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Trump Campaign, Republican Groups Ask Judge To Dismiss Lawsuit Over Iowa Absentee Ballot Procedures

John Pemble
IPR file
Jeff Kaufmann is chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, one of the groups seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over absentee ballot procedures.

President Trump’s campaign and state and national Republican organizations are trying to intervene in a lawsuit over changes to Iowa’s absentee ballot procedures and are asking a judge to throw out the case.

Iowa Republican legislators passed a law in June that orders local election officials to change how they handle absentee ballot requests that arrive with some missing or incorrect information.

Instead of continuing to use the voter registration system to fill in that information on ballot request forms, the new law requires county auditors to call, email, or send physical mail to voters to obtain that information.

The League of United Latin American Citizens and Majority Forward, a nonprofit affiliated with a Democratic super PAC, recently sued Iowa’s secretary of state seeking to block the law from taking effect. They argue it’s unconstitutional and increases the risk of disenfranchising some voters.

The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Iowa have filed a motion in Johnson County District Court asking to be added as defendants in the case.

They claim the changes to absentee ballot request rules are constitutional and are in line with voter ID laws that held up in court, though a similar policy in the form of an administrative rule was struck down by a Polk County District Court judge in 2019.

“Iowans overwhelmingly support voter ID laws to uphold the integrity of our elections,” said Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann. “This lawsuit seeks to take us in the opposite direction and election officials should be upholding current state law, not defying it. The Republican Party of Iowa is proud to stand with other interested parties in fighting this lawsuit in order to protect Iowa’s common sense election laws.”

The bipartisan Iowa State Association of County Auditors opposed the change, saying it will slow their processing of mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Johnson County District Court judge will decide if the Republican groups can intervene in the lawsuit.

The RNC also sent a letter to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, asking him to block two Democratic county auditors from continuing to send pre-filled absentee ballot request forms to active registered voters.

Pate will send all Iowans who are active registered voters a blank ballot request form ahead of the November election.