Friday, April 14, 2017

Voter ID Bill Advances in Iowa Senate

A Voter ID Bill cleared an Iowa Senate Subcommittee Wednesday, although critics said there is no evidence it's needed and a Democratic Lawmaker scolded a State Elections official for suggesting there is a lack of confidence in Iowa's Election system.

Senate Study Bill 1163, which is proposed by Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, was approved on a 2-1 vote, advancing the Bill to the Senate State Government Committee. Republican Sens. Roby Smith of Davenport and Jake Chapman of Adel supported the Bill, while Democratic Sen. Tony Bisignano opposed it. The Iowa House is considering its own version of Pate's bill, which is House Study Bill 93.

Deputy Secretary of State Carol Olson told the Panel the Legislation will modernize Iowa’s Elections technology by establishing Electronic Poll Books in every Iowa Precinct. In addition, the Bill calls for establishing a Voter ID system with Signature Verification, Absentee Ballot Verification, and Post-Election Audits.

Every Registered Voter who does not already own a Driver’s License, Non-Driver’s ID, Military ID, Veterans ID, or Passport, will receive a Voter ID Card in the Mail, automatically, Olson said. This will apply to newly Registered Voters as well.

"Iowa elections are not rigged," Olson said. But she added that Pate has made a priority of making sure Iowa's Elections are conducted as honestly as possible.

A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll conducted in February showed that 69% of Iowa adults surveyed supported requiring a Voter to present a Government-issued Identification Card before casting a Ballot. 28% were opposed.

Representatives of several organizations spoke against the Bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa; One Iowa, the State's largest LGBTQ Rights group; the Iowa League of Women Voters; the League of United Latin American Citizens; Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa.

Fran Henderson of the League of Women Voters said there were special concerns about requiring Iowans to provide Identification before Voting. “We don’t have a problem with voter fraud or voter impersonation in Iowa. So I really question why we need to do this," she added. She pointed to past investigations authorized by former Secretary of State Matt Schultz that found little evidence of Voter Fraud in Iowa.

Daniel Zeno, an ACLU-Iowa Lobbyist, said the Legislation's requirements could have discriminatory impacts on Minorities, Older persons, and people with Disabilities by requiring a Government-issued ID Card and using a Signature Verification system. Several critics raised the possibility that Voters could be turned away at the Polls because their signature had changed as they got older, or because they suffered a stroke or experienced other changes that affected their ability to write. Other opponents suggested Republicans were pursuing the Legislation to suppress votes for Democratic Candidates.

Keenan Crow, Deputy director of One Iowa, said the Legislation could have unintended consequences, particularly for Transgender people, many of whom do not have Driver's Licenses or Passports that accurately fit their gender.

But Kim Hiscox of West Des Moines, a volunteer Poll watcher for the Republican Party of Iowa, urged support for the Bill. She pointed to situations where people are showing up to vote without Personal identification, Proof of their Address, or being accompanied by someone who could attest they were eligible to cast a Ballot.

Deputy Secretary of State Olson sparked a strong negative reaction from Sen. Bisignano when she suggested that State officials don't really know whether Election Fraud exists. Fraud is difficult to prove and even more difficult to prosecute, she added. The Legislation, she said, will help "shore up voter confidence."

Bisignano took offense, saying her statement was based on a "lie" by President Trump, who has made unproven claims that millions of votes were illegally cast in the 2016 Election. "What you just said was disturbing to me," Bisignano said. "This is based on a man who was elected president who can’t get over the fact that he lost the popular vote and has repeatedly said that the only way that he could possibly lose the popular vote was if there was fraud. ... You are the deputy secretary of state and you are perpetuating that lie."

Chapman and Smith defended the Bill, saying they have often heard their Constituents talk about a need for honest elections as they Campaigned. "We want to balance making sure that individuals have easy access to vote while also maintaining and insuring the integrity of our election process," Chapman said. Smith said he wanted to assure Iowans that every Eligible Voter will be allowed to vote. "No eligible voter will be turned away, period," he said.

I wonder if Iowa Voters understand that the Majority of Voter Fraud happens with Absentee Ballots that a Voter ID does not protect?

CLICK HERE to read Senate Study Bill 1163.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: