Voter ID Bill Proposal

Recently Secretary of State Matt Schultz released his voter ID bill, an irresponsible and misguided plan that will make it harder for Iowans to vote while costing taxpayers millions.

Like House File 95, the attempt last year to implement voter ID, Schultz’s bill would have a major impact on groups that are much less likely to have a valid photo ID. In particular, this bill would target students, senior citizens, and minority groups – all groups that vote Democratic in elections.

Although Schultz argues that his bill would allow college and university IDs to be used, he’s not being honest. Valid IDs, under this bill, must have an expiration date, a practice that even the largest institutions in the state do not follow. His claim that photo IDs for voting will be available for free is also less than truthful, while the Department of Transportation would give ID cards for free, they would still require proof of identification like a passport of birth certificate first. If someone does not have those pieces of identification the hassle and cost to obtain them would prevent them from voting.

It’s also clear that Schultz has given little thought to how much this restrictive bill would cost Iowa taxpayers. Similar bills have cost neighboring states at much as $6 million, including millions for education programs, millions for extra staff to issue IDs and process the flood of provisional ballots that will be filled out. Instead of taking these costs into account, Schultz says there will only be a “nominal” cost to print flyers – the only voter education that he plans to do.

The DNC has documented similar action taken by Republicans across the country with the intent to make voting more difficult, particularly for Democratic groups. Their report, which can be found at ProtectingTheVote.org, shows how for the first time in decades, elected officials are making voting less accessible across the country. Secretary Schultz has indicated that voter ID would just be the first step to his reforms; this report shows many of the other policies he’s likely in favor of as well.

If this bill passed here in Iowa, it would be millions of dollars spent and countless Iowans disenfranchised, all for a problem that doesn’t exist. Voter fraud has never been an issue in Iowa or anywhere across the country. These efforts are misguided and must be stopped.

Norm Sterzenbach

Executive Director

Iowa Democratic Party

515-244-7292 ext 692

nsterzenbach@iowademocrats.org