Waterloo, Iowa (KWWL) – Happening now in the Iowa State Senate, a multi-faceted bill could make some big changes when it comes to elections here in Iowa. Senate File 575 advanced out of a committee before last week’s funnel deadline.
Among changes the bill pitches is a state-wide closure of polls on election night at 8 p.m. They currently stay open until 9 p.m. in most statewide contests, and in many local elections.
Also, satellite, or early voting, would be banned from state-owned buildings — including the state’s public universities.
A Junior at Iowa State University says he feels his voting rights would be infringed if the bill becomes law:
“I voted all throughout college and this would be a hindrance to my access to vote. I believe the government would be doing a disservice to students who attend Iowa State University, University of Iowa, or University of Northern Iowa by removing the ability to vote early on campus,” Ethan Dunn said.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Roby Smith, a Davenport Republican. His Democratic counterpart Pam Jochum from Dubuque says she believes the bill could also pose a problem for people with disabilities.
“It also has some signature verification elements in absentee voting, this is a problem, this is personal for me. My sister passed of multiple sclerosis and the disease effected her ability to write to a very great extent,” Senator Jochum said.
The bill could also be an obstacle for people with disabilities and people who are veterans which eliminates veteran’s homes as well.
The bill has been scheduled for more discussion within the Senate.The University of Iowa College Republicans President Kyle Apple also gave us a statement tonight, saying they’d like the bill to be amended, but they don’t feel it is discriminatory.
You can read his full statement below:
“There are parts of the bill that I like and there are parts that I would like to see amended. The focus on satellite voting on public college campuses is one aspect I would like to see amended. My main concern is that the bill allows students at private and community colleges the opportunity to vote on campus while public institution students are unable to. Regardless of whether the voting restrictions are implemented or not, I would like to see the proposal include all college campuses in the state, so some students are not placed at a disadvantage relative to others. I don’t believe the bill is in any way targeting students in a discriminatory manner.
Additionally, I support the provision that would ask students to complete a form informing the Secretary of State if they are moving out of the state upon graduation but would again like to see the provision applied equally to students of public and private schools.”