Republicans passed voting reform bills through the Iowa House and Senate yesterday, over democrats’ objections. The bill that cleared the House would end voter registration 20 days before the election; eliminate some early voting sites and close polling places an hour earlier on Election Day. Representative Libby Jacobs, a republican from West Des Moines, says it’ll all help reduce voter fraud. She says Iowa has a good election system, but there are some cases that raise concern. Representative Andra Atteberry, a democrat from Manchester, says the bill will suppress voter turnout. Atteberry says the bill tells people “we don’t want you here, we’re paranoid, we think everyone is trying to cheat when they vote.”Representative Dan Boddicker, a republican from Tipton, says the bill’s a response to reports of voter fraud in Iowa during the 2000 election. Boddicker says the bill may discourage some fraud, and it may keep some people from voting that might otherwise. Representative Bill Dotzler, a democrat from Waterloo, opposed the bill. Dotzler says it’s the role of legislators to ensure that every citizen has an equal opportunity to vote.Representative Jacobs says a line must be drawn to maintain the security of the ballots. Jacobs says convenience brings to mind a pizza deliveryman who brings a pizza right to her door. Jacobs says the people that’ve worked hard to ensure that we have democracy would not want voting to be at that same level of convenience. Representative Frank Chiodo, a democrat from Des Moines, voted against the bill. Chiodo calls the bill “ridiculous” and says “it’s not about fraud, it’s about suppression.”The bill cleared the House on a party-line vote, with 55 republicans voting in favor and 43 democrats voting against it. The bill that cleared the Senate late last night would force Iowa voters to show a photo I-D in order to cast a ballot on Election Day.
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