Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law on Monday that will shorten both early and Election Day voting.
The law, backed by the Republican-controlled state legislature, closes polls one hour earlier on Election Day from 9:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The law also cuts down early voting days from 29 to 20 days.
“It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election,” Reynolds said in a statement. “This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as other 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.”
The law also bars election officials from sending absentee voting applications to a voter if they don’t request one. The law will require absentee ballots to be received before polls close on Election Day and the ballots must be returned by either the voter, family member, household member or designated caregiver.
Iowa Democrats criticized the law in a tweet.
“Rather than help Iowans keep food on the table and a roof over their family’s heads, @IAGovernor and Iowa Republicans chose instead to fast-track legislation that stacks the deck in their favor and disenfranchises Iowans.”
Rather than help Iowans keep food on the table and a roof over their family’s heads, @IAGovernor and Iowa Republicans chose instead to fast-track legislation that stacks the deck in their favor and disenfranchises Iowans.
We deserve better. https://t.co/EcJKxZR1SN
— Iowa Democrats (@iowademocrats) March 8, 2021
“We deserve better.” (RELATED: Pipe Bomb Found At Iowa Polling Location)
Democratic election attorney Mark Elias said the law was “the first major suppression law” and that he expects litigation.
Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann hailed the signing in a statement.
“This is what leadership looks like. I applaud Gov. Reynolds and legislative Republicans for showing Iowans that the GOP is listening to their concerns and defending the integrity of our states’ election system,” Kaufmann said. “While our election systems were already strong, this bill improves upon the work Republicans did in 2017 when they passed Voter ID laws.”
“The 2020 election showed us where shortfalls in our system existed and Iowa Republicans created solutions targeted at fixing those shortfalls. Democrat spin is strong and wild, but truth shines through.”