One of the sideshows at the statehouse is a showdown over election reform. Republicans have passed a bill Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack promises to veto. The bill puts up state money to match federal funds coming Iowa’s way to buy new voting machines. At issue are changes in voting proceedures — like some restrictions on who may handle an absentee ballots. Democrats say Republicans are sore losers because Democrats won the races for Governor and Senate in 2002 because of a concerted absentee balloting effort. Senator Mark Zieman, a republican from Postville, says that’s hogwash. Zieman says the bill doesn’t restrict voting, and tightens the rules to make sure everybody’s vote counts. Zieman says he twice thought he had a deal with the Governor, and later learned otherwise. Zieman says he’s frustrated, because he’s tried to reach a compromise but found that “the line keeps movin’.” The bill also calls for closing the polls an hour earlier on election day, and Democrats say that’ll make it more difficult for working Iowans to cast a ballot.
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