DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a bill that limits the secretary of state’s ability to send absentee ballot requests to all registered voters, a move that followed a record turnout in this year’s primary election largely because of a surge in absentee voting.
Senate Republicans pushed the measure through the legislature barely a week after a huge primary turnout, as Secretary of State Paul Pate sent ballot requests to all voters because of concerns in-person voting could be dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen. Roby Smith, a Davenport Republican, originally drafted the bill to prohibit unsolicited mass mailings of absentee ballot requests but it was amended in the House to require legislative approval before the secretary of state could take such action. If the coronavirus persists and Pate wants to mail ballot applications to voters before the November election, the measure that Reynolds signed into law Thursday would require approval of the Republican-run legislature.
Reynolds is a outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, who votes by absentee ballot himself but opposes large scale mail voting. Reynolds made no comment on signing the bill, only acknowledging in a press release that she’d signed it along with 29 other bills.