Republican lawmakers are criticizing the Iowa Secretary of State’s office for the way absentee ballots are being handled, saying it could enable election fraud. Republican Senator Paul McKinley of Chariton is upset that ballot couriers are not required to carry a photo I-D when they pick up ballots. He says, “How do you know who is at your door asking for your ballot?” The Secretary of State’s director of elections Sandy Steinbach says a new election bill approved by the legislature just last spring governs things like absentee ballots, and it’s unfamiliar.She says the law’s a big change, she says, and she’s hearing from the counties that people who are not couriers or voters who’re bringing in ballots have no intention of doing anything illegal. Steinbach says they originally planned to require photo I-Ds for ballot couriers. But she says the political parties resisted the move, and accused the office of overstepping its authority, because the new election bill did not specifically mandate I-Ds. Senator McKinley says the law shouldn’t have to – it should be common sense. McKinley says you have to have a photo I-D to get on an airplane or get a library card, and it seems to him a person picking up your ballot should offer I-D to prove it’s who they say it is. Senator McKinley says he’s also upset that the county auditors are accepting absentee ballots delivered to their office by people who are not registered couriers. Under Iowa’s new law, only the voter or a courier can deliver the ballot, otherwise it has to be mailed. But director steinbach says auditors complained that was too restrictive and that not enough people understood the new law. But democratic senator Mike Connolly of Dubuque says the lawmakers looking for problems so soon are pre-occupied with fraud. He says it was out of line, saying the voting process should be finished before the secretary of state’s office gets called on the carpet about any problems, and Connolly adds he thinks both democrat and republican auditors are working hard and the improvements made in the last session are working. He says he believes absentee ballots are more secure than ever. Senator Connolly says the crisis during the last presidential eleciton was not fraud, but rather voters who were disenfranchised. Connolly praises the auditors in Iowa’s 99 counties and says he hopes for a good voter turnout this election.
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