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Republican leaders in the Iowa Legislature came into the session promising to pass a Voter ID bill, and they are well on their way to checking that off their to-do list.  Earlier in session, the Iowa House passed House FIle 516, which requires all Iowa voters to show a valid ID before being allowed to vote.  Acceptable forms of ID include Iowa driver's licenses, Iowa non-operators IDs, military IDs, and passports.  For those without one of these IDs, the Secretary of State will issue a free non-photo voter registration card to be used as an ID.  

The House-passed bill also allows pollworkers to question a person's identity if their signature does not match what is on their ID, which caused some concern among advocates for older Iowans and Iowans with disabilities.  Signatures change with time, injury, disease, or disability.  Some people "make their mark" using a stamp or by drawing an X.  Others ask loved ones to sign for them.  Questions remain as to how that would be addressed at polling sites, and if there would be sufficient funding for poll worker training to make sure poll workers used the same standards for questioning identity statewide.

The House passed House File 516 on a party-line vote (58-41).  The Senate debated the bill two weeks ago, but made some significant changes, including shortening the early voting time by 11 days (from 40 days to 29 days before the election). The Senate also added language to allow 17-year-olds to register to vote and to vote in a primary election, if they will be 18 years olf at the time of the general election.   The House must accept these changes before it can go to the Governor and be signed into law.  

The House had planned to take up the bill on Thursday (April 6), but ran out of time.  There are currently 18 amendments filed in the House, so debate will start early next week on the bill, but could last for several hours.  

  • You can see how your Senator voted on this bill here.
  • You can see how your  Representative voted on this bill here.  
  • You can read more about Voter ID laws here.
  • If you care about this issue, call your State Representatives on Monday at 515/281-3221 or email them here..