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How the For the People Act Would Blunt Iowa's New Voter Suppression Law

WASHINGTON - Earlier this week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that makes it harder for Iowans to vote early, will prevent tens of thousands from casting their ballots by mail, and purge thousands off of the voter rolls.

As the Associated Press reports, the law specifically:

  • Shortens the early voting period to 20 days from the current 29, just three years after Republicans reduced the period from 40 days, and forces voting sites to close earlier at 8 p.m. 
  • Requires most mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day and will prevent election officials from sending out absentee ballot request forms unless voters request them
  • Removes voters from the rolls if they miss voting in a general election or don’t report a change in address

This new law is the opening salvo of a coordinated campaign by conservative legislators across the country, with GOP lawmakers having proposed more than 250 bills in at least 43 states that seek to further suppress the vote. Similar bills are also moving in ArizonaFloridaGeorgia, and other states.

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Yet, many of these reckless laws would be blunted by the For the People Act, which would:

  • Require at least 15 consecutive days of early voting and ensure that early voting sites are open for at least 10 hours each day
  • Require states to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail in federal elections (no-excuse absentee voting)
  • Establish automatic voter registration and same-day registration nationwide
  • Require every state to create online systems where Americans can register to vote, update their registration information, and request their absentee ballots
  • Prohibit the voter purges like the one signed into law in Iowa
  • Commit Congress to passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would re-establish pre-clearance requirements for states like Iowa that attempt to pass restrictive voting measures

Congress has the authority and the opportunity to end this assault on our democracy, and each new voter restriction bill that’s proposed in a statehouse or signed into law by a governor increases the urgency for federal lawmakers to address this crisis. Passing the For the People Act through the Senate is the first—and best—line of defense against this effort by Republicans to keep millions of Americans from voting in future elections.

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Repair Our Democracy is focused on defending the For the People Act against bad-faith attacks and outright lies.

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