A Polk County judge heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit filed by two civil rights organizations challenging new rules enacted by Iowa’s Republican secretary of state that would purge certain voters from Iowa’s voter registration list and make it easier to report fraud. The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit last month to block Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz from enacting the rules he quietly issued on July 20. Schultz bypassed the normal state rulemaking process claiming he didn’t have enough time before November’s general election to allow for a public hearing and comment period. Assistant Attorney General Jeff Thompson argued that the new rules are intended to provide protection to all voters by ensuring that people who are not citizens are not voting. But lawyers for the civil rights groups allege Schultz intentionally waited to pass the rules knowing it would limit time for challenges. “This is a very critical public issue affecting potentially thousands of Iowans’ right to vote in this election,” attorney Joseph Glazebrook said in asking Judge Mary Pat Gunderson to declare the rules invalid and block Schultz from enforcing them.
One new rule would allow Schultz to remove voters from Iowa’s registration database by comparing that list against a state Department of Transportation list and a federal immigration list. Anyone who voted or registered to vote who appears on the DOT database with no U.S. citizenship would be cross-referenced with a federal immigration database. If it is shown they are not citizens, they will be notified that they will be removed from voter rolls and given an opportunity to prove citizenship. The second rule Schultz enacted would allow anyone to anonymously report allegations of voter fraud. Current law requires complainants to sign a sworn statement and risk prosecution if they falsely allege fraud.
Full Article: Court hearing held on Iowa new voter rules.