Heritage put together Election Integrity Scorecards for each state in America. It is a valuable resource at a time many Iowans — and Americans — have concerns with voting laws and recent election results.
“The current election system is plagued with vulnerabilities that make election fraud easy to commit and hard to catch,” Heritage VP Andrew McIndoe wrote. “Not only does fraud diminish voters’ say in their government, but it also diminishes their faith in the integrity of the electoral process.”
The Heritage Foundation is working to advance reforms by providing model legislation to stop voter fraud and ensure free and fair elections.
The top state? Tennessee.
The worst state? Hawaii
Iowa ranks tied for 13th with a score of 70 out of 100.
Where is Iowa docked?
Iowa scores 18/20 on Voter ID implementation. It loses points for allowing non-photo ID to be used, though the card does contain unique identifying information.
Iowa scores 24/30 on the accuracy of voter registration lists. Heritage said Iowa does not currently run data comparisons between the statewide voter registration list and Social Security Administration death record. State election officials do not run data comparisons between the statewide voter registration list and state welfare and public assistance agencies to find information relevant to registration such as address changes, deaths, citizenship status or other factors affecting eligibility.
While election officials verify the residence address on all new voter registration forms, Iowa election officials do not check to see how many individuals are registered at an address in order to find any anomalies, such as a large number of individuals registered at a single-family home.
State election officials do not access any commercially available data such as from credit agencies to verify voter registration information. The state uses electronic poll books in polling places, but the registration list does not include photographs of the registered voter.
Iowa also just scores 15/21 on absentee ballot management. Iowa does not require the absentee ballot be notarized or witnessed with identifying information such as name, address, phone number and signature. There is also no limit on the number of absentee ballots one individual can witness. The state also lacks signature comparison requirements.
Iowa only scores 1/2 on requiring a signed voter request for an absentee ballot. And the state does not have procedures to investigate the validity of a registration when an absentee ballot is returned as undeliverable by the post office.
Iowa does not use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) Program to help identify non-citizens who register to vote, costing Iowa two points under the verification of citizenship category.
The state scores 0/3 when it comes to requiring those who are assisting voters to provide their identity and the reason for their assistance.
Iowa does not count votes before election day and the state does not require the tabulation of votes to be continuous until complete. These two factors cost Iowa two points in the “vote counting practices” category.
Another 0/3 category is “election litigation procedures.” Iowa’s state legislature does not have standing to sue to ensure compliance with election laws passed by the legislature. Any changes to the state’s election laws via a court settlement do not require approval of the legislature. Residents of Iowa do not have standing to sue election officials who do not abide by state election laws.
Allowing same-day registration costs Iowa three points as well.
Iowa also scores 0/3 on restricting private funding of election officials or government agencies.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate issued the following statement regarding the scorecard:
“We administer elections under the laws passed by the Iowa Legislature, and Iowa is one of the top 3 states in the nation for election administration. Iowa consistently has clean, smooth elections with record turnout, and numerous measures in place that ensure the integrity of the vote, including Voter ID at the polls and on absentee ballot request forms, pre and post-election audits, paper ballots, and bipartisan teams of poll workers.”