Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Notes on a BAD election bill

This is just tweets, minimally edited:

Still reading but new election bill very bad https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SSB1241&ga=88

All the provisions put together make this about as bad as the ID bill. This after GOP said they were planning no major election law changes

One provision that seems targeted straight at the Peoples Republic: no satellite voting in state owned buildings. With no sites at UIHC and the IMU the lines will be longer for everyone everywhere else.

So it's OK for a student at Dordt or Luther to vote early on campus, but not at UI ISU UNI or the community colleges?

2016 in Johnson County: 2004 voters at IMU, 2016 (not a typo) at UIHC, and 309 at other campus sites. All those sites banned under proposed bill. All those voters added to lines at other voting sites - or maybe, and that's the idea, not voting at all.

Cross references are always my weak point reading legislation but at first look it seems this bill could make voters inactive simply for not responding to a mailing, rather than current law which only activates if USPS returns mail as undeliverable.
Chris Andringa: @cjandringa

Step 1: send a card in January, and immediately make them inactive.
Step 2: send another scary notice in April.
Step 3: cancel them if they don't respond by July 1?!? (p. 39, lines 26-30; 48A.30 is the cancellation section)
These kinds of response required mailings have been big problems in other states - voters suddenly finding themselves unregistered. How much of this could automatic registration fix instead? 🤔

One provision targets student specifically and maybe illegally: University has to send a mailing at graduation that in effect encourages them to cancel registration.  No other group is targeted the same way.

Another item would add a lot of information about tax levy rates to the ballot itself for bond issues (in effect, encouraging a No vote; there;s no corresponding requirement to list any benefits of the proposal.)

Signature requirements would increase for independent candidates running in general elections - perhaps because Axne beat Young with under 50% in a six way race?
Chris Andringa: @cjandringa Is this really stating that *any* tied election gets a special (pp. 27-28)? Hello, township trustee special elections!
A runoff may be better than drawing a name for a legislative seat, but people have no idea how many township trustee elections are tied with two write in votes each. Would definitely need to be an exception for that.

Under current law there are no provisions at all for a township special election. All vacancies are filled by appointment till the next general election - which has not been  a crisis. Biggest problem is usually finding someone willing to do the job.

There's a different bill that would use postal bar codes but in this bill absentees would have to be in auditors office before polls close. The Newspeak term for this is 'sure count' 🙄

Bill would change close to 8 for all elections. Would also change registered deadline to 10 days for all elections. Currently 10 for general 11 for all others.

The consistency and extra day for registration deadline is good, but that's a Saturday. Will auditors have to be open Saturday for a reg deadline for a special election in their smallest city?

Pages and pages devoted to Roby Smith's pet peeve: auditor's discretion in which order parties are listed. Also changes auditor's signature on ballot to a county seal. Reasonable minds can disagree, but IMHO it's petty.

About the only thing I do like (and reasonable minds disagree) is a "sore loser" law that would keep primary losers from running as indys in the general election. I have always believed that if you buy into a nomination process you should accept the outcome and not get a do-over.

Can't wait to hear Roby Smith's "official" reasons for some of these items (we all know the real reasons). Should be even sillier than his "no one should vote before a debate" rationale for dropping 11 days of early voting, or his technically impossible 2017 ballot rotation plan.

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