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The Legislative Council approved Secretary of State Paul Pate’s proposal to send a statewide absentee ballot request form to all eligible active voters ahead of the 2020 general election. It is essentially the exact same thing Pate did during the primary.

Molly Widen, legal counsel for Pate’s office, talked about the proposal. Iowa Code Section 47.1 states the Secretary of State, as the state commissioner of elections, has the ability to prescribe uniform election practices and procedures, she said.

Widen said Pate’s proposal ensures all voters are treated in a uniform, nondiscriminatory manner.

Democrats proposed an amendment as Rep. Sharon Steckman wanted Pate to send out PIN numbers to every voter ahead of the absentee form request mailing.

Steckman also proposed striking Section 2, which keeps county auditors from pre-populating fields on the form that contain confidential information.

Steckman’s amendment was debated, but ultimately defeated.

Directions are clearly given on the absentee request form for those who do not know their PIN number, Widen said. Voters can contact the county auditor to receive it.

Democrat Sen. Joe Bolkcom also proposed an amendment to allow absentee voting 40 days prior to the general election, similar to what Pate did in the primary.

Again, this amendment was voted down.

Author: Jacob Hall