Stray Thoughts columnist Randy Evans writes about a bill up for debate at the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines. IowaWatch file photo

Evans: Iowa’s compelling interest in equality for all

Members of the Iowa Legislature are in the midst of tying themselves into knots over the issue of equality, and that’s unfortunate. The knot-tying involves what these lawmakers call “religious freedom.”

That has a patriotic ring to it. Who would disagree? Our constitutional right to freedom of religion sets the United States apart from many nations. But when you analyze what this legislative initiative really involves, it is too reminiscent of America’s past – a past when some people regularly were subjected to discrimination when they tried to find lodging for the night, or sit at a lunch counter for a meal, or to be hired for a job.

Iowa’s Voter Fraud Probe Becomes A Numbers Game

One vote can determine an election, Republicans intent on fighting voter fraud say consistently. That thought drives a controversial investigation ordered by Secretary of State Matt Schultz and carried out by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to find fraudulent voting in Iowa. “We have evidence that people have gone to the polls and voted when they weren’t supposed to,” Schultz said. “There are several Senate seats that were decided by 20 votes or less.”

The actual number from the 2012 and 2010 elections is two, an IowaWatch review of the state’s voting results shows. In 2012, Senate District 28 was decided by just 17 votes, with Republican Michael Breitbach edging out Democrat John Beard.