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Republican State Sen. Roby Smith briefly explained why SSB 1199 is necessary. The bill will strengthen Iowa’s election integrity and address the actions of a handful of rogue county auditors who broke the law in the 2020 general election.

Smith said that the “vast, vast majority” of county auditors do a wonderful job and he appreciates the service they provide Iowans.

“But we have to keep in mind the state cannot have a handful of auditors that obstruct those goals to the detriment of Iowa voters,” he said. “Those auditors’ inability to follow the law, or their belief that they have the power to create their own law or to veto the laws that we have passed legally at this Capitol has caused unnecessary confusion and wasteful spending of tax dollars in 2020.”

Smith was referencing county auditors who pre-populated absentee ballot request forms and sent them to voters in 2020. Those absentee forms were ruled illegal and the auditors had to resend forms to voters in their county.

SSB 1199 will bring uniformity to enforcement as well as enhance the penalties for auditors who disregard the law.

“The laws we pass in this Capitol will be followed by all elected officials in this state,” Smith said.

Trimming the number of absentee voting days from 29 to 18 will limit what Smith called voter remorse and shorten the length of campaigning in the state. It also allows more time for informed voting.

Smith said the Democrat complaints about voter suppression are nothing new when it comes to Iowa election law. When absentee voting went from 40 days to 29 days, Democrats cried voter suppression. But there was record turnout.

“When we pass election bills in this chamber, and they become law, we get record turnout,” Smith said.

The bill sailed through committee on Thursday and will likely be debated on the floor of the Senate this week.

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall