Iowa Lawmakers Look at Plan to Limit Early Voting

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers are looking at a sweeping election bill that would shorten the early voting period by more than a third, and place new limits on absentee ballots.

It would also create new criminal charges for county auditors who don't to follow state rules.

The bill is backed by Republicans, who say it will prevent widespread voter fraud and make sure voting is done in the same way across the state.

It's opposed by most county auditors, and some Democrats who say it amounts to voter suppression.

The Senate and House have separate versions of the bill, and a House committee is set to vote on its version Thursday.

The 2020 election in Iowa saw a record number of absent ballots cast, as well as an overall record in voting numbers.

The bills being considered would:

  • Shorten the early voting period from 29 days to 18.
  • Prevent auditors from sending out absentee ballots until mid-October;
  • Bar auditors from mailing absentee ballot request forms (Secretary Paul Pate sent absentee ballot request forms to all voters in 20200
  • Call for absentee ballots to be returned only by care givers and immediate family members
  • Allow for only one early ballot drop box in each county
  • Require the state attorney general to investigate all accusations of voter fraud

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