No matter who is in office, the ACLU of Iowa works tirelessly to defend the voting rights of all Iowans.
But now in Iowa, more than ever, efforts to make it harder for people to vote are underway. Our politicians and even our Iowa Secretary of State have attempted to engage in voter suppression, for example, by shortening early voting from 40 to 29 days, and implementing a voter ID law.
People of color, people with low incomes, senior citizens, and people with disabilities are less likely to have required forms of state-issued photo IDs. But through lawsuits, education, and advocacy, the ACLU of Iowa is fighting back against any efforts by politicians to make it harder for qualified Iowans to vote at every turn.
Voter ID Laws
Iowa passed a voter ID law in 2016. The law does not go fully into effect until January 2019. As of fall 2017, we are currently working through the administrative rules process to lessen the harmful impact of this law on Iowans. Until then, Iowans who are registered to vote but don't have the required ID can sign an affidavit and vote a regular ballot. A lawsuit has also been filed, which may alter the impact of the law.
Voting Rights for Those With Criminal Convictions
Iowa remains just one of three states that imposes lifetime voting bans on people with felonies, even after they have completed their criminal sentences. The ACLU of Iowa contested this with a case, Kelli Griffin v. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, that ended up in front of the Iowa Supreme Court. The lawsuit was not successful, however, and so now the ACLU is advocating for a change in the Iowa Constitution that will allow the more than 50,000 Iowans who have a felony conviction in their background to cast their vote. Find out more.
Click here for the ACLU of Iowa’s guide to help Iowans with a criminal background determine if you can vote, and if not, how to get your right to vote restored.
Note: As of July 25, a judge issued a temporary block of some portions of Iowa’s new voter ID and early voting laws, saying those laws hurt Iowan’s ability to vote. The above information was written before that block. The ACLU of Iowa will update this information as soon as possible.
Iowa Voting Rights Facts
- 1Voter ID has reduced voter turnout in those states where it's been introduced.
- 2In Iowa, there has not ever been even one documented instance of voter impersonation fraud.
- 3Iowa is one of just three states that still impose a lifetime ban on voting for people with a criminal conviction.