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Gov. Reynolds signs election reform bill limiting length of absentee, election day voting

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 4:21 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Changes to Iowa’s election laws will become law after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill on Monday.

Reynolds signed Senate File 413, according to a statement released by her office, which made changes to the absentee voting process, voter list maintenance activities, and limited the length of election day voting, among other changes. Some of the changes the bill brings include cutting down the early voting period by 9 days, requiring most mail-in ballots to be received by the time polls close on election day, as well as requiring polls in all elections to be closed by 8:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m.

Democrats opposed the bill, saying it makes it harder for Iowans to vote. Meanwhile, republicans believe the bill is necessary for people to feel confident that elections are secure.

“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,” Reynolds said, in a statement.

Shortly after the bill passed, Democratic lawmakers assailed the legislation, with some calling it a voter suppression bill.

“There’s this big lie of election fraud that occurred, across the country and maybe even here in Iowa and it’s a lie. It’s legislation based on false premise,” Rep. Todd Prichard said in the meeting.

House Speaker Pat Grassley said the bill has nothing to do with election fraud claims. Instead, he said it’s about making sure Iowans feel secure with the election process.

“We’ve had record turnout after we’ve passed voter ID, where we passed the bar code security on absentee voting. I think, I think Iowans want us to be doing these things to make sure there is confidence in the elections, I don’t think it’s something we should shy away from,” Speaker Grassley added.

The bill was one of over a dozen that Reynolds signed on Monday.

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