DES MOINES (AP) — Senate Republicans said Thursday they would introduce legislation requiring that Iowans present photo identification in order to vote.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, said the law would protect the integrity of the voting system.
Existing Iowa law doesn't require voters to show photo IDs. Democrats note that Iowa has little history of voter fraud, but Republicans argue the risk remains and IDs are necessary.
“I think it gives everyone voting full confidence their vote is going to count and that people who are voting are not doing it illegally,” Dix said.
The bill is modeled after similar legislation introduced by Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz. GOP lawmakers said filing the Senate bill demonstrates their support for the idea.
Dix said Senate Republicans also support Shultz's use of federal agents and databases to investigate voter fraud.
Democrats have opposed Schultz's proposal and investigations. They argue that Republicans are motivated by a desire to discourage voting by groups who typically favor Democrats, such as immigrants, low-income people and the elderly, and who often don't have a photo ID.
“Senate Democrats believe Iowa already has the safest, most secure elections in the country,” said Sen. Jeff Danielson, chairman of the State Government Committee, which oversees elections laws. “We believe Shultz's bills and similar versions do not pass the test of disenfranchising voters.”
Republicans failed to win approval of an ID law last year.
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