What better time?

Ira Lacher reflects on the unprecedented crisis we are facing. -promoted by Laura Belin

What will we have learned after this has ended?

How will America and Americans be different?

How will America and Americans be better?

What kind of nation will America be in the year 1 A.C. (after COVID-19) that we were not in the year 1 B.C. (before COVID-19)?

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"Plan B" for the Iowa caucuses will leave many disenfranchised

The Iowa Democratic Party has approved a plan to replace the “virtual caucus” recently nixed by the Democratic National Committee.

But while a news release hailed the proposal to “increase participation and make the caucuses more accessible for Iowans who have traditionally been unable to attend their in-person precinct caucus,” many Democrats won’t be able to use satellite caucuses.

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Amy Klobuchar's practical health care plan for seniors

Bill Witt represented part of Black Hawk County in the Iowa House for ten years and is a well-known advocate for improving health care services and environmental causes. -promoted by Laura Belin

While the big political noise machines have traded barrages in a host of high-profile battles over border security, student debt, the Affordable Care Act, Afghanistan, and more, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has quietly, and with her customary adroitness, slipped around the flanks of the clanking, clattering behemoths and planted her standard on strategic, long-term high ground: the security and health of America’s seniors.

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Four takeaways from Iowa's 2018 early voting numbers

Fourteenth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2018 state and federal elections.

The November election was the first since Republicans shortened our state’s early voting window. Proponents of the 2017 law, best known for requiring voter ID, never made a case for limiting early voting. Nor did they produce evidence of any problems caused by allowing Iowans to cast ballots 40 days before elections. (County auditors needed to have ballots ready anyway, since federal law requires them to send overseas military ballots 45 days in advance.)

The power play was inspired by a simple fact: Iowa Democrats rely more on early voting than do Republicans. Switching from 40 days to 29 gave Democratic volunteers two fewer weekends to “chase” absentee ballots.

Now that the statewide statistical report on the 2018 general election is available, we can see how early voting played out in a compressed time frame. Bleeding Heartland previously discussed notable findings on turnout rates for Iowans of different political affiliations, age groups, and gender.

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13 questions to ask at the public hearing on voter ID rules

This afternoon’s public hearing at the Iowa Secretary of State’s office probably will not lead to any substantial revisions in the administrative rules proposed to implement Iowa’s new election law. While the bill was working its way through the legislature, neither Secretary of State Paul Pate nor Republican lawmakers acknowledged research from other states, indicating voter ID and signature verification requirements would suppress voting by some eligible citizens, especially in certain groups.

Nevertheless, the record from today’s hearing could become important in potential future court rulings on the law.

Gerry Hebert, one of the country’s top experts on voting rights law, told an audience in Des Moines last week that testimony at public hearings has sometimes been useful in litigation on other states’ voting restrictions. Speaking to Bleeding Heartland after that event, Hebert offered more specific suggestions on questions that would be helpful for citizens to ask today.

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