Iowa governor signs bill limiting early voting, ballot harvesting

Democrats are furious after Iowa’s governor signed a bill into law that establishes strict voting standards.

The law requires mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day, shortens the period for early voting, and combats ballot harvesting, among other rudimentary measures to uphold election integrity, the Washington Examiner reported.

The law shortens the window for early voting from 29 days to 20 days and requires polls to close at 8 p.m. not 9 p.m. on Election Day.

Concerning mail-in ballots, the law requires them to be received by Election Day to be counted, whereas previously they could be received the following Monday. To prevent ballot harvesting, the bill allows only voters or their immediate family, caregivers, or household members to return absentee ballots.

“Duty and responsibility”

“It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election,” Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said in a statement, according to the Des Moines Register.

She continued, “This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors.”

“All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot,” the statement said.

Dems rip “voter suppression”

While Republicans are typically concerned with voter fraud, Democrats are more concerned with so-called “voter suppression,” which could mean something as simple as requiring voters to prove their identity with voter ID.

Republicans are fighting in many states against attempts to further liberalize election rules after the 2020 election, which saw sweeping changes, often unilateral and on dubious legal grounds, resulting in a massive glut of mail-in ballots that sowed widespread doubt about election integrity.

Predictably, Iowa Democrats attacked the new law and its rather basic standards as an attempt to “silence” voters.

“This isn’t about improving our election process, it’s about continuing the Republican Party’s outrageous lies and attacks on the democratic process across the country,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said.

But Republicans say this rhetoric is overblown. “It’s going to remain really easy to vote after this legislation is signed into law,” Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said, the Des Moines Register reported. “This bill protects Iowans’ right to vote and it adds certainty and security to it. This bill does not suppress one single vote.”

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