House File 26 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to the administration of elections, including
2voter identity verification, straight party voting, and
3absentee voting, and including applicability provisions.
4BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 22.7, subsections 72 and 73, Code 2021,
2are amended by striking the subsections.
3   Sec. 2.  Section 48A.2, subsection 6, Code 2021, is amended
4by striking the subsection.
5   Sec. 3.  Section 48A.7A, subsection 1, paragraph c, Code
62021, is amended to read as follows:
   7c.  In lieu of paragraph “b”, a person wishing to vote may
8establish identity and residency in the precinct by written
9oath of a person who is registered to vote in the precinct.
10Before signing an oath under this paragraph, the attesting
11registered voter shall present to the precinct election
12official proof of the voter’s identity, as described in section
1349.78, subsection 2 or 3.
The registered voter’s oath shall
14attest to the stated identity of the person wishing to vote
15and that the person is a current resident of the precinct.
16The oath must be signed by the attesting registered voter in
17the presence of the appropriate precinct election official.
18A registered voter who has signed an oath on election day
19attesting to a person’s identity and residency as provided in
20this paragraph is prohibited from signing any further oaths as
21provided in this paragraph on that day.
22   Sec. 4.  Section 48A.38, subsection 1, paragraph f, Code
232021, is amended to read as follows:
   24f.  The county commissioner of registration and the state
25registrar of voters shall remove a voter’s whole or partial
26social security number, as applicable, voter identification
27number assigned by the state commissioner,
Iowa driver’s
28license number, or Iowa nonoperator’s identification card
29number from a voter registration list prepared pursuant to this
30section.
31   Sec. 5.  Section 49.37, Code 2021, is amended by striking the
32section and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
   3349.37  Arrangement of ballot.
   341.  For general elections, and for other elections in which
35more than one partisan office will be filled, the first section
-1-1of the ballot shall be for straight party voting.
   2a.  Each political party or organization which has
3nominated candidates for more than one office shall be listed.
4Instructions to the voter for straight party or organization
5voting shall be in substantially the following form:
6To vote for all candidates from a single party or
7organization, mark the voting target next to the party or
8organization name. Not all parties or organizations have
9nominated candidates for all offices. Marking a straight party
10or organization vote does not include votes for nonpartisan
11offices, judges, or questions.
   12b.  Political parties and nonparty political organizations
13which have nominated candidates for only one office shall
14be listed below the other political organizations under the
15following heading:
16Other Political Organizations. The following organizations
17have nominated candidates for only one office:
   18c.  Offices shall be arranged in groups. Partisan offices,
19nonpartisan offices, judges, and public measures shall be
20separated by a distinct line appearing on the ballot.
   212.  The commissioner shall arrange the ballot in conformity
22with the certificate issued by the state commissioner under
23section 43.73, in that the names of the respective candidates
24for each political party shall appear in the order they
25appeared on the certificate, above or to the left of the
26nonparty political organization candidates.
   273.  The commissioner shall arrange the partisan county
28offices on the ballot with the board of supervisors first,
29followed by the other county offices in the same sequence in
30which they appear in section 39.17. Nonpartisan offices shall
31be listed after partisan offices.
32   Sec. 6.  Section 49.53, subsection 1, Code 2021, is amended
33to read as follows:
   341.  The commissioner shall not less than four nor more than
35twenty days before the day of each election, except those for
-2-1which different publication requirements are prescribed by law,
2publish notice of the election. The notice shall contain a
3facsimile of the portion of the ballot containing the first
4rotation as prescribed by section 49.31, subsection 2, and
5shall show the names of all candidates or nominees and the
6office each seeks, and all public questions, to be voted upon
7at the election. The sample ballot published as a part of the
8notice may at the discretion of the commissioner be reduced in
9size relative to the actual ballot but such reduction shall
10not cause upper case letters appearing in candidates’ names or
11in summaries of public measures on the published sample ballot
12to be less than nine point type. The notice shall also state
13the date of the election, the hours the polls will be open,
14that each voter is required to provide identification at the
15polling place before the voter can receive and cast a ballot,

16 the location of each polling place at which voting is to occur
17in the election, and the names of the precincts voting at each
18polling place, but the statement need not set forth any fact
19which is apparent from the portion of the ballot appearing as
20a part of the same notice. The notice shall include the full
21text of all public measures to be voted upon at the election.
22   Sec. 7.  Section 49.57, subsection 2, Code 2021, is amended
23to read as follows:
   242.   In the area of the general election ballot for straight
25party voting, the party or organization names shall be printed
26in upper case and lower case letters using a uniform font size
27for each political party or nonparty political organization.
28The font size shall not be less than twelve point type.
