Dems: State Government – week of April 18, 2016

April 25, 2016

HF 2273 – Elections Administration



HF 2273 relates to the administration of elections with respect to the address confidentiality program by the Secretary of State (SOS), satellite absentee voting and the conduct of school district elections. The Senate adopted an amendment giving county auditors the option of processing absentee ballots with an intelligent mail barcode showing the date of entry into the federal mail system. These barcodes are estimated to cost approximately 2 cents per envelope. This provision is effective upon enactment. The SOS will promulgate emergency rules so that this provision is in place for the 2016 elections. The SOS will prepare a report on use of intelligent mail barcodes by county auditors during the 2016 election. The report will include the number of auditors using the barcodes and statistics on absentee ballots counted. The report is due to the Legislature by January 17, 2017.


Other highlights include:

  • Iowa’s address confidentiality program: A program participant’s voter registration is not subject to challenge based on participation in the program and the use of a designated address, nor can it be the basis for challenges under Code sections 49.79 (Election Day voting) or 53.31 (absentee voting). In an election contest, the bill provides for the certification of a program participant’s eligibility to vote and the validity of a program participant’s absentee ballot. The deposition of a program participant will serve as testimony in a contested election.
  • Satellite Absentee Voting: Current law prohibits electioneering within sight or hearing of voters at a satellite absentee voting station. Under current Code section 39A.4, subsection 1, electioneering and other specified activity is prohibited on the premises of a polling place or within 300 feet of an outside door of a building with access to a room where the polls are held, or of an outside door of a building with access to a hallway, corridor, stairway or other means of reaching the room where the polls are held. A satellite absentee voting station and an absentee voting site at a county commissioner of elections office are polling places for purposes of Code section 39A.4, subsection 1.
  • School District Elections: The bill requires that a plan for school district reorganization be completed at the second regular school election following the effective date of the reorganization. Current law provides that reorganization plans be started at the first regular school election and be completed at the third regular school election. In addition, when a school board vacancy occurs, a person appointed to fill the vacancy must hold office until a successor is elected and qualified at the next regular school election unless there is an intervening special election. The bill also makes terminology changes to the timing required for calling and holding a special election when a school board vacancy occurs and a replacement has not been appointed.

[4/14: 46-0 (Behn, Bertrand, Chelgren, Zumbach absent)]

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