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Senate File 53 was filed by Democrat Sen. Pam Jochum earlier this year. The bill would require the Iowa Secretary of State to include a space on absentee ballot request forms for a voter to indicate they want to receive an electronic absentee ballots because they have a physical disability that prevents them from reading and marking a physical ballot without the assistance of another person.

If the county commissioner of elections determines the voter qualifies, they will transmit an electronic absentee ballot to the voter when physical absentee ballots are mailed.

The electronic absentee ballot would be transmitted in a form allowing the voter to read and mark the ballot using a personal computer. The bill requires the voter to print the ballot and return it in the same way as prescribed for physical absentee ballots.

The bill would not allow a voter to return an absentee ballot electronically.

Organizations supporting the legislation include:

Iowa Council of the United Blind
Iowa Mental Health Planning Council
Disability Rights Iowa
Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club
Iowa Conference of United Methodist Church
Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council

Author: Jacob Hall