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Newscast: 02.16.22: Iowa Bill Would Require Use of Voter ID When Returning Absentee Ballots; Iowa PBS Content Could Soon be Open to Everyone Online

Iowa State House
The Iowa Statehouse

Iowans who vote absentee would have to include their voter ID or drivers’ license number when returning their ballot under a bill advancing in the House. Voters are currently required to provide that number on their absentee ballot request form.

Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton says this change will, quote, “ensure that the voter ID loop is closed.”

Democratic Representative Mary Wolfe of Clinton says if that change is made it should be very clear and prominent on the envelope.

“In order to avoid completely inadvertently not seeing that, not realizing what it is, sending their absentee ballot back in and then having their ballot not count.”

The bill would also change Iowa’s election recount procedures to provide uniformity across all counties. And it would bar election officials from receiving private donations to help run elections.

Iowans would have to cooperate with the state's child support recovery unit to receive food assistance under a series of proposed welfare program changes advancing in the state House of Representatives, according to the Des Moines Register.

The bill marks the latest push in a years long effort by Iowa Republicans to add more checks on eligibility for the state's public assistance programs, which they say will help to reduce errors and fraud. Those proposals have passed the Senate for multiple years but have repeatedly stalled in the House, where key Republicans have favored taking a slower approach to the changes.

House Study Bill 698 includes some of the elements of the previous Senate proposals. But the House has eliminated some of the most hotly contested portions of the Senate bill, including a proposal that the state would complete a check of household assets to determine whether an Iowan qualifies for food assistance — a move that some opponents believed would kick needy Iowans off food assistance.

A House committee has approved a bill to classify most of Iowa PBS archived content as public record, giving anyone access to it.
If the bill comes law, Iowa PBS videos, tapes, documents and other stored material would become public record 10 years after it was created.

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