For the second straight session, Iowa Republicans looked at a free and fair election in which there was a record turnout and apparently went, "We better fix that!"
Iowa's Republican legislators this week sent a bill to Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk that would restrict the state's absentee and early voting.
Reynolds hasn't committed to signing the bill but has sent some pretty strong signals that her signature is likely.
"We should always be looking at ways we can enhance and improve," Reynolds said this week, after saying Iowa's election process is a role model for the country.
She's right on both accounts. Our elections, thanks in large part to county auditors and volunteers all over the state, put other state's elections to shame. And while our system is darn good, we should review each and every election to try and find ways to improve it.
Where we differ with Reynolds and Iowa Republicans, however, seems to be the definition of the word "improve." Merriam-Webster says the word means to "make better," but Republicans must have a different dictionary.
The proposal on the desk of Reynolds would cut the early voting period from 29 days to 20, require most mail ballots be received by time polls close on Election Day, close polling sites at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. and restrict officials from sending out absentee forms unless a voter requests one.
We've yet to hear an argument for how any of these actually improves elections. So why is this happening?
Here's what Reynolds said: "The fact of the matter is, there are Americans across the state that have some concerns about what happened in this last election. ... I think it's imperative that ... they feel there's integrity in the election process and they feel that it is fair and it's done in an equitable manner."
We know there are voters who do feel that way, but it's only because Republicans — including Reynolds — have continued to peddle lies and conspiracy about the election simply because their chosen candidate lost.
They've offered no evidence — none — to back it up, but to this day continue to talk about the election that's been settled for four months.
Apparently, Republican constituents don't feel that strongly that voting reform was needed in the state after the 2020 elections. There were almost 1,200 people who signed up for a public hearing on the bill this week — only 28 of them were supportive.
Just because some people feel there's election fraud isn't enough. For these changes to be warranted, it requires there to be actual substance and actual facts to show there's an issue that needs to be addressed. We don't have that here in Iowa. At the end of the day, people like Reynolds and her Republican colleagues giving credence to this false narrative of a fraudulent election is what is driving skepticism.
Reynolds should veto the bill to ensure Iowa's quality election system can continue to thrive and continue to be a role model for the nation.