A Polk County judge says she will decide whether new voter rules created by Iowa’s Republican secretary of state will be enacted before the November election. Judge