Iowa governor signs bill limiting use of voter database

June 30, 2020 GMT

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill Tuesday that will deny county officials the ability to use a voter database to confirm missing or incorrect information on absentee ballot requests.

The measure was inserted by Republicans into a massive budget bill on the final day of the legislative session. Reynolds signed the measure into law, opting not to kill the rule change with a line-item veto.

Republican Rep. Gary Mohr defended the measure in floor debate as an election security measure that would help “ensure a person who applies for an absentee ballot is the one who casts the absentee ballot.”


The bill requires a county election officials who notices missing or incorrect information on a ballot request form to telephone or email the person requesting the ballot within 24 hours. If that fails the auditor must mail a letter. Currently an auditor can double-check information in the voter database and correct it if needed. A similar administrative rule was struck down by a judge last year and the law could draw another legal challenge.

County election officials were opposed to the bill. Democrats labeled it a voter suppression bill that makes the job of county election officials more difficult.