A bill that would force Iowa voters to show an ID to cast a ballot on Election Day will be reviewed by a House committee late Tuesday afternoon. Critics made some last-minute pitches against the bill during a statehouse hearing today. Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert pointed to a New York University Law School report about Wisconsin’s voter ID law.
“They said the type of fraud that voter ID is designated to prevent in the state of Wisconsin is extremely rare and truly an isolated phenomenon that has not posed a significant threat to the integrity of the election law or elections in Wisconsin,” Weipert said.
Myrna Loehrlein of Cedar Rapids, a long-time member of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, suggested the bill is a solution to a non-existent problem.
“Kind of a gut-level, pervasive sort of understanding by a lot of voters in Iowa that voter impersonation occurs and maybe even might be rampant,” Loehrlein said. “It turns out there are a multitude of studies by disinterested third-party people who have shown that to be absolutely untrue.”
Loehrlein, though, conceded Republicans are ready to take action and she urged legislators to set aside enough money to make a voter ID system run smoothly. Others, like Daniel Zeno of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, say minorities will be less likely to have the kind of I-D the bill would require for voting.
“Nationally about 25 percent of African Americans do not have an ID,” Zeno said. “…In Iowa, in Black Hawk County, about 27 percent. In Scott (County), 24 percent.”
The bill calls for every registered voter to get a new voter registration card that may be used as identification at their polling place. A handful of other forms of ID could be used, including an Iowa driver’s license, a passport or a military ID. The photo on the ID will not be used as identification. The signature will be used to verify the voter’s identity.
Some other election law changes may be included in the bill. One proposed change: closing Iowa polls on Election Day at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. Another would reduce the “early voting” period in Iowa to 29 days.