Friday 5th March 2021

Republicans on a Senate committee have voted to shrink Iowa’s early voting period from 29 to 18 days and make other absentee balloting changes.

The bill would allow just one absentee ballot “drop box” per county, at the county auditor’s office, and make it a crime for anyone other than the voter or the voter’s relative or guardian to mail an absentee ballot or deliver it to the auditor’s office. Senator Pam Jochum,  a Democrat from Dubuque, says the Senate bill appears designed to squeeze early voting out of existence.

The bill is likely to be approved by the Republican-led legislature next week. Governor Reynolds says a previous 40-day early voting period — eliminated a few years ago — was too long and 18 days is a compromise she’ll be willing to take a look at.