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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds had urged the state Legislature to restore voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences.

Iowans wrongly labeled as felons are being denied ballots

Iowa needs to work harder to clean up voter rolls that wrongly list people as felons, two voter advocacy groups say.

So many misidentified people have been prevented from voting in this decade that the Justice Department should consider sanctioning the state, the Brennan Center for Justice and the League of Women Voters of Iowa contend. Their warning was delivered in writing to Secretary of State Paul Pate in June and was reported last week by the Des Moines Register.

Iowa has one of the country's strictest rules on felon voting: They may not go to the polls unless they're pardoned by the governor or the president. GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds unsuccessfully pushed this year for the legislature to restore voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences.

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League of Women Voters

We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate. We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.

Senators who would be president say they want to win, literally, on paper

What's the best way to prevent more high-tech online Russian interference in the 2020 election? Millions of sheets of good old-fashioned paper.

That's what most of the Democratic senators running for president are signaling by proposing legislation Wednesday to require the use of hand-marked paper ballots in all federal elections – ideally starting with their own next year.

When Kamala Harris of California was asked on ABC's "The View" why paper ballots were the best method to ensure election security, her response was simple: "Because Russia can't hack a piece of paper."

Thirteen senators introduced the bill Wednesday. All are Democrats, and five of them are running for the White House, a virtual guarantee the measure will go nowhere in the Republican-majority Senate.

In addition, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the presidential aspirant who has power over election administration legislation as the top Democrat on the Rules and Administration Committee, has her own ideas for bolstering election security and did not sign on to this bill. Neither did Michael Bennet of Colorado. The presidential candidates who did were Harris, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In addition to the paper ballot mandate, the bill would ban Internet, Wi-Fi and cellular connections for voting machines. The Department of Homeland Security would also have the authority for the first time to set minimum security standards at each stage in the voting process. And state and local governments would be given $500 million to buy up-to-par ballot scanning machines, with an additional $250 million allocated for ballot-marking machines for voters with disabilities.

States would also be reimbursed by the federal government for any expenses incurred for post-election audits or ballot printing, and states would be required to conduct audits after all federal elections to detect any cyberhacks.

The principal sponsor, Ron Wyden of Oregon, says he's already secured endorsements from the League of Women Voters, the Brennan Center for Justice, Protect Democracy, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fair Fight Action, the group created by Stacey Abrams after she narrowly lost the governor's race in Georgia last fall.

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