House Republicans Confuse Voters
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By Jerry Depew, Iowans for Voting Integrity
March 23, 2006
This article was published on IowaVoters.org on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006. It is reposted here with permission of the author.
In a disgusting, audacious, undemocratic and irresponsible display of irrational law-making, the Iowa House of Representatives has passed a bill mandating both paper trails and photo IDs at Iowa’s polling places.
Despite a 98-0 vote on the paper trail portion of the bill, we may be no closer to getting them. That is because the House also voted 51-48 (along party lines) NOT to pass the paper trail part by itself. Such a vote would have sent it quickly to the Governor’s desk since the Senate passed its bill already, also without dissent.
Linked to the poison pill bill for photo identification, the whole thing is likely to die. The ID portion of the bill was opposed by the Secretary of State, AARP, Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council, ACLU, ISEA, IFL-CIO and by every House Democrat. Senate Democrats will likely keep the bill from passing there.
So do House Republicans want paper trails and verifiable election equipment, or not? Not one legislator in either House has voted against the paper trail language. But every House Republican agreed to sacrifice the good idea in order to advance a bad idea.
This was irresponsible because there is overwhelming public support for paper ballots.
This was audacious because the Republicans never even tried to make the case for requiring voters to show photo identification. When asked for cases of fraud that could be prevented under this bill, they did not answer.
This was irrational because Iowa law already allows pollwatchers to challenge suspicious voters and also allows election workers to seek identification from unfamiliar voters if they see fit.
This was undemocratic because it will reduce voter turnout. Up to ten percent of the electorate may lack ID cards. Shut-in voters now need their own photocopier at home so they can include a copy of their ID card with their absentee ballot. Since ID cards are not free, requiring one may constitute a poll tax which is prohibitted by the 24th Amendment.
This was disgusting because now all members of the body can say they voted for paper trails and both parties can blame the other for the bill’s ultimate demise.
Disgusting, undemocratic, audacious, irrational and irresponsible. Not a bad day’s work.
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