Thirteen months ago, the 2020 general election saw the highest voter turnout in the US – 66.7% – in more than a century.
It is alleged that former President Donald Trump and some die-hard GOP attempted a coup in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to overturn the electoral college process and put the loser as president. Since that election, lawmakers from 44 states have tinkered with the electoral process with some positive and negative results.
Legislators from 25 states have enacted 62 laws to expand electoral access. These politicians “responded to Americans’ will to vote by making it easier for eligible voters to vote” (Brennan Center for Justice, Oct. 4).
Unfortunately, 19 states have 33 laws in place making it difficult for citizens to vote: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Ten pro-democracy organizations in Iowa appear to be the first in the nation to form a coalition saying “enough is enough” regarding Iowa’s GOP Trifecta-controlled House, Senate, and governor’s anti-electoral laws in the spring of 2021 Issue Bring your case before Iowa registered voters in hopes of petitioning the leaders of the 89th Iowa General Assembly to sign it. Iowa’s new term begins January 10th.
The petition calls on the legislature to repeal Sections SF413 and SF568 from the newly enacted Voting Act. In summary, the groups argue that Iowa law makes voting more difficult, disqualifies voters more easily, cuts voting time by 31%, makes it difficult to conduct elections, and encourages political party interference in elections. Registered voters can sign the petition on the following website: https://www.LWVIA.org/anti-voter-laws.
Alliance maintains the net effects of the new Iowa Electoral Act with respect to Section SF413: reducing the deadline for requesting a postal vote; Shortening the deadline for the delivery of postal ballot papers; Abolition of postal voting requests to voters who do not explicitly request forms; Limitation of assistance in returning a voter’s postal ballot paper; Limitation of the number, location or availability of postal voting subjects; Reducing the availability of polling stations; and limit the days and hours for early voting.
Section SF 568 of the new Iowa Electoral Act is opposed by the consortium because it restricts assistance in returning ballot papers and raises barriers for voters with disabilities.
Terese Grant, president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, believes Iowa’s new electoral law will deprive voters of the right to vote and is an attempt to disqualify voters – and restrict their right to vote – which is a constitutional right.
“Defending democracy has been our motto since we were founded in 1920 and we have always advocated open and transparent government, including the right to vote,” said Grant. “Democracy works best when more people – not fewer – are involved. Petitioning to repeal Sections SF413 and SF568 is one way Iower can get involved and notify their duly elected legislators of their opposition to the newly introduced Iowa Anti-Electoral Act ”(personal communication, Nov. 19-27).
LWVIA’s co-sponsors against the Suffrage include the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa; Common Good Iowa; Iowa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc .; Iowa Interfaith Alliance; Iowa stocks; Des Moines Chapter, The Links Inc .; Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and Sierra Club Iowa Chapter.
The US House of Representatives has already passed the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both Senate laws will protect racial and minority suffrage, reform campaign finance, and create uniform electoral standards in all 50 states. Urging senators to approve these laws would exclude lawmakers in 19 states playing games with citizens’ cherished suffrage.
Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.