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Voter Reform Now Law

Secretary of State Paul Pate at reception following signing of HF 516


DES MOINES, Iowa-Iowans can expect greater integrity in their elections following the signing of HF 516 by Governor Branstad on Friday.  At the initiative of Secretary of State Paul Pate, the bill was introduced in the House by Representative Ken Rizer (R, Marion) and Senator Roby Smith (R, Bettendorf) in the Senate.  HF 516 requires voters to show a state-issued ID, revises the absentee ballot system, and implements the use of e-poll books to verify voter eligibility.  Governor Branstad gave remarks before signing the bill into law.

“This bill will increase the integrity of our election systems by reforming our voter identification laws.  This bill will also make the administration of our elections more effective and convenient for Iowans.  HF 516 includes provisions that helps local county auditors by implementing a revolving loan fund that will help modernize polling place technology.  HF 516 also includes provisions that are voter-friendly such as requiring election officials to more quickly acknowledge the receipt of voter registration forms.  I would like to thank those who worked so hard on this legislation throughout the session.  In particular I want to thank our Secretary of State, Paul Pate and his staff for working on this, floor manager in the House, Representative Ken Rizer, Senate floor manager Senator Roby Smith, and the other legislators and other Iowans who helped with this.  Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important and I’m very proud of this legislation that will ensure that our elections are fair.  I would also like to thank the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, as their President Gwen Ecklund informed me that this bill was one of their priorities.”

Following the bill signing, Secretary of State Paul Pate addressed stakeholders who worked hard to pass this bill at a reception in his office, including the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, Rebel Snodgrass of Warren County, and state Treasurer candidate and Republican State Central Committee member John Thompson.

“This bill has been a long time coming.  It passed in the House a few times, but never made it through the Democrat Senate.  I offered this bill early in session because I wanted to make sure that it encompassed more than just the voter ID component.  Iowa has one of the best records in the country of voter integrity.  But unfortunately, there is also human error.  We have good election officials, good county auditors and poll workers who try to do the best they can, and my staff tries to do the best they can, but we are human, and mistakes can happen.  This bill, with the newer technology, helps to take that out of the equation.  We will audit elections, and why would we not audit elections?  We audit our books, and as individuals, we audit our checkbooks to make sure that everything adds up right.  These tools will allow us to have even better election systems in Iowa, which is what Iowans are demanding.  We know that we’re good, but we can do better.  This bill will allow us to make sure that every vote counts, and that there are no mistakes caused by the human error factor.”


MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant specializing in fundraising.