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Friday, May 25, 2007

John Deeth Blog: Auditors Examine Changes in Election Law

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The 2007 legislative session, the first with Democratic control and a Democratic governor in 42 years, completed several major changes in election law. In the state's courthouses, 99 county auditors are looking at those changes and figuring out how to address them. Same-Day Registration: In the single-biggest change, Iowa joins neighbors Wisconsin and Minnesota in allowing Election Day voter registration. Same-day registration passed a Democratic-controlled Legislature in the 1980s, but was vetoed by the Republican governor at the time, Terry Branstad. Gov. Chet Culver signed House File 653 on April 4. Under Iowa's new system, voters registering after the old deadline (10 days for primary and general elections, 11 days for other elections) would have to show identification and proof of their address such as utility bills or leases. Democrat Jamie Fitzgerald is the new Polk County auditor. After serving as first deputy for 4 1/2 years, Fitzgerald took office in January when his predecessor, Mike Mauro, became secretary of state. "There have been numerous studies throughout the United States to ascertain why so few of our citizens participate in our election process," Fitzgerald said. "An often-cited factor for this dilemma includes making the voter registration and voting process seamless. Minnesota has had same-day registration for 30 years and has enjoyed higher participation rates amongst their citizens."

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