May 5, 2017 BY:
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R.) signed a voter identification bill into law on Friday.
The bill, HF 516, requires voters to show identification at the polls beginning in 2019. If an individual cannot afford an identification card or does not have one, a card will be provided free of charge.
The law provides additional submission guidelines for third-party voter registration organizers and establishes requirements for post-election audits and referring illegal votes to local law enforcement. The law also adjusts the absentee voting period to 29 days before an election and creates an electronic poll book to identify felon status.
During an April interview with KMA News, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said the bill mostly is about managing the vast amount of voter information in the state.
“We’re talking about over 2 million registered voters; it’s a big database we’re managing,” Pate said. “We’re going to make sure it’s accurate, and we’d like to make sure that the people who come in to vote can do so in such a fashion that it’s fairly speedy for them and not very complicated.”
J. Christian Adams, president and general council of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a group that litigates to protect election integrity, praised Iowa’s new voter identification bill.
“We welcome Iowa to the growing collection of states enacting necessary reforms to prevent against voter fraud and boost confidence in our elections,” Adams said. “This law is a step toward modernizing elections with policies and infrastructure designed to protect voters from error and fraud alike.”