DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a sweeping election reform bill.
The new law limits the number of days to vote early in Iowa's elections and criminalizes certain actions of county auditors, among other things.
Similar moves have been made in Georgia.
Iowa lawmakers said early voting must be reined in because of the potential for fraud, even after a secure 2020 election.
The bill was fast-tracked in both chambers at the statehouse last month.
Republicans control both the House and Senate, so despite objections by Democrats and a prolonged debate in the chambers, the bill made its way to the governor's desk in a short amount of time.
The bill itself limits early voting to 20 days—down from 29—scales back absentee ballot collections and criminally penalizes county auditors who don't follow state law.
A fiscal notice published by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency (LSA) lists all of the changes made by the bill, which include:
- Changing polling place closing time to 8 p.m. for all elections (original poll closing time is 9 p.m.)
- Changing the voter registration deadline to 5 p.m. 15 days before each election and requires confirmation notices sent to voters who may have moved to be returned 15 days before an election.
- Changing the amount of time that an employee is entitled to take off from work in order to vote from three hours to two hours
- Changing the number of days prior to an election that any registered voter can apply for an absentee ballot from 120 days to 70 days
Gov. Reynolds released the following statement upon signing the bill Monday:
"It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election. This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot.”