Statement by Auditor Weipert upon the passage of HF516 Voter ID Bill


I agree with the Johnson County Auditor’s press release – see below; especially his comment that “None of these provisions does (sic) anything to help people vote”.

Whenever I ask the question: Will this bill increase voter turnout in our elections? No one has answered YES. One person responded with, “Why should I care?”

I will tell you why we should care. We should care because our right to vote is a fundamental building block in our democracy. Voting is how we choose civil leaders; it’s how we peacefully transition power from one elected leader to the next. It’s the one right we exercise that is equal to, but not greater than anyone’s else right to vote. Voting is the easiest way to participate – to engage – in our democracy.

Yes, I would like to see every voter make an informed choice, but that’s not a requirement. And from what I have observed, most voters only vote in races and/or for candidates they know something about. For instance, another law that will combine city elections with school elections is stoking fear that the voters will vote on races they know nothing about. Do you do that?

There is nothing in HF516 that leads me to believe it will increase voter turnout. And if you dare to call me, I will tell you why I think it will increase the opportunity for impostors to illegally cast ballots. In my ten years as Auditor, one impostor ballot has been cast amongst over one million ballots cast in Linn County. That is 1 ballot in over 1,000,000 ballots.

I will honor my oath of office and administer elections per the requirements of the law. I will also work as hard and smart as possible to ensure no voter is disenfranchised by HF516 or any other laws. And when and where I find wannabe voters who have been disenfranchised by our laws, I will yell and scream in the most civil of ways and work to dismantle the barriers to voting. That is not an option for me! -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor – Vision: Every person engaged in local government.

From: Travis Weipert [mailto:tweipert@co.johnson.ia.us]
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Subject: FW: Statement by Travis Weipert on Passage of HF516 Voter ID Bill

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert issued the following statement on passage of the final version of House File 516, the voter ID bill (full text at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF516&ga=87 )

“I am disappointed that the Legislature has taken this big step backward on voting rights. The only type of ‘fraud’ that a photo ID can address, voter impersonation, is simply non-existent.

This bill singles out voters who do not have Iowa drivers licenses. They will have to show a visibly different card in line. This calls attention to them and makes them more vulnerable to having their vote challenged. It also gets rid of the traditional voter card that gets sent to everyone, which many voters value and carry.

The voter ID bill also includes many unrelated items that do nothing to increase the integrity of elections:

· It shortens the time available for in person early voting. This forces voters who have made up their minds to wait, which makes the line longer for everyone.

· It shortens the window for mailing ballots to just 19 days, which decreases the chances that voters who have to send ballots a long distance will see their vote counted

· The bill eliminates the popular straight ticket option that nearly a third of Johnson County voters used last fall. This lengthens the voting process and as a result makes the lines longer.

· Poll workers with no professional training in handwriting analysis are forced to make judgements about signatures which may have changed over time.

· None of these provisions does anything to help people vote. The process will be longer and more difficult, and there’s no question that some people who were able to vote under previous laws will be unable to vote.

Nevertheless, this will be the law, and we will follow and enforce it. We urge voters to be cooperative with our staff and poll workers and respectful of the people behind you in line. We are not happy with this law, but the election process is the only way to change it.

The final paragraph of HF516 says that the Secretary of State, in consultation with county auditors and the public, “shall develop and implement a comprehensive and statewide public education plan.” I look forward to working with the Secretary of State’s office on this plan, and urge the Legislature and governor to fully fund it.” ###

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