(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – January 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement in support of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s proposed election integrity package.
“This opening proposal is a solid start toward protecting Iowans’ interests at the ballot box,” Public Interest Legal Foundation Research Director Logan Churchwell said. “Even the tightest fiscal conservative shouldn’t balk at the projected $1 million price tag. Des Moines should make this investment soon and reap the benefits of improved faith and voter participation. Cutting corners will only risk even greater expenses in the form of legal fees brought by parties acting to block these common-sense policies outright.”
The potential omnibus bill advertises a variety of reforms seen in other states and helps pioneer newer policies.
The voter identification requirement is a federal court-tested, popularly-approved measure in a growing number of states that should include Iowa. The free ID alternative is a critical component that has served other states well, similar to South Carolina’s law.
It is crucial that absentee voter ID be signed into law. Too few states have such measures on the books, which address one of the most common forms of voter fraud and ballot harvesting.
Standardized use of electronic poll books with proper training can do more to streamline the voting experience than may initially meet the eye. Having the ability to swipe ID cards during check-in will reduce line lengths and poll worker error that could have otherwise resulted in the submission of a provisional ballot.
Reforming deadlines for proxy voter registration and absentee ballots returns are necessary to prevent last-minute chaos for administrators before polls open on Election Day. Public servants need ample time to properly assist each prospective and distance voter without having to cut corners. Setting a 120 day absentee ballot request window will better serve voters both foreign and domestic.
Uniform certification of compliance with election law and alerting State officers of possible misconduct is a necessary procedure similar to a policy seen in Ohio. This effort could also bolster the public record to demonstrate a successfully-administered election and limit last minute gambits to trigger political recounts like witnessed in 2016.
The proposal is a critical reform package, but there is more work to be done in specific counties with respect to reducing outdated voter records. In 2015, PILF gave notice to two counties (Fremont and Lyons) for showing at least 101 percent voter registration rates.
“There are two sides to the election integrity equation,” Churchwell added. “Voter ID policies and the like a great, but careful voter roll maintenance must be occurring as well. Election administrators need to better live up to their end of the bargain.”
Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.