Iowa Legislature Passes Major Election Bill

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A sweeping election bill that will shorten the timeframe for Iowa's absentee and early voting window, and create stricter guidelines for county auditors across the state has landed on Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk. The bill, known separately as House File 590 and Senate File 413, was introduced in the Iowa House and Senate on Feb. 16 and advanced quickly through the Iowa Legislature.

The bill comes on the heels of a record election turnout throughout both the United States and Iowa. Palo Alto County alone saw an 81.72 percent voter turnout for the 2020 election, with 4,994 voters casting ballots out of the 6,111 registered, up almost four percent from 2016. Of the nearly 5,000 ballots cast in the county, 2,804, or 56 percent, were cast absentee.

"The 2020 election saw record turnout in the state and across the country," said Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport. "However, it did expose some serious vulnerabilities with election laws and enforcement."

Smith noted, "This bill creates uniform election procedures across all 99 counties, it clarifies enforcement and authority…(and) it continues to advance the integrity and security of Iowa elections."

Proponents of the bill cite alleged claims of 2020 election fraud as a reason to support the changes to Iowa elections, but opponents worry the bill will limit accessibility, especially among rural, elderly, and/or disabled voters.

In the state of Iowa, former president Donald Trump won the 2020 election by a sizable margin, receiving over 53 percent of the vote, while in other states, supporters with unfounded claims of fraud allege votes in Trump's favor were not counted fairly.

Gov. Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law and it will go into effect immediately.

Read the full article in The Reporter.

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