Voter ID requirement still a good idea
Requiring Iowans to present photo IDs to vote had potential to help ensure
that our voting process was legitimate. It was a good idea that became twisted
into an unnecessary partisan mess, and it unfortunately needed to be denied
so that details could be ironed out, ensuring that both Democrats and Republicans
are committed to legitimate voting.
The bill, HF 95, was killed by the Senate State Government Committee last week as it failed to pass out of committee. Those in favor of the legislation said it would reduce voter fraud. Opponents said there is no proof of such fraud, and that requiring photo IDs would deter voting. They are both right.
The idea was pushed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican who made this an effective part of his campaign against Democrat Michael Mauro. Many county auditors openly opposed the proposed legislation, leaving many — including us — quite puzzled. One would think that auditors, of all people, would be in favor of ensuring that elections are honest.
The opportunities that are available for voter fraud are undeniable. We have seen some of it firsthand via poll watching in local elections in small towns. In one situation, an elderly farm wife who was not allowed to vote for her husband proclaimed, “Why the hell not? You let me do it at every other election.” And in that same election, snowbirds who were not currently living in the state amazingly cast votes at the poll on Election Day. Whether the election volunteers knowingly allowed these things to happen would be difficult to prove, but requiring photo IDs would certainly serve as a deterrent.
Election volunteers are often retired elderly women who are admittedly overworked on these hectic days. And, we would guess, recruiting these volunteers is becoming an even more difficult task. Requiring IDs to vote would clearly create more work for them, and lines would be longer, undoubtedly turning some potential voters away. That’s hard to deny, but solutions can be created without dumping the entire voter ID procedure. We hope that Democrats and Republicans will work together to offer ideas to use more creative staffing and modern technology to revisit this legislation in ways that will be acceptable to all. CV