We have yet another reminder that to stamp out voter suppression, we all need to look in our own backyards.
The HR1 bill that the House passed could help expand voting rights at the federal level in a lot of ways, but we will always need to keep a watchful eye on our state governments as Republicans keep finding new ways to suppress votes. Case in point today: Iowa.
The Iowa state Senate, where the GOP have the majority, just passed a new voter suppression bill out of committee. It specifically targets college-aged voters and throws in a few other voter suppression tactics in the mix as well. The bill:
✦ Forces students who are registered voters at the three Iowa public universities to sign a form informing the Secretary of State if they plan to leave Iowa after graduation
✦ Bans the universities from being early voting locations
✦ Shortens the polling hours across the state by one hour
✦ Requires that absentee ballots are received by Election Day
If this bill gets passed by the state Senate and ultimately gets signed into law by the governor–which is a possibility as the Republicans have full control over the state government–it would affect over 70,000 students. The aim of this bill is obvious–to make it much harder for students to vote on Election Day.
If you’re in Iowa, lend your voices to help boost the rights of college students to vote. Call your local legislators and put pressure on them to stop this bill from passing.
If you’re not in Iowa, be sure you’re keeping an eye on your state legislature. That’s where all of these voter suppression tactics get started. Sign up for your local legislator’s emails or newsletters, find out if there is a news service for the state legislature, or see which journalists cover your state government and follow them in the paper or on social media.
And anytime you find out about voter suppression happening in your state, be sure to let others know so we can all help raise the alarm.