Iowa’s new election law will not face its first big test until next year’s midterms, but a statewide political group said this month’s vote for local races showed glimpses in their opinion of how the changes will hinder participation.
Earlier this month, communities across Iowa held municipal and school board elections. It follows last spring’s adoption of an election law that reduces the early voting period in Iowa, while adding restrictions on absentee ballots.
Terese Grant, President of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, said there were no widespread disruptions, but there were reports of voters not aware of the changes, or situations of ballots encountering issues with the cutoff point.
She predicted any anecdotal reports will morph into much bigger problems for next year’s statewide election. The League is circulating online petitions, demanding legislative leaders repeal what they believe are controversial aspects of the law.
When the sweeping bill was passed, supporters argued it provided uniformity in carrying out elections, while restoring faith in the process.
The move coincided with national rhetoric that questioned the outcome of the presidential election.
Grant argued her position that Iowa’s changes are too dramatic for voters, especially when they appeared to embrace these options in 2020, including voting absentee.
Last year, more than one million Iowans voted absentee, breaking the previous state record.
Grant added new restrictions on setting up satellite voting remains another top concern going into next year. In addition to calls to repeal the changes, Iowa’s election law also is being challenged in court by civil rights advocates.
It should be noted that local election commissioners reported no issues with the city and state elections on November 2nd.