NextGen Launches Major Digital Effort To Turn Out Young Iowans

NextGen Iowa is launching a major digital advertising campaign that goes through the final weeks of the election, targeting young Iowans to encourage them to vote on November 6. The $162,000 online expenditure in Iowa is part of a national $4 million effort from the progressive organization that is focusing on youth turnout this year. The ad blitz kicks off on October 15 and is targeted at over 170,000 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 35. They will run on a wide array of websites, social media sites and video services, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Hulu, Vevo, […]

How Bad Is Iowa’s Mistaken Felon Disenfranchisement Problem?

Guest post from Adam Kenworthy, chair of Iowa Voting Rights Project KCCI reported on an important story last week regarding a man who was told he could not vote because he was classified as a felon. However, what the reporting revealed was that in fact the man was not a felon and that the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office had classified him as one incorrectly [update: the Secretary of State’s office clarifies that is was the federal courts that erroneously classified the man as a felon; the Secretary of State’s office fixed it within an hour of hearing about it]. […]

Follow The Money On Reynolds, Wellmark And Pre-Existing Health Conditions

After years of state and national progress on healthcare access, Governor Kim Reynolds brought back one of the worst features of pre-ACA healthcare: denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. And the company that was chosen to offer up the new plans just so happens to have been a major contributor to the Brandstad/Reynolds ticket for years. That’s what happened earlier this year when Reynolds signed a bill allowing Wellmark and the Iowa Farm Bureau to sell healthcare plans that don’t actually qualify as “healthcare.” The move was made to offer a cheaper alternative to Iowans who simply couldn’t afford the rising […]

Federal Funding For Cedar Rapids Flood Wall Is Not As Advertised

The $117 million in federal funding for the Cedar Rapids flood wall is not as was originally publicly promised, Starting Line has confirmed from multiple sources. Last month, city leaders were informed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that $41 million of the federal funding that was announced in July will instead be a low-interest loan that the city must repay over 30 years. That would present a significant increase in costs to the city to build the wall needed to prevent against future catastrophic floods. Mayor Brad Hart and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz wrote to Congressman Rod Blum […]

Neo-Nazi Robocall Hits Iowa On Tibbetts’ Murder: “Kill Them All.”

A white supremacist group appears to be running robocalls in Iowa over the Mollie Tibbetts murder. A Starting Line reader in the Des Moines area sent in a recording of a robocall that they received Tuesday evening around 8:00 PM. In the recording, a group called The Road To Power claims responsibility for the message that calls Tibbetts’ alleged murderer (an undocumented immigrant from Mexico) an “Aztec hybrid” that is part of a culture of “low-IQ, bottom-feeding savages.” It suggests that were Tibbetts still alive, she would support killing all Mexican immigrants. The group calls for deporting all immigrants. The […]

Pro-Choice Leaders: Iowans Are The “Most Powerful People” In Kavanaugh Fight

Don’t believe the news and political analysis that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is a done deal, a panel of national pro-choice leaders and activists told Iowans this week. While Iowa’s own Senator Chuck Grassley has been trying to push forward hearings for President Donald Trump’s choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy before all of Kavanaugh’s past documents are released, this past week’s developments in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases have created new problems. Several Democratic senators are now arguing that a president implicated in a crime that undermines the legitimacy of his presidency should […]

Conservative Students Resign From Group After Tibbetts Family Harassment

Some Republican candidates and conservative organizations may continue their efforts to politicize Mollie Tibbetts’ death to advance their immigration views, but not without significant pushback. Some of it is even coming from fellow conservatives. The local University of Iowa chapter of Turning Point USA announced this morning that they had rejected an idea from the conservative organization’s field director to hold an immigration event on the campus in response to Tibbetts’ death. The executive board also said they were stepping down from their leadership positions in the local chapter and ending their association with Turning Point USA. [Update: several hours […]

Migrant Family Separation and Detention: Violating the Constitution

Guest piece from Caleb Gates, a refugee case manager and advocacy specialist in Cedar Rapids. He read this as a speech at a recent Families Belong Together Rally. We, the people of the United States, immigrants and descendants of immigrants, denounce the separation and detention of immigrant families by our government. President Trump’s policies separate families through ICE workplace raids, the deportation of longtime US residents with citizen children, and the termination of programs such as Temporary Protected Status and DACA. Simple misdemeanors like public intoxication, trespassing, loitering, or possession of marijuana detain and separate immigrants from their families. President […]

Jason Kander’s Army Of Voting Rights Interns Come To Iowa

Jason Kander may have a new personal electoral goal for himself now that he’s announced his candidacy for the Kansas City mayor’s race, but his voting rights crusade will march on in Iowa and other states. “Nothing has changed about our program here in Iowa,” Let America Vote’s Iowa state director Zack Davis told Starting Line yesterday. “We are continuing to move forward and are looking at ways to actually grow the internship program.” That’s a good thing for Democratic candidates in Iowa who are set to benefit from one of the largest ground game operations from a national group […]

Consequences For Voter Suppression Coming To An Iowa District Near You

A guest post from Zack Davis, the state director for Jason Kander’s Let America Vote organization in Iowa. Photo of a Let America Vote intern knocking doors for a state legislative candidate in West Des Moines. On May 5th, 2017, our state — long seen as a leader in voter participation and election integrity — took a big step backward with the passage of House File 516. Instead of lowering barriers and increasing access to the ballot for Iowans, the legislation championed by Secretary of State Paul Pate injected partisan politics into the voting process, instituting an unnecessary and confusing […]