- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Proposed rules for Iowa’s new voter identification law will add unnecessary complications that could make it harder for people to vote, according to several voting advocacy groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the League of Women Voters of Iowa and six other groups offered a joint statement on the proposed administrative rules as part of a public comment period. They believe the rules could hurt people of color, low-income individuals, the elderly and the disabled.

“We know that when it’s harder and more complicated for people to vote, that essentially disenfranchises them,” said Daniel Zeno, policy council for ACLU of Iowa.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has consistently dismissed such allegations, which were also raised last spring when the law was being debated in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Pate has instead emphasized his office’s commitment to voter integrity and ensuring no eligible voter is turned away at the polls. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.

Pate said in a statement the same groups opposed the legislation earlier this year and “it is no surprise that they are opposing the rules.” He added that the appropriate place to work out disagreements is through the rules process “instead of trying to score political points in the media.”

Other groups opposed to the rules include the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP State Area Conference of Branches, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, Disability Rights Iowa, One Iowa Action, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.

Among the issues they highlighted about the rules are what they see as negative impacts to the treatment of Election Day registrants, the use of voter registration lists and a signature verification provision.

The secretary of state’s office declined to comment on the specific concerns raised, noting there will be a period of time to respond.

“Our role will be to receive public comment and then determine if they have merit and if we need to change our administrative rules,” Pate said.

The office did previously dispute a separate claim by the groups that the rules could complicate how data is shared with non-governmental organizations, like the League of Women Voters of Iowa, for voter registration drives. Pate’s office has explained there are no changes to voter registration drives in the proposed rules or in the law.

Zeno, with ACLU of Iowa, said the rules are written in such a manner that the intent is confusing.

The new law will require voters to show accepted forms of identification at the polls beginning in 2019. In 2018, voters will be asked for ID but can sign an oath verifying their identity if they don’t have identification. They will still be allowed to cast a regular ballot with the soft roll-out.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide