The Republican Party of Iowa announced yesterday it will require participants in the Aug. 11 Ames straw poll to present photo ID. The released materials also said, "The Republican Party believes all official elections in Iowa should require every voter to show a photo ID to vote."
The GOP also attacked the state's new election day voter registration law.
Several states have passed ID laws, though court rulings on the constitutionality of such laws have varied.
The ID-to-vote issue has been sharply divided on party lines, with Republicans generally supporting IDs and Democrats generally opposed. In last year's race for Iowa secretary of state, Republican Mary Ann Hanusa supported photo ID. The winning Democrat, Mike Mauro, opposed it, saying a photo ID requirement would make it harder for some citizens to vote. “Life circumstance should not make a person a disenfranchised voter,” he said.
In their straw poll materials, Iowa Republicans also took a shot at the new same day voter registration law passed by the Democratic legislature and signed by Governor Culver this year. The party materials read:
The Democrats lessened Iowa’s election laws even further in 2007 by opening up same day voter registration. This is an open invitation for fraud.
Requiring a photo ID is a fundamental election reform opposed only by liberals. The civil rights of thousands are violated by improperly cast ballots and fraud. Intentional fraud and illegal voting can and will provide the margin of victory in many contests. For an election to be legitimate, Iowans need to know that everyone who voted was an eligible voter.
The Iowa Democratic Party quickly responded with a press release saying:
These accusations are unfounded, contrary to the experiences of states that already have instituted same-day voter registration and seek to limit the public’s involvement in the political process. There is no evidence of any fraud in Iowa elections and the new same-day registration law has additional safeguards in the process.
The release also offered praise of election day registration's positive impact on voter participation.
The new Iowa voter registration law remains untested, as it does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2008.