Iowa GOP legislators ignore plea for fair voting process
Jury service is one of the most important civic duties you can perform. Soon you can serve as a juror to determine whether Iowa’s voter suppression law — signed on March 8, 2021 by Gov. Kim Reynolds (Rep.) — which was brought into law not by the request of Iowa citizens but at the pleading of right-wing think tanks, Fortune 500 companies and industry trade groups is fair and balanced.
Let’s start with 11 facts:
1-In 2021, 25 states expanded voting access while Iowa’s GOP imposed massive voting restrictions.
2-According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Iowa’s 2021-enacted voting bill “undertakes a full-fledged assault on voting” (Jul. 2, 2021).
3-Heritage Action, Heritage Action for America and Heritage Foundation – who wrote many Trump administration policies – along with American Legislative Exchange Council, submitted model voter suppression legislation for Iowa’s GOP to adopt (Mother Jones, May 18, 2021).
4-Since 2015, over 225 of the Fortune 500 companies plus numerous industry trade groups – who support voter suppression laws – gave a combined $86 million to state legislators for GOP re-election coffers (Public Citizen).
5-During the 2020 election, only 16 incidents of voter fraud within 159 million ballots cast (0.00001%) occurred (Washington Post, May 4, 2021).
6-During a 14 year time period, there have only been 31credible allegations of voter I.D. impersonations out of approximately 1 billion ballots cast; 0.0000031% (Brennan Center for Justice).
7-On Feb. 14, 15 Iowa-based not-for-profit and non-partisan organizations presented 5,718 signatures of Iowa voters — from 333 different Iowa zip codes — requesting Iowa’s trifecta GOP-controlled Capitol to change portions of two sections (SF413 and SF568) of the newly invoked voting law. Not one Republican legislator, GOP staff member or Gov. Reynolds attended the public event to listen to the concerns of their constituents.
8-Iowa’s new law shortens the time period to vote by 31%, invites political party interference for future elections, makes elections more difficult to administer, reduces the availability of polling places and citizens could face criminal charges for returning ballots on behalf of disabled voters (Brennan Center for Justice).
9-Mark Stringer, Executive Director of Iowa’s ACLU notes “one million of the 1.7 million Iowans (~59%) who voted in the 2020 election did so by absentee ballot. Despite a clean and secure election, the legislature and governor enacted a law to limit absentee balloting, which defies reason.” Stringer contends legislators should support, protect and defend voters, not limit voting opportunities (Feb. 14).
10-More than 600 duly registered voters did not vote in the 2021 election due to Iowa’s new jump-through-the-unnecessary-hoops absentee ballot restrictions (Survey of County Auditors).
11-Terese Grant, President, League of Women Voters of Iowa, received an email from a fellow Iowan. The lady was hospitalized before the Nov. 2021 election, inquired of the Court House what Saturday she could vote, was told citizens weren’t allowed to do that and it was too late to send her a mail-in ballot. For the first time in 42 years, she did not vote.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: what say ye?
Are Iowa’s GOP elected officials guilty of unnecessary voter suppression? Do you think Republican officeholders truly care to even listen to Iowans’ concerns about the anti-voting legislation? Are our GOP civil servants negligent of ignoring the facts about voting fraud and voter I.D. impersonations?
My verdict: Iowa’s Republican legislators and governor are guilty of purposeful voter suppression. Their lemming kowtowing legislative behavior to think tanks, corporate and industry trade groups over Iowans – who they were elected to represent – is appalling, inexcusable and void of any Iowa Nice attribute.
Tue., Nov. 8 can’t come soon enough for voters to elect Iowa legislators and a Governor who value expanded voting access versus voter suppression.
Steve Corbin is Emeritus Professor of Marketing,
University of Northern Iowa