Iowa Democrats sue over absentee ballot rulings

Iowa Democrats filed a lawsuit Monday (8/31) seeking to overturn court rulings last week that invalidated thousands of absentee ballot requests.

The Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed the lawsuit after judges in Linn and Woodbury Counties sided with President Donald Trump’s campaign and other Republican groups. They argued that elections officials in both counties erred when they sent absentee ballot request forms out with personal information filled in.

The rulings mean about 57,000 ballots requests returned in Linn County and 14,000 in Woodbury County are not valid, and voters will have to resubmit requests on standard, blank forms as directed by Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate. A similar case is pending in Johnson County.

Democrats contend Pate overstepped his authority when he issued a directive requiring the blank absentee ballot request forms, two weeks after auditors announced plans to send out the pre-filled forms.

In a statement Monday, Pate accused Democrats of only wanting absentee requests sent out in “Democrat-heavy counties” and said the lawsuit could prevent him from sending out ballot requests statewide.

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