Lawsuit Filed to Block New Absentee Voting Law in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa - Two interest groups are trying to block a new absentee voting law in Iowa.

The law bars county auditors from using a database to fill in missing information when voters request absentee ballots.

It instead requires the auditors to gather the missing information by contacting voters by phone, email or mail.

The lawsuit from the interest groups, the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) and Majority Forward, says the new requirement promotes voter suppression by delaying delivery of absentee ballots.

The Republican majority passed the law on the final day of this year's legislative session.

Election experts believe many Iowans will choose to vote by mail as a safer alternative to in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of State Paul Pate had mailed absentee request forms to all registered voters before the June 2nd primary as a response to the pandemic's impact on election procedures.

The primary saw a record turnout, with 80 percent of the vote coming from absentee mail in ballots.

Republican lawmakers said said Pate had exceeded his authority when they passed the new law. The law requires the secretary of state to get approval from a panel of lawmakers, the Legislative Council, before mailing absentee request forms to all voters.

One of the interest groups that filed the lawsuit Tuesday, Majority Forward, is a Democratic-aligned nonprofit organization affiliated with Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that seeks to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

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