I’ve heard the buzz about Voter ID bills over the country and thought, “Oh, Iowa won’t fall for that.”
I was way too confident. One Voter ID bill passed the Iowa House last year and now Secretary of State Schultz has brought forth another. Of course, we want to make sure each voter is legally entitled, but has there been a sudden outbreak of fraud?
Austin Freick, President of College and Young Democrats of Iowa says it is a costly bill and “so restrictive that nearly every student ID would not be valid at the polls, and even state-issued photo IDs given to lawmakers at the capitol do not meet these strict requirements.” The Iowa Federation of College Republicans handed out cupcakes last week at the Statehouse to anyone who could show an ID and found that lawmakers’ IDs would not meet the proposed law’s requirements. Both groups dramatize how difficult it would be for anyone without a driver’s license to vote.
Thirty-one states have passed Voter ID laws. Response to a rash of fraud?
Not according to a report from the National Republican Lawyers Association which documented all cases of voter fraud in the country over the entire last decade and found only 311 cases. Even Secretary Schultz who introduced the Iowa bill and who oversees elections admitted no evidence of voter fraud here. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said, “There is not a single county auditor who supports” this effort.
Democrat leaders say it’s an effort to defeat President Obama. They point out that ID fraud rules as written around the country would keep out many college students, poor people, and aging seniors – all groups that gave Obama large support. “But don’t states offer free ID’s to voters who need them?” you ask. Yes, but the process requires more time, money, and energy than many students, seniors and working poor can afford. When I’m too old to drive, I would like my voter registration to be enough.