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New Election Law Being Processed by Area Election Commissioners

It appears that area county Election Commissioners are going over a new law that alters several of the state’s election procedures.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill which reduces the early voting period from 29 days to 20 days. The new law shortens the window for requesting absentee ballots.

Ryan Dokter, president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors, stated that when there’s a change, it can produce a challenge because you have to re-educate voters.

He also said the absentee provisions could put even more of a strain on county election staffs.

He noted there is concern about language threatening auditors with fines and jail time if they don’t comply with the law. Generally, he explained, that is not something election officials willfully do.

The change was spurred by a handful of auditors last year sending out pre-filled absentee ballot request forms.

Supporters of the changes argued they are meant to restore integrity in the election system.

Area auditors have been going through a series of training webinars to learn about these changes in the law. These are standard procedural training and refresher courses designed to educate and reinforce area election officials on election laws and practices.

Despite his concerns, Dokter acknowledged there are a few provisions that might be helpful to offices, including closing the polls at 8:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m. He stressed it helps because election workers tend to be older.


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