Since the 2020 election, it has become harder to vote in Iowa, compared to other states, according to a new study.
The Vote Cost Indexwhich measures ease of voting in all 50 states, ranked Iowa 23rd in the nation in its 2022 report, down four spots.
The new study was published in the Election Law Journal. The authors said they were updating their work following numerous changes to state election laws following the 2020 election.
The report says that in 2021 alone, 19 states passed at least 33 new laws making it harder to vote, while 25 states passed 62 laws that lowered the cost of voting.
Iowa was one of those states that put new restrictions in place. Republicans who control the state government have made several changes in 2021, including reducing the number of early and mail-in voting days from 29 to 20.
The 2020 election presented many challenges across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic; then, after the election, former President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the presidency had been stolen from him.
“Many states made voting easier by codifying changes in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the new report says. “Other states, concerned about voter fraud and apparently at the instigation of former President Donald Trump, have stepped back and made it harder to vote.”
In Iowa, Republicans said they needed to make changes in order to restore voter confidence, but Democrats, who opposed the changes, said they would simply remove barriers to voting.
The new study indicates that Vermont took the biggest step towards simplifying the vote, dropping from 23rd to 3rd place, while Wisconsin went the furthest in the other direction, dropping from 38th to 47th. square.
“Besides Wisconsin,” the study says, “Florida (28-33), Georgia (25-29) and Iowa (19-23) will each make it harder to vote, relatively speaking, than this was not the case in 2020.”
The study noted that neither Florida nor Iowa has adopted an automatic voter registration process, which many other states do. He also cited changes to laws governing drop boxes and restrictions on voting-by-mail procedures.
The change in the voting window in Iowa is also “undoubtedly” factored into the new index scores, said Scot Schraufnagel, a political science professor at Northern Illinois University at DeKalb and the one of the authors of the study.
The Cost of Voting Index measures 10 main areas. They include voter registration, voter identification laws, early voting, polling hours, and voting inconveniences. Voter registration deadlines and early voting days weigh the heaviest in determining the cost of voting.
Oregon, which has a mail-in voting process, was ranked as the easiest state to vote. The authors said it also had the most progressive voter registration process in the country. Washington state is the second easiest state to vote in, according to the study, while Mississippi and New Hampshire rank at the bottom of the index.
Illinois ranked 11th in the nation.
Over the years, Iowa’s ranking in the index has dropped significantly as changes have been made to election laws.
In 2016, Iowa was ranked among the 10 easiest states in the nation to vote. However, that changed after Republicans passed a law in 2017 that, among other things, implemented a voter ID requirement and reduced the number of days for early and mail-in voting from 40 days to 29 days.