DAVENPORT, IOWA (March 14, 2019) — When it comes to a citizen’s Constitutional right to vote, we must ensure every legitimate vote is counted. Unfortunately, a bill that will limit that right has been approved on a party line vote by the Senate State Government Committee.
SF575 could disenfranchise the vote of thousands of Iowans by:
- Closing the polls an hour earlier on Election Day. Currently, Iowa polls close at 9 PM. That last hour can be crucial for those with busy daytime schedules. For example, 8 percent of all in-person voters voted in that last hour in Story County during the 2016 presidential elections.
- Eliminating satellite voting stations from state-owned buildings. That means students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI, as well as residents of the Iowa Veterans Home, will no longer be able to vote on campus — while private schools can continue providing satellite voting.
- Removing college students from the voter registration list. Public university students will be asked to indicate if they plan to live in Iowa after graduation. Those who say they’ll be leaving the state will be removed from the voter registration list. The change would not impact students attending Iowa’s private colleges or community colleges.
- Requiring the county auditor’s office to verify signatures on absentee ballots. Signatures can change over time because of age, Parkinson’s and other degenerative problems. Eligible voters could easily be disenfranchised when election officials with no training in signature verification question their signatures.
- Prohibiting a county auditor from using the voter registration system to verify an incomplete absentee ballot request form. Why require an auditor to personally track down and contact a voter when they may have all the information they need at their fingertips?
- Changing deadlines for early ballots. Current law allows early ballots to be counted so long as they are postmarked before Election Day. Under this bill, ballots must be received by the county auditor before Election Day. In 2018, a state representative race was decided by only nine votes after county officials decided to not count 29 early ballots because they weren’t properly postmarked, even though there was proof the ballots were mailed on time.
This is a legislative update by State Senator Jim Lykam, representing Davenport and Buffalo. For bio, photos and further information, go towww.senate.iowa.gov/senator/lykam.
To contact Senator Lykam when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at 563-391-1919. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Senator Lykam serves on the following committees: