Republicans Add Voter ID Requirement to State Budget Before Adjourning

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa legislature made several last minute moves before it adjourned for the year Sunday afternoon just after 1:30 pm.

Republicans infuriated Democrats by passing a voter ID requirement for people voting early in-person at a courthouse or auditor's office to present an ID before receiving a ballot.

In addition, county auditors will not be allowed to use a voter database to correct discrepancies on absentee ballot requests, but instead must contact the voter to obtain the information - by telephone and email, and then by mail.

The new voting language was attached to the state budget after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise on an earlier election bill.

That measure will require the Iowa Secretary of State to get approval from a group of lawmakers -the Legislative Council - before changing election procedures. In its original form, the bill would have barred a move made by Secretary of State Paul Pate to mail absentee ballot requests to all registered voters for the June 2nd primary. That election set a record for turnout, with 80 percent of votes being cast by absentee ballots.

The budget itself, $7.78 billion, was passed by the Senate before 6 am Sunday morning and taken up and approved by the House later in the day. The budget includes a $32 million increase for the Medicaid health care program. It cuts the Iowa Board of Regents and the Iowa Judicial Branch by $500,000 each.

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