Letter: Republican restrictions on voting


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Opinion Editor Caleb Weingarten reflects on the second GOP debate.

Sue Ravenscroft

Our governor avoids mask mandates because, as she keeps repeating, Iowans do the right thing. I sure wish she would tell her Republican legislative colleagues that because they seem unconvinced. The Republican legislators believe many of us are intent on doing the wrong thing, spending our time creating ways for people to vote fraudulently. In 2017, Secretary of State Paul Pate said, ”It’s about the bad guys trying to mess with the system,” (Waterloo-Cedar Rapids Courier). Republicans say this sort of thing despite massive, costly investigations showing fraud is so infrequent as to be laughable.

In 2012, former Secretary of State Matt Schultz called for an extended investigation of voter fraud, which cost over $240,000. Results? The Courier reported that from 2012 to 2016, Iowa had 23 cases of irregular voting. Of the 10 potentially improper votes out of approximately 1.6 million cast in November 2016, only one person was charged. Why? Because she had intentionally voted twice, believing former President Donald Trump’s assertion that the election would be rigged. But, if at first you don’t find widespread fraud, just keep pretending you have to fight it anyway.

Republicans are working very hard across the country to restrict voting. In Iowa, they want to fast-track the voter suppression bill. They don’t like the term “voter suppression,” but that is exactly what these laws are meant to do. The “fraud” they are chasing is fictional. The purpose is to make voting harder for more people. Republicans should address real problems (e.g. hunger, lack of mental health care) and ignore imaginary ones.  

Sue Ravenscroft is an Emerita faculty of Iowa State University.