After
29the name of each candidate for a partisan office the name of
30the candidate’s political party shall be printed in at least
31six point type. The names of political parties and nonparty
32political organizations may be abbreviated on the remainder of
33the ballot if both the full name and the abbreviation appear in
34the voter instruction area of the ballot “Straight Party” and
35“Other Political Party” areas of the ballot
.
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1   Sec. 8.  Section 49.77, subsection 1, unnumbered paragraph
21, Code 2021, is amended to read as follows:
   3The board members of their respective precincts shall have
4charge of the ballots and shall furnish them to the voters
5after verifying each voter’s identity pursuant to section
649.78
.
7   Sec. 9.  Section 49.81, subsection 2, Code 2021, is amended
8by striking the subsection.
9   Sec. 10.  NEW SECTION.  49.94  How to mark a straight ticket.
   10If all the candidates for whom a voter desires to vote in any
11election other than the primary election were nominated by the
12same political party or nonparty political organization, and
13the voter desires to vote for all candidates nominated by that
14political party or organization, the voter may do so in any one
15of the following ways:
   161.  The voter may mark the voting target next to the name of
17the political party or nonparty political organization in the
18straight party or organization section of the ballot without
19marking any voting target next to the name of a candidate
20nominated by the party or organization.
   212.  The voter may mark the voting target next to the name
22of the political party or nonparty political organization in
23the straight party or organization section of the ballot and
24also mark any or all of the voting targets next to the names of
25candidates nominated by that party or organization.
26   Sec. 11.  NEW SECTION.  49.95  Voting part of ticket only.
   27If all the candidates for whom the voter desires to vote were
28nominated by the same political party or nonparty political
29organization but the voter does not desire to vote for all of
30the candidates nominated by the party or organization, the
31voter shall mark the voting target next to the name of each
32candidate for whom the voter desires to vote without marking
33the target next to the name of the party or organization in the
34straight party or organization section of the ballot.
35   Sec. 12.  NEW SECTION.  49.96  Offices with more than one
-4-1person to be elected.
   2Where more than one person is to be elected to the same
3office at the same election, and all of the candidates for
4that office for whom the voter desires to vote were nominated
5by the political party or nonparty political organization for
6which the voter has marked a straight party or organization
7vote, the voter need not otherwise indicate the vote for that
8office. However, if a voter who has marked a straight party
9or organization ticket also marks the voting targets next to
10the names of one or more candidates for any office, only the
11votes cast separately for individual candidates for that office
12shall be counted. If the voter wishes to vote for candidates
13who were nominated by different political parties or nonparty
14political organizations, the voter must mark the voting target
15for each candidate the voter has chosen, whether or not the
16voter has also marked a straight party or organization vote.
17   Sec. 13.  NEW SECTION.  49.97  How to mark a mixed ticket.
   18If all candidates for whom a voter desires to vote were not
19nominated by the same political party or nonparty political
20organization, the voter may indicate the candidates of
21the voter’s choice by marking the ballot in any one of the
22following ways:
   231.  The voter may mark a straight party or organization
24vote for the party or nonparty political organization which
25nominated some of the candidates for whom the voter desires
26to vote and vote for candidates of other parties or nonparty
27political organizations by marking the voting targets next to
28their names.
   292.  The voter may vote for each candidate separately without
30marking any straight party or organization vote.
31   Sec. 14.  Section 49.98, Code 2021, is amended to read as
32follows:
   3349.98  Counting ballots.
   34The ballots shall be counted according to the voters’ marks
35on them as provided in sections 49.92 and 49.93 through 49.97,
-5-1and not otherwise. If, for any reason, it is impossible
2to determine from a ballot, as marked, the choice of the
3voter for any office, the vote for that office shall not be
4counted. When there is a conflict between a straight party or
5organization vote for one political party or nonparty political
6organization and the vote cast by marking the voting target
7next to the name of a candidate for another political party or
8nonparty political organization on the ballot, the mark next
9to the name of the candidate shall be held to control, and the
10straight party or organization vote in that case shall not
11apply as to that office.
A ballot shall be rejected if the
12voter used a mark to identify the voter’s ballot. The For each
13voting system, the
state commissioner shall, by rule adopted
14pursuant to chapter 17A, develop uniform definitions of what
15constitutes a vote.
16   Sec. 15.  Section 49.124, subsection 3, Code 2021, is amended
17by striking the subsection.
18   Sec. 16.  Section 53.2, subsection 4, Code 2021, is amended
19to read as follows:
   204.  a.  To request an absentee ballot, a registered voter
21shall provide:
   22(1)  The name and signature of the registered voter.
   23(2)  The registered voter’s date of birth.
   24(3)  The address at which the voter is registered to vote.
   25(4)  The registered voter’s voter verification number.
   26(5)  The name or date of the election for which the absentee
27ballot is requested.
   28(6)  Such other information as may be necessary to determine
29the correct absentee ballot for the registered voter.
   30b.  If insufficient information has been provided, including
31the absence of a voter verification number,
either on the
32prescribed form or on an application created by the applicant,
33the commissioner shall, within twenty-four hours after the
34receipt of the absentee ballot request, contact the applicant
35by telephone and electronic mail, if such information has
-6-1been provided by the applicant. If the commissioner is
2unable to contact the applicant by telephone or electronic
3mail, the commissioner shall send a notice to the applicant
4at the address where the applicant is registered to vote, or
5to the applicant’s mailing address if it is different from
6the residential address. If the applicant has requested the
7ballot to be sent to an address that is not the applicant’s
8residential or mailing address, the commissioner shall send an
9additional notice to the address where the applicant requested
10the ballot to be sent. A commissioner shall not use the voter
11registration system to obtain additional necessary information
12
 by the best means available, obtain the additional necessary
13information
. A voter requesting or casting a ballot pursuant
14to section 53.22 shall not be required to provide a voter
15verification number.

   16c.  For purposes of this subsection, “voter verification
17number”
means the registered voter’s driver’s license number
18or nonoperator’s identification card number assigned to the
19voter by the department of transportation or the registered
20voter’s identification number assigned to the voter by the
21state commissioner pursuant to section 47.7, subsection 2.
   22d.  If an applicant does not have current access to the
23applicant’s voter verification number, the commissioner shall
24verify the applicant’s identity prior to supplying the voter
25verification number by asking the applicant to provide at least
26two of the following facts about the applicant:
   27(1)  Date of birth.
   28(2)  The last four digits of the applicant’s social security
29number, if applicable.
   30(3)  Residential address.
   31(4)  Mailing address.
   32(5)  Middle name.
   33(6)  Voter verification number as defined in paragraph “c”.
34   Sec. 17.  Section 53.10, subsection 2, paragraph a, Code
352021, is amended to read as follows:
-7-   1a.  Each person who wishes to vote by absentee ballot at
2the commissioner’s office shall first sign an application
3for a ballot including the following information:name,
4current address, voter verification number, and the election
5for which the ballot is requested. The person may report a
6change of address or other information on the person’s voter
7registration record at that time. Prior to furnishing a
8ballot, the commissioner shall verify the person’s identity
9as provided in section 49.78.
The registered voter shall
10immediately mark the ballot; enclose the ballot in a secrecy
11envelope, if necessary, and seal it in the envelope marked
12with the affidavit; subscribe to the affidavit on the reverse
13side of the envelope; and return the absentee ballot to the
14commissioner. The commissioner shall record the numbers
15appearing on the application and affidavit envelope along with
16the name of the registered voter.
17   Sec. 18.  Section 53.22, subsection 8, Code 2021, is amended
18by striking the subsection.
19   Sec. 19.  Section 53.25, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code
202021, is amended by striking the paragraph.
21   Sec. 20.  Section 53.25, subsection 2, Code 2021, is amended
22to read as follows:
   232.  If the absentee or provisional ballot is rejected prior
24to the opening of the affidavit envelope or return envelope
25marked with the affidavit, the voter casting the ballot shall
26be notified by a precinct election official by the time the
27canvass is completed of the reason for the rejection on a form
28prescribed by the state commissioner of elections.
29   Sec. 21.  REPEAL.  Sections 48A.10A and 49.78, Code 2021,
30are repealed.
31   Sec. 22.  APPLICABILITY.  This Act applies to elections held
32on or after the effective date of this Act.
33EXPLANATION
34The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
35the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
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   1This bill relates to the administration of elections,
2including voter identity verification and straight party
3voting. The bill removes the requirement that a voter
4establish the voter’s identity by providing certain documents.
5The bill also removes the requirement that a registered voter
6swearing an oath attesting to another voter’s eligibility to
7vote prove the registered voter’s identity by providing certain
8documents. The bill repeals the program for the automatic
9issuance of voter identification cards to registered voters who
10do not have a driver’s license or nonoperator’s identification
11card.
   12The bill also allows a voter to vote for all candidates of
13a single party that has multiple candidates on a ballot by
14marking a voting target on the first section of the ballot.
15In cases where more than one person is being elected to a
16single office, the voter must mark each candidate for whom the
17voter desires to vote if the candidates do not all belong to
18the party for which the voter cast a straight party vote. If
19there is a conflict between a straight party vote and a vote
20for a candidate not of that party, the vote for the individual
21candidate controls.
   22The bill removes the requirement that a voter applying for an
23absentee ballot provide the voter’s voter verification number
24on the application for an absentee ballot. The bill allows a
25county commissioner of elections receiving an application for
26an absentee ballot with insufficient information to use the
27best means available to obtain the necessary information.
   28The bill applies to elections held on or after the effective
29date of the bill.
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