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Iowa voters discuss Freedom to Vote Act

Wapello County voters discuss thoughts on the Freedom to Vote Act. (KTVO/Leslie Santibanez-Molina){p}{/p}
Wapello County voters discuss thoughts on the Freedom to Vote Act. (KTVO/Leslie Santibanez-Molina)

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The Freedom to Vote Act was introduced by Senate Democrats in September of 2021 after the For The People Act failed to achieve bipartisan support in the Senate.

The purpose of the now revised act is to expand voter registration by addressing topics such as voter ID laws and voting access.

Iowa is one of the 36 states with voter ID laws.

The Freedom to Vote Act would not remove states' voter ID laws.

Instead, it would expand voters' ability to present other forms of physical identification cards such as student IDs, passports, or utility bills.

Iowa residents' opinions on the Freedom to Vote Act vary across the political spectrum.

Wapello County Democrats member Mary Stewart is a supporter of the revised act.

“The restrictions that are placed for voters across the country, not just Iowa have caused substantial changes to our voting laws," Stewart said. "We should do everything we can in this country to encourage everyone to vote. We know that voting fraud is virtually, if not totally nonexistent.”

Some of the disapproval the Freedom to Vote Act faces is from state rights advocates that think the federal government should not get involved in state voting laws.

“The right to set up voting regulations, polling places, and rules is the states. It is not the federal governments," said Chair of the Wapello County Republicans Tracy Caviness.

If the Freedom to Vote Act is passed, a few of the things it would do is to expand access to voting by mail, have same-day and automatic voter registration, and establish 15 days of early voting.

Stewart said she would like to see the act upheld.

“We had a state government that allowed people to vote absentee during the heart of the pandemic," Stewart said. "We know that it worked, and we know that more Iowans voted than we had seen before.”

Caviness says Iowa's voting laws are good and do not need to be changed.

“We have rules in place now that make it easier to vote but it also has the responsibility that you know who is voting,” Caviness said.

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