pate, “We take extreme measures to send a strong message that we are not going to put up with voter fraud. We have a lot of precautions put in place, whether it’s IT type things or whether it’s human protection. That’s a part of what we do every day. Transparency is that voters can see it and be confident and successful in voting.”
Count me in. Because voter fraud is such a huge problem that in Iowa between 2008 and 2018 there were approximately 8 million votes cast in statewide elections. Of the 8 million votes that were cast, the number of cases of voter fraud reached…1. Not 1,000. Not 100. 1.
Here’s what that number looks like as a percentage of votes cast. .0000125%. 12.5 one hundred thousandths of a percent. This would normally be called a solution without a problem, but it’s not. Republicans are actually seeking a solution to a different problem.
Republicans have a hard time getting certain people to vote for them. So life would be a lot easier if certain people just weren’t allowed to vote at all. So we see Voter ID laws. We see rules making it harder to vote by absentee ballots. We have disenfranchised approximately 1200 people across the state because we don’t like the type of barcode on the return envelope. We are now looking at closing the voting polls early and making it harder for certain people to run for office.
All done to make it harder for certain people to vote.
And why would they do that? They do that because in the 2018 general election, House Democrats received approximately 87,000 more total votes than House Republicans.
Even worse, in polling done from November 6-7, 2018:
- 61 percent said corporations and the wealthiest people should pay more in taxes.
- 57 percent said they’d rather see their tax dollars used to adequately fund public services than decrease a few hundred dollars every year
- 75 percent favor some increase in the minimum wage
- On Medicaid privatization, 55 percent of Iowans agreed the state should resume running health insurance services for the poor
- 71 percent of Iowans want to require background checks for private gun sales.
And 54 percent favor restoring government funding to Planned Parenthood for women’s health services.
This is bad news for the Republican agenda.
So rather than adjust their programs, Republicans have decided to make it harder for people who oppose their agenda to vote.
It’s not surprising all 33 voter ID laws were proposed by Republican legislators, and passed by Republican controlled statehouses. And signed into law by Republican governors. All to make it harder for certain people to vote.
It is now time to try to find the solution to still another problem – making democracy work.
It’s time to tell the estimated 85,000 people who don’t have government issued voter ID’s in Iowa and may be disenfranchised from voting during the next election that democracy triumphs over politics.
It’s time to tell the estimated 1200 people who legally cast an absentee ballot but were disenfranchised that their vote will count.
It’s time to tell the hundreds of voters who choose to vote between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM that the polls will be open.
It’s time to enact automatic voter registration, to restore the right to vote to felons, to expand absentee voting and to make democracy work.
And it’s time to vote on March 5.