Roby Smith

Republicans in the Iowa Senate have put their own stamp on a “voter ID” bill.

The GOP senators have voted to shorten the “early” voting window in Iowa from 40 days down to 29. In addition,

Senate Republicans want precinct workers to check a prospective voter’s signature on a driver’s license or voter ID card to verify the voter’s eligibility. Republican Senator Roby Smith of Davenport said it’s common sense.

“We need to do everything we can to prevent fraud,” Smith said, “and this bill has safeguards.”

Democrats predicted there’ll be longer lines at the polls on Election Day as fewer Iowans will vote early and it’ll take time for precinct workers to evaluate each voter’s signature.

“Rather than making it harder or restricting time frames, we should be making it easier, removing barriers,” said Senator Pam Jochum a Democrat from Dubuque.

All 26 Republican senators present this evening voted for their plan. It would let 17 year olds who’ll turn 18 by Election Day in November vote in the party primaries in June. The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of those Senate changes. House Republicans passed their own “voter ID” proposal back on March 9.