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Iowa voter ID plan is costly and unnecessary, Democrats argue

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Iowans might soon need an ID in order to vote. That's among proposed reforms from Secretary of State Paul Pate.

"It puts the burden on us to do our jobs," he said on Thursday, January 5, 2017.  "It also helps reassure Iowa voters that their vote counts."

It's among Republican legislative priorities when the session begins on Monday, January 9, 2017.

An estimated 5-7% of Iowa voters don't have an ID.  In Scott County, that totals about 6,000 voters.  Under the proposal, they would need to get a state-issued ID card in order to vote.

"I am absolutely opposed to voter ID," said Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz.

Skeptics like Moritz say the measure is just another costly, unfunded mandate.

While designed to prevent voter fraud, it comes at a time when the Hawkeye state is already bracing for spending cuts.

"That's something that the legislature is going to have to decide," Moritz continued.  "Do they want to spend millions of dollars to implement something that we know is not happening in our state."

Iowa Democrats say it also discourages non-drivers, seniors, the disabled, even college students from voting.

"Government should not be in the business of making it harder to vote," said IA Sen. Rob Hogg, (D) Cedar Rapids.  "We need to make participation easier."

Secretary Pate also wants to make more changes to election procedures.  Among other things, it includes a system to verify voter signatures and unified statewide training for precinct workers.

"What we're doing here is continuing the role we're supposed to do -- protecting integrity and encouraging participation," he said.

With a Republican majority in Des Moines, Moritz knows the challenge will be an uphill battle.

"I want to educate my people for my poll sites the way I would like to educate them," she concluded.  "Not necessarily how the state does it."



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