CLINTON — A proposed law in Iowa that would require all eligible voters to present a form of identification at their polling place is receiving some pushback.
The proposal, presented by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate this week, would call for voters to electronically scan their state-issued identification card or voter registration card upon checking in at their polling place. Items such as a driver’s license, military ID, and passports all qualify as valid forms of identification. College ID’s would not be accepted.
The proposed law would introduce electronic poll books to polling locations as opposed to the paper poll books that are currently used. Clinton County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Eric Van Lancker has had a chance to look over the proposal, holding some skepticism.
“I’ve never seen any reason to implement a voter ID law in the state of Iowa,” Van Lancker said Friday. “In my eight years of work in this position, I know of only one story about voting fraud. We’re one of the top states when it comes to voting integrity.”
Pate said in a recent news conference that the proposal could cost upwards of $1 million to implement, and, pending its passing during the 2017 state legislative session, could go into effect ahead of the 2018 or 2020 voting seasons.
Pate’s predecessor Matt Schultz headed a study regarding the state’s voting integrity costing nearly $250,000 in recent years, finding little evidence of voter fraud. Van Lancker says money like that could be used for more useful things.
“In my opinion, money like that could be better spent on upgrading all of our voting databases,” Van Lancker said. “That would help us out a lot. When you’ve got someone spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to only come up with a handful of cases, it seems like kind of a waste.”
While Iowa Republicans are expected to welcome the proposal with open arms, Democrats in Des Moines are concerned that the program could be infringing on the voting rights of Iowans.
“This seems like a solution that’s waiting for a problem,” Van Lancker said. “I think if we’re able to have our computers and voting database linked statewide, that would help us more than what’s proposed in this law.”