Your voice is a powerful tool in protecting our civil liberties! Ask candidates these key questions about the issues that are so important to all of us.
Iowa Caucus

No one does politics like Iowa! With the 2016 election cycle in full swing, candidates for federal, state and local offices are out on the campaign trail trying to win your vote. Take some time between now and November 8 to meet the candidates and ask them where they stand on key civil liberties issues.

Here are some questions on key civil liberties issues to get you started:

Immigrants' Rights

For Federal Candidates: 

  • It is generally understood, on both sides of the aisle, that immigration reform at the federal level is needed. What specific elements would the candidate include in reforming the U.S.'s broken immigration system?
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an important tool for young immigrants fully participate in their communities. Does the candidate support the DACA program established by President Obama? Does the candidate support the DACA+ and DAPA programs? What will the candidate do to secure the future of Iowa immigrants? 

For State Candidates:

  • Federal inaction on immigration reform has left states looking for meaningful ways to address the needs of our communities. In order to promote public safety and make roads safer, some states are issuing a driver's license to qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. Does the candidate support the passage of a Temporary Visitor's Drivers License in Iowa? Why or why not?
  • Iowa does not have any so-called "sanctuary cities", but that has not stopped some Iowa legislators from attempting to pass legislation that would prevent local sheriffs from declining to honor warrantless Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests. What are the candidate's thoughts on local sheriffs cooperating with the federal agency ICE on these warrantless detainers?

Criminal Justice Reform

For Federal Candidates:

  • The failed "War on Drugs" has resulted in the mass incarceration of people from poor and minority communities and those with addiction and mental health concerns. What would the candidate do to reform U.S. drug laws, particularly felony convictions for minor drug possession that lead to mass incarceration?

For State Candidates: 

  • What would the candidate do to reform the practice of civil forfeiture, where law enforcement takes motorists' cash and assets, often without even making an arrest?

Racial Justice 

For Federal  OR State Candidates:

  • Even though usage rates are essentially the same, a Black Iowan is 8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person is, making Iowa the worst in the country for racial disparities of marijuana arrests. Does the candidate support decriminalizing marijuana? If not, what other reform does the candidate propose?

For State Candidates:


For Federal Candidates:

  • In the last few months, there's been a lot of discussion in statehouses around the country regarding equal protections for LGBTQ communities. In Iowa, we're fortunate that our Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination based on gender identity. What would you do in Congress to halt or change the harmful direction of recent conversations surrounding transgender people and bathrooms?
  • Transgender people in America face a host of unique challenges and discrimination in their daily life. What will you do in Congress to help build an America where transgender people are free to live as their most authentic selves without fear of discrimination?

Women's Rights

For State Candidates:

  • Women make up about half of today's workforce and their work in crucial to the economic security of their communities and families. Pregnant women should not have to choose between their health and their livelihood. Does the candidate support state level legislation requiring businesses to provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant and breastfeeding women? Reasonable accommodation includes things such as more frequent bathroom breaks, a stool to sit on, ability to carry a water bottle, and private and sanitary places to pump.

Questions? Need more info? Suggestions? Contact us!
Cristina Kinsella, ACLU of Iowa Advocacy Coordinator,, 515-207-3418