DES MOINES, Iowa -An eastern Iowa lawmaker says a bill to shorten the early voting period in the state could reach Governor Kim Reynolds office by Wednesday.
Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton made the comment during a Monday night public hearing on the bill.
It would reduce the early voting period by a third as well as place new limits on absentee ballots, and create criminal charges for county auditors who don't follow state rules.
The Republican majority in the legislature strongly supports the bill, while Democrats have been vocal in their opposition.
A Monday afternoon tweet from House Democrats said 964 people signed up to speak against the measure while 22 were in support.
Versions of the bill have passed out of committees in both the Iowa House and Senate. The full Senate is scheduled to vote on its version Tuesday and the House is scheduled to take up its bill Wednesday.
Republicans say it would prevent widespread voter fraud and make sure voting is done in the same way across the state. Republicans also say the legislation will shorten the election cycle for voters.
The bills are opposed by most county auditors, and Democrats who say it amounts to voter suppression. All Democrats have voted against the bills so far.
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 2020)
- 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