UPDATE: Governor Kim Reynolds signed this legislation on June 30.
Iowa Republicans have perfected the art of sneaking attacks on constitutional rights or the rule of law into budget bills shortly before adjourning for the year.
Last-minute budget amendments in 2019 sought to shorten the Iowa Supreme Court chief justice’s term, increase the governor’s influence over selecting judges, restrict medical care for transgender Iowans, and stop Planned Parenthood from obtaining sex education grants. Those measures spawned four lawsuits.
Judges will surely hear challenges to legislation Republicans enacted while burning the midnight oil this past weekend. A forthcoming post will address a 24-hour waiting period for abortion, approved during the session’s closing hours.
This post focuses on provisions that would make it harder for Iowans to vote by mail. Marc Elias, one of the country’s most prominent Democratic election lawyers, promised on June 14, “This will not stand. We will sue.”
Don’t bet against him. A Polk County District Court already struck down similar language in a 2017 Iowa law as “irrational, illogical, and wholly unjustifiable.”