Speed Reads

voting restrictions

Iowa governor signs GOP-backed bill that limits early and Election Day voting

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed into law on Monday night a GOP-backed bill that restricts voting access.

The bill was opposed by all Democratic legislators, The Associated Press reports. Under the measure, early voting is cut back from 29 days to 20 days, and most mail-in ballots must be received by Election Day, instead of postmarked by Election Day. The bill also changes voting hours, forcing sites to close at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m., and bans election officials from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot request forms.

Republican lawmakers said the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud, but also admitted that Iowa doesn't have a history of election irregularities. The state had record turnout for the November presidential election, with more than 70 percent of Democrats voting early, and there were no reports of voter fraud. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn called the legislation "harmful," while Reynolds said it promotes "more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot."