State Watch

Iowa governor signs bill to shorten early voting, close polls earlier

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a Republican-championed bill on Monday that shortens the state’s early voting period and closes the polls earlier on Election Day.

The Iowa governor announced she had placed her signature on Senate File 413 along with a number of other bills months after Iowa reported a record number of voters in the 2020 election.

Under the law, Iowa’s early voting period is reduced from 29 days to 20 days and polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m. for state and federal elections rather than 9 p.m. Any absentee ballots are required to arrive before the polls close, rather than the previous requirement of being in the mail the day before Election Day and arriving before noon the following Monday.

The newly signed law also forbids auditors and election officials from not enforcing state election laws or going against the Iowa secretary of state’s guidelines, saying they could potentially face fines of up to $10,000.

The law had passed both chambers of the Iowa legislature last month after every Republican present voted to approve it and every Democrat present voted against it, the Des Moines Register reported. 

Iowa Republicans pursued the legislation as an election integrity measure, saying it will bring consistency to elections across the state.

“It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election,” Reynolds said in a release. “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.”

Opponents of the legislation have argued that it will restrict voting and will not address election security.

GOP-led state legislatures across the country are leading similar efforts to prevent voter fraud after former President Trump attributed his loss to widespread fraud, despite no evidence for such claims.

The Georgia state Senate voted on Monday to repeal no-excuse absentee voting after a record number of voters sent Democrats to the Senate and selected the Democratic presidential nominee.

Iowa documented more than 1.7 million voters in the 2020 election, with more than 1 million of those voting early either by mail or in person, according to the Des Moines Register. Trump won the state by about 8 percentage points.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Early voting Iowa polling hours Voting

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