Anti-vote laws spark petition campaign in Iowa

Thirteen months ago, the 2020 federal election drew the highest voter turnout in the United States – 66.7% – in more than a century.

It is alleged that former President Donald Trump and some die-hard GOP attempted a coup on the United States Capitol on January 6 to overturn the Electoral College process and place the loser as president. Since that election, lawmakers in 44 states have tinkered with the electoral process with both positive and negative results.

Lawmakers in 25 states have enacted 62 laws to expand access to the vote. These politicians “responded to Americans’ eagerness to vote by making it easier for eligible voters to vote” (Brennan Center for Justice, October 4).

Unfortunately, 19 states have enacted 33 laws making it harder for citizens to vote: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Ten pro-democracy organizations in Iowa appear to be the first in the country to form a coalition, say ‘enough is enough’ about the Iowa GOP-controlled House, Senate and Governor, enacting anti-election laws in the spring of 2021 They are taking their case to registered voters in Iowa in hopes of petitioning the leaders of the 89th Iowa General Assembly for signatures. Iowa’s new legislative session begins January 10.

The petition calls on lawmakers to repeal Articles SF413 and SF568 of the new electoral law. In summary, groups argue that Iowa law makes voting more difficult, disqualifies voters more easily, shortens the voting period by 31%, makes elections more difficult to administer, and invites political parties to interfere. in the elections. Registered voters can go to the following website to sign the petition:

The alliance maintains the net effect of the new Iowa Election Law linked to Section SF413 includes: reducing the time period to request a postal vote; shorten the delivery time for postal ballots; eliminate the sending of postal ballot requests to voters who do not specifically request forms; restricting assistance in returning an elector’s mail-in ballot; limit the number, location or availability of postal boxes; reduce the availability of polling stations; and limiting the days and hours of early voting.

The consortium opposes Section SF 568 of the new Iowa Election Act because it restricts a voter ‘s return assistance with mail-in ballot and increases barriers for voters with disabilities.

Terese Grant, president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, says Iowa’s new electoral law denies voters the right to vote and is an attempt to disqualify voters – restricting suffrage – which is a constitutional right.

“Defending democracy has been our motto since our founding in 1920 and we have always supported open and transparent government, including the right to vote,” Grant said. “Democracy works best when more people – not fewer – are involved. The petition campaign to repeal SF413 and SF568 is one way Iowans can get involved and let their duly elected lawmakers know about their opposition to Iowa’s new anti-election law. (personal communication, Nov. 19 and 27).

LWVIA’s anti-election law co-sponsors include the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa; Common Good Iowa; the Iowa Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc .; Iowa Interfaith Alliance; Iowa stocks; Chapter Des Moines, The Links Inc .; Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and the Sierra Club section of Iowa.

The United States House of Representatives has already passed the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The two laws before the Senate will protect the voting rights of races and minorities, reform campaign finance and establish a common voting standard in all 50 states. Urging senators to approve these laws would eliminate lawmakers in 19 states playing games with citizens’ cherished voting rights.

Steve Corbin is Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

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