Proof of citizenship would be required for college financial aid, voting

Tyler Kingkade

Iowa House Republicans say they are aiming to stop fraud with bills drafted, which would require proof of citizenship be provided for voting and applying for financial aid for college.

Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R-Pottawattamie, sponsored House File 113, which would require proof of citizenship or lawful residency in the country to apply for federal financial aid for Iowa colleges.

Anyone who cannot provide proof would not be awarded student financial assistance by the higher education institution.

HF 113 directs community colleges and Regents universities to require proof for students applying for federal financial aid at public colleges. It would prohibit a university from providing scholarships or other aid to someone who cannot provide citizenship proof.

Republican lawmakers met this month with newly-elected Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who was elected championing that he would require an ID to vote. Less than a month into the 2011 session, a voter ID bill has already been drafted and advanced in the House.

Rep. Renee Schulte, R-Cedar Rapids, told the House State Government Committee it would not matter whether a person was “known or unknown,” everyone would be required to produce an ID.

A government-issued photo ID would be required before voting on election day, registering to vote, casting an absentee ballot or voting at satellite early voting location. The bill would direct the Iowa Department of Transportation to provide IDs for the purpose of voting for free.

But Democrats have largely rejected it, predicting the Democratically-controlled Senate would not take up the bill.

“Voter ID legislation not only makes voting less accessible, especially among low income and minority populations, it’s an irresponsible economic decision,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said upon the legislation passing the House. “Similar legislation has cost other states between five and six million dollars to implement.”

However, a cost-estimate has been produced for the proposed law in Iowa.

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the League of Women Voters have declared opposition to both bills, while the Iowa Minuteman Civil Defense Corps supports both.

The AARP Iowa also rejected the voter ID legislation via lobbyist declaration.

Democrats claimed the legislation would create barriers to voting for minorities, those with low-income, older and disabled voters.

Schulte has said the voter ID bill is needed to stop fraud, which she claims no one will prosecute.