Sioux County Auditor Testifies Against Voting Bill

Des Moines, Iowa (RI/KIWA) — The Sioux County Auditor testified against provisions of a bill that shortens Iowa’s early voting period and makes other election law changes.

Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton convened a public hearing Monday night and announced that the bill will be slightly adjusted, to set up a 21-day period for absentee voting.

(as said) “It is really easy to vote absentee today under current law,” Kaufmann said, “and it will be really easy to vote absentee after this bill passes and is sent to the governor’s office Wednesday night.”

Gary Leffler of West Des Moines, a Trump supporter who testified during the public hearing, urged Iowa lawmakers to investigate allegations of election fraud in other states.

(as asid) “I was at the (U.S.) Capitol on January 6. What people are concerned about is this: voter integrity,” Leffler said. “…They’re trying to figure out: How in the world did this happen?”

Janice Weiner of Iowa City says just as Senator Joni Ernst won her election, President Biden won freely and fairly.

(as said) “The remedy for the big lie of a stolen election is not to take an ax to election laws that work exceedingly well,” she said. “It’s simply to tell the truth.”

Election officials from four Iowa counties drove to Des Moines to urge legislators to make major changes in the bill.

Sioux County Auditor Ryan Dokter tells us what he told legislators.

(as said) “Regarding satellite voting in larger counties, the county auditors there set up satellite polling locations because they know where those locations will be the most effective so that they don’t waste time and money in ineffective locations… whether those be being libraries or other places where they can be sure to use that time and those resources wisely. That bill takes that ability away and makes the voters have to petition for those sites only. So there would be no option for the auditors to determine for themselves where these satellite voting locations would be.”

Dokter says these satellite locations are for in-person absentee voting before the actual election day. He says the bill would give broad authority to the Secretary of State.

(as said) “It’s basically giving some more power to that position. Basically putting the county auditors under the direct supervision of the Secretary of State’s office. [I] was warning about the unintended consequences of that if that position changes from one party to another hopefully there’s no… I guess buyer’s remorse on that kind of action… where now there might be county auditors targeted because they’re in a different party than the current Secretary of State. I mean, it just creates more friction between those positions of elected government. And then also kind of in that line… There’s plenty of uniformity in elections and that’s good. But what’s also good about each county doing something maybe slightly differently when it comes to elections… I’m not saying they’re doing anything wrong, but the processes might be just slightly different… that creates further integrity in elections because if somebody is going to try to interfere or do something with elections if it’s completely uniform across the board…. they know they’re going to be successful in 99 counties rather than just that one county. And then the last thing that I talked about was local control and I think all these points that we brought up tie back to local control. There’s a provision in the bill to take county home rule away as it pertains to elections. Local county leaders know what’s best for their community. They live here they work here. They see the need and that local decision-making is really key to maintain.”

Rebecca Bissell, a Republican who is the Adams County Auditor, says due to Postal Service delays, the shorter window for mail-in voting will cause problems.

(as said) “Smaller rural counties have a large elderly population who typically choose to vote absentee because of weather or health concerns,” Bissell said. “Why are we making it harder for them to vote?”

Auditors from Grundy and Woodbury counties also testified against the bill.

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