Court puts four new Iowa voting restrictions on hold (updated)

A Polk County District Court has ordered that four voting restrictions Iowa Republicans enacted in 2017 will be on hold pending resolution of a lawsuit the League of United Latin American Citizens and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair filed in May. Plaintiffs had requested the temporary injunction, noting that the new law (House File 516) could disenfranchise eligible voters in various ways and would disproportionately harm Democrats, who are more likely to cast early ballots.

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Only 35 Iowans regained voting rights in Reynolds' first year as governor

Governor Kim Reynolds restored voting rights to 35 Iowans during her first year in the state’s top office. That number represents less than one-tenth of 1 percent of at least 60,000 Iowans who are ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction. Just 241 Iowans–less than one-half of 1 percent of those disenfranchised–have regained their voting rights since Governor Terry Branstad changed the system seven years ago to require a cumbersome application process.

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Jason Kander: If you come for our right to vote, we're coming for your job

“Iowa is on the front lines of this fight for voting rights in America,” Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander told state Democratic convention delegates on June 16. “And I’m here because a threat to democracy anywhere in America is a threat to democracy everywhere in America.”

The founder of Let America Vote was the only non-Iowan on the convention speaker’s list. His remarks were a highlight of the morning proceedings, so I’ve enclosed below the audio clip and full transcript. Among the memorable lines: “let’s send a message to every vote-suppressing politician in Iowa and across America that if you want to attack democracy, you’ve got to go through us. And if you want to come for our right to vote, we’re coming for your job.”

Kander has visited our state more than a dozen times in the last year and a half, raising awareness about voter suppression and headlining events for Democratic candidates or progressive organizations. Let America Vote’s executive director Abe Rakov has been based in Des Moines since last fall.

The group will particularly target the Iowa secretary of state race; Kander told reporters yesterday that Democratic nominee Deidre DeJear is “totally awesome.” (Fact check: true.) Let America Vote will also support some state legislative candidates. Last weekend they had interns out canvassing for four Democratic challengers in the suburbs of Des Moines: Heather Matson (House district 38), Karin Derry (House district 39), Kristin Sunde (House district 42), and Jennifer Konfrst (House district 43). Kander said on June 16 that Let America Vote has more than 40 interns on the ground in Iowa and knocked more than 7,000 doors here in the last five days.

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Paul Pate ignorant about his own voter ID law

Olivia Habinck is a Des Moines Area Community College student and president of the College and Young Democrats of Iowa. -promoted by desmoinesdem

On April 13 I participated in the Iowa Secretary of State’s Student Voter Engagement Summit. This was the second time in the past six months Secretary Paul Pate has invited college students to meet with his staff.

First, I would like say that I appreciate the effort to reach out to college students. It is great the people at the Secretary of State’s office want (or appear to want) to hear our feedback. We have made it clear they could be doing more to increase voter turnout in the state, especially with the new voter ID law.

But I am frustrated by top election officials’ overall lack of understanding of how this new voter ID law affects Iowans and specifically college students.

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Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2017 guest authors

Bleeding Heartland published 140 guest posts by 81 authors in 2016, a record since the blog’s creation in 2007.

I’m happy to report that the bar has been raised: 83 authors contributed 164 guest posts to this website during 2017. Their work covered an incredible range of local, statewide, and national topics.

Some contributors drew on their professional expertise and research, writing in a detached and analytical style. Others produced passionate and intensely personal commentaries, sometimes drawing on painful memories or family history.

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