Iowa legislators discuss voter ID at polls at Cedar Falls forum
Written by Shelley Russell, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -
Earlier this week, lawmakers in the House State Government Committee passed a proposal that would require Iowa voters to show a photo ID at the polls as a way to prevent voter fraud.
But some Democrats believe requiring a photo ID interferes with the fundamental right to vote.
More than 50 people turned out for a legislative public forum in Cedar Falls on Saturday.
"We believe our elections should be accessible, secure and efficient without disenfranchising a single Iowa voter," said Democratic Senator Jeff Danielson.
Although they were invited, no Republican legislators showed up to Saturday's forum, leaving some folks in attendance feeling outnumbered and frustrated.
The Democratic lawmakers agreed that requiring a photo ID would make voting more difficult.
Jeri Thornsberry from the League of Women Voters made similar remarks Saturday morning.
"Eligible voters may be required to buy out-of-state birth certificates or other documentation, often costing voters time and money. For some, even a nominal expense will be a barrier, and that's just wrong," Thornsberry said.
While Republican legislators have supported the proposal as a way to prevent voter fraud, none of them showed up to share their reasoning on Saturday.
"I wish we had some of our colleagues here from the other side who could...we could hear their perspective of this," said Democratic Represenative Deborah Berry.
Still, a handful of people in the audience challenged the lawmakers.
"You say there's no evidence of voter fraud, but how do you know? Especially if somebody's already voted," said Chelle Adkins of Cedar Falls.
Current Iowa law does not require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
Last year Republicans tried to approve a photo ID law, but it never passed.
If passed by the full House and Senate this time around, the law would apply to elections in 2015.
Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz introduced the proposal.
He told KWWL back in September that at least 30 states have some sort of voter ID laws already in place.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.