DES MOINES, Iowa – Libertarians call on Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto SF 413, a comprehensive election law bill, they say will negatively impact their ability to field candidates.
The Iowa Legislature passed the law last week, with the Iowa Senate passing it after three hours of debate by a 30 to 18 vote. The Iowa House adopted the Senate version of the bill passing it after five hours of debate by a 57 to 37 vote.
Mike Conner Jr., the Libertarian Party of Iowa Chair, and Joe Bishop-Henchman wrote Reynolds requesting her to veto the bill threatening legal action if it is signed into law.
“This bill, among other things, adds unjustifiable petitioning hurdles for Libertarian Party candidates that in no way protects our election integrity. The section that adds county requirements to the general election petitioning is against a direct U.S. Supreme Court precedent from 1969, as it creates disproportional representation for specific counties,” they wrote in their letter.
Specifically, the bill changes the number of signatures required to be nominated by petition has changed. Previous signature requirements varied based on the result of the last gubernatorial or presidential election.
- Nominations for president, vice president, governor, and U.S. Senator require 3,500 signatures from eligible voters with at least 100 signatures each from 19 counties. (Currently requires 1,500 signatures representing ten counties.)
- Nominations for U.S. Representative require 1,726 signatures from eligible voters, with at least 47 signatures each from one-half of the counties in the congressional district. (Current law requires 375 signatures.)
- Nominations for other statewide offices require 2,500 signatures from eligible voters, with at least 77 eligible voters from not less than 18 counties in the state. (Currently requires 1,500 signatures representing ten counties.)
The bill also increases the number of attendees for nominating conventions or caucuses for non-party political organizations.
- Statewide office conventions increases from 250 to 500
- Congressional district conventions increase from 50 to 250
- County/city conventions increase from ten to 20.
- Iowa House District conventions increase from ten to 25
- Iowa Senate District conventions increase from 20 to 50
“This provision in particular is an attempt to fix a problem that does not exist. It is nothing more than political pandering with the end goal of stifling political competition,” Connor and Bishop-Henchman wrote.
“You have said that it is ‘imperative that people feel that there’s integrity in the election process and that they feel it’s fair and equitable.’ This bill is not fair. It is not equitable. Like the 2019 legislative bill that unconstitutionally moved up filing deadlines creating an unfair burden for non-political party organizations, this bill shows a coordinated effort to disenfranchise third-party voters. Fair and equitable means more than just fair and equitable to major party voters,” they added.
Read their whole letter:Libertarian Party Letter to Reynolds