# IA-03



Miller-Meeks used proxy voting five times after railing against policy

“[I]t is time for the House to end the mask mandate for fully vaccinated members and bring an end [to] proxy voting,” U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks tweeted in May 2021.

“Now that we are lifting the requirement for fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks, we should bring an end to proxy voting and return in-person work!” the Republican representing Iowa’s second district tweeted in June 2021.

“It’s time for the House to follow the science, lift the mask mandate in chamber, end proxy voting, and return to normal,” Miller-Meeks tweeted in February 2022.

Yet over the past two years Miller-Meeks signed five letters designating Republican colleagues to cast votes on her behalf. Most recently, she used a proxy for the final House floor votes of the year, recorded late last week.

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Self-governance: It could be worse. It should be better

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

“It could be worse.”

At the start of 2022, friends may have uttered those four words to console or comfort us.

As the midterm elections approach, those four words may be prophetic.

Every election in a democracy —from township to presidency — is threatened by voters who are ill-informed, misinformed, and/or uninformed.

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Iowa absentee ballot numbers in the 2022 general election

Continuing a Bleeding Heartland tradition, I will post Iowa’s latest absentee ballot numbers, statewide and for each Congressional district, every weekday, based on figures released by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. You can find Iowa’s new Congressional map here or at the bottom of this post.

You can compare this year’s numbers to daily charts from the last five election cycles by clicking through to Bleeding Heartland’s archive of absentee ballot totals from 2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, and 2012. Remember that Iowa had longer early voting windows for all of those elections: 40 days through 2016, and 29 days for 2018 and 2020. Republicans shortened the early voting period as part of a wide-ranging effort to suppress early voting in 2021.

In addition, the Secretary of State’s office has changed the format of its absentee ballot statistics. In the past, all ballots received were lumped together, whether the Iowans voted early by mail or in person.

Now, the statistics show ballots returned by mail or email (an option for military or overseas voters), ballots cast from a health care facility, early votes cast in person at county elections offices, and those cast in person at satellite locations. I’ve adjusted my tables accordingly.

Since larger, Democratic-leaning counties tend to have more satellite voting locations, I’ll be on the lookout for Republican lawmakers to attempt to further restrict that voting method during the coming legislative sessions. (The 2021 law put up some new roadblocks for satellite voting.)

The Secretary of State’s office also publishes daily absentee ballot totals by Iowa county, state House district, and state Senate district.

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Iowa Republicans call Democrats extreme on abortion. Will voters buy it?

Republicans seeking Iowa’s federal offices take some important advantages into the November election. Most are incumbents with more money to spend than their challengers. Recent history suggests midterms favor the party out of power in Washington, and President Joe Biden has low approval numbers in Iowa.

One wild card complicates the equation for GOP candidates here, as in many other states. Republicans are on record supporting near-total abortion bans, while a majority of voters favor keeping abortion mostly legal.

Republican campaign messaging has emphasized other topics, such as inflation, taxes, or unpopular Washington politicians. When they can’t avoid talking about abortion, Republicans have claimed their Democratic opponents are the real extremists on the issue.

Several races may hinge on whether moderate voters buy into that distortion of the facts.

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Voters, don't let tv ads mislead you

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

Televisions are getting larger, but that does not make it easier to decipher the political ads that are as common these days as gnats at a picnic.

There is one thing we should understand about these ads: Their purpose is not to educate voters or inform them about the finer points of a candidate’s views. Instead, their purpose is to scare us, or mislead us, or just confuse us.

One such example tells Iowa viewers that U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa’s third district, refuses to sign a pledge to support term limits for members of Congress. (Term Limits Action is spending $157,203 to run the ads.)

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Four takeaways for Iowa from the pro-choice vote in Kansas

In a huge victory for bodily autonomy, Kansas voters on August 2 overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have cleared a path for Republican lawmakers to ban abortion. With about 95 percent of votes counted, the “no” vote (against removing abortion protections from the Kansas constitution) led the “yes” vote by 58.8 percent to 41.2 percent.

Iowa Democrats and Republicans should pay attention to the results.

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