Iowa SOS alters graphics, downplaying voter roll changes

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office altered how it publicizes monthly voter registration numbers after moving 294,000 Iowa voters to “inactive” status this spring.

For years, shareable graphics posted every month featured the number and partisan breakdown of active registrants in each Iowa Congressional district. Since May, Secretary of State Paul Pate has posted images with totals that include inactive voters.

The new approach obscures the fact that active registrants dropped by about 13 percent during the latest round of voter roll maintenance in April.

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Secretary of State's office wrongly inactivated many Iowa voters

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office moved thousands of Iowans who did not vote in the 2020 general election to “inactive” status this month. But according to Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a recent “No Activity” mailing from the state went to at least three groups of voters who should not have received it. Consequently, state officials “incorrectly inactivated” hundreds of voters in Linn County alone.

Staff in the Secretary of State’s office did not reply to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries on April 23, nor did they respond to a “Notice of Technical Infraction and Letter of Instruction Miller sent to Secretary of State Paul Pate the previous day.

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Grassley misleads on Republican "voting reform laws"

Herb Strentz: Senator Chuck Grassley does not acknowledge that if Americans are losing faith in democracy, it is partly because he and others avoid saying Joe Biden won the election. -promoted by Laura Belin

Seems like old times.

The April 10 issue of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s newsletter, THE SCOOP, calls to mind his old deceptions about government-run health plans that would “pull the plug on grandma,” and about the limited estate tax, which Grassley wrongly says has driven Iowa farm families into poverty or liquidation

Fear-mongering about “death panels” arose in 2009 in opposition to the health care reform bill (the Affordable Care Act). The “death tax” rhetoric continues to be a favorite for Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst, even though Neil Hamilton, former director of the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, has described such claims as “hogwash.”

In THE SCOOP, Grassley now misleads readers about what the state of Georgia’s recently enacted “voting reform” would do, and why Republican state legislatures around the nation are considering or have already adopted new restrictions on voting

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Revised GOP election bill would exclude thousands more Iowa voters

UPDATE: Governor Reynolds signed the bill on March 8. Top Democratic election attorney Marc Elias posted on Twitter, “This is the first major suppression law since the 2020 election. Expect litigation here and elsewhere GOP legislatures follow this path.” Bleeding Heartland covered the lawsuit Elias filed here. Original post follows.

On a party-line vote of 30 to 18, the Iowa Senate on February 23 approved Senate File 413, a new version of a bill that would restrict every aspect of the early voting process. The following day, the Iowa House approved the bill on a party-line 57 to 37 vote. Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the bill; Republican Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have each endorsed limits on early voting in recent days.

Although State Senator Roby Smith’s amendment addressed a few of the concerns raised by county auditors and advocates for vulnerable populations, the revised legislation would make it even harder for thousands of Iowans to have their absentee ballots counted. In a new twist, it shortens election-day voting hours as well.

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Iowa Republicans unveil assault on early voting

UPDATE: The Iowa Senate and House approved a revised version of this bill on February 23 and 24. Original post follows.

Republican-controlled states “are increasingly not ‘laboratories of democracy,’ but ‘laboratories of democratic backsliding,’” political scientist Jake Grumbach noted in a new article by Perry Bacon Jr. for FiveThirtyEight.com.

Look no further than the Iowa legislature, where House and Senate Republicans unveiled a wide-ranging election bill on February 16. The 37-page legislation would make it much harder for Iowans to obtain and cast absentee ballots, either using the mail or voting early in person.

While House Republicans worked with Democrats to remove many voter suppression provisions from election bills the Iowa Senate had approved in 2019 and 2020, House State Government Committee chair Bobby Kaufmann is now on board with every piece of this year’s attempt to make it harder for Iowans to vote.

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Linn County auditor exploring 2022 bid for Iowa secretary of state

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller may run for secretary of state next year, the Democrat announced on his blog January 30. Miller created an exploratory committee in November with the goal of recruiting “a current or former county auditor to run for Secretary of State in 2022 or to run for Secretary of State myself.”

If Miller runs for statewide office, he’ll transfer money raised by the exploratory committee to his campaign account. He plans to transfer any unspent funds to the Iowa Democratic Party if he decides not to challenge Republican incumbent Paul Pate.

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