Republicans in the Iowa House have endorsed the idea of having Iowa voters show a photo I.D. before they may cast a ballot on Election Day.
Representative Jeremy Taylor, a Republican from Sioux City, said it’s about ensuring the integrity of the voting process.
“All it takes to support this bill is the acknowledgement that the possibility of fraud or impersonation exists,” Taylor said.
Democrats like Representative Bruce Hunter of Des Moines suggested the policy would make voting more difficult for minorities, the elderly and disabled Iowans who don’t have an I.D.
“We are talking about ways to keep honest people from voting,” Hunter said. “And that’s a shame because that’s all this bill is — a Jim Crow-style voter suppression bill.”
Representative Deborah Berry, a Democrat from Waterloo — an African American, said 11 percent of Iowans don’t have a photo I.D. — many because they’re too old or too poor to have a car.
“Sometimes we look at things through our middle class, upper middle class and wealthy eyes, but we don’t really think about those people who are the least of these,” Berry said.
Representative Gary Worthan, a Republican from Storm Lake, said with the right to vote comes responsibility.
“If you’re not willing to accept that responsibility, put in a little effort on your own part to go out and get a photo I.D., study the issues, register — that doesn’t say a whole lot about your interest in your government and what’s going on around you,” Worthan said.
Republican Matt Schultz, Iowa’s new secretary of state, campaigned on the idea, saying if Iowans have to show a photo I.D. to board a plane or buy booze, they should show an I.D. to vote.
The bill passed the House on a 60-to-40 vote, with every Republican voting for it and every Democrat voting against it. The bill faces a dim future as Senate Democrats do not have plans to pass it.