Readers should be greatly disappointed with the unprofessional and uncivilized tone from the Quad City Times editorial board’s recent editorial regarding my Election Integrity legislation. Disagreeing about the merits of a policy is perfectly acceptable and I welcome a spirited debate. Instead, without conducting any due diligence about the details of the proposed legislation, the editorial board opted for name calling, cheap shots and scare tactics. It was shoddy journalism and all those involved should be ashamed of the disservice they provided their readers.
Here are the facts of my Election Integrity proposal: It does not disenfranchise anyone, nor is it a photo ID mandate. Every Iowan who registers to vote or is already registered, and does not possess a state-issued ID, will receive one, free of charge. They will not need to go to the DMV or county clerk’s office to obtain this ID card. It will be mailed to them automatically.
This legislation also does not change Iowa’s voter registration process. Election Day voter registration will continue under my proposal.
The Election Integrity Act also does not create any obstacles for college students. They can register to vote using the exact same opportunities currently available. Iowa law requires all Election Day registrants to show proof of identification and proof of residency, but the cards must contain an expiration date. Student voters will be treated just like every other Iowan. If they need a voter ID card, we will supply them with one, for free.
I am proud of Iowa’s record of clean and fair elections, and I intend to keep them that way. Any instance of voter fraud is one too many. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once wrote that every voter has a right under the Constitution to have his vote fairly counted, without it being distorted by fraudulently cast votes. How many members of the Times’ Editorial Board are willing to have their vote cancelled out by a fraudulent one?
Let’s use the Editorial Board’s logic and view it from another prism: Do the members of the editorial board lock their doors before leaving for work in the morning? Why should they, if instances of home invasions in their neighborhood are rare? Certainly, that’s not the approach we take with our homes and that’s not the approach we should take with our elections. We should make them as secure as possible.
My job is to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat. That’s what this proposal accomplishes. This legislation is about more than preventing fraud. It is also about ensuring and preserving the integrity of the vote by reducing human error. One way to do that is by upgrading technology.
Republican and Democratic officials have supported the implementation of electronic poll books throughout Iowa. 72 of Iowa’s 99 counties already use them. This process quickly facilitates voter verification, eliminates the need for cumbersome paper registers, shortens lines at the polls, and greatly reduces the chances of voter or poll worker errors.
My efforts to increase voter participation include the Iowa College Voter Engagement Drive, MyIowaVote.com, the Iowa Youth Caucus, the Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote initiative, and much more. We have a record high of more than 2,048,000 million active registered voters in Iowa. I will continue to work to grow that number, without sacrificing integrity. Voter participation and voter integrity are not mutually exclusive. This proposal helps us improve both.