Monday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law SF 413. The new law strengthens and improves Iowa elections by updating polling site hours, early voting windows, rules for absentee ballots and establishes new penalties for County Auditors that break the law.
Iowa Field Deport detailed the legislation a few days ago: Iowa Republicans Seize on the Opportunity to Improve Election Integrity.
Key provisions include:
- Adding and strengthening Election Misconduct penalties, such as penalties for election officials who fail to follow or implement Secretary of State guidance or disregard the law.
- Mandates voter registration maintenance and creates a penalty for election officials who fail to perform voter maintenance.
- Reforms the absentee ballot process:
- Adjusts the absentee ballot request window to begin at 70 days before an election rather than 120
- Prohibits pre-filled absentee ballot request forms with exceptions for the type and date of election
- Establishes that Absentee Ballots shall be mailed no more than 18 days before the election.
- Absentee voting in person and satellite voting can not start until 18 days before the election.
- Adds new Restrictions on ballot harvesting by stipulating that only the voter or individual who lives in the same house as the voter, an immediate family member, or a qualified caretaker may return a completed Abesneet ballot
In a statement to the press after signing the bill, Governor Reynolds touted that the new law would promote transparency and accountability in our elections and boost confidence in the process.
“It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election. This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot,” noted the Governor.
The Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann praised the effort to strengthen and improve the election process.
“This is what leadership looks like. I applaud Gov. Reynolds and legislative Republicans for showing Iowans that the GOP is listening to their concerns and defending the integrity of our states’ election system. While our election systems were already strong, this bill improves upon the work Republicans did in 2017 when they passed Voter ID laws. The 2020 election showed us where shortfalls in our system existed and Iowa Republicans created solutions targeted at fixing those shortfalls. Democrat spin is strong and wild, but truth shines through,” Kaufmann shouted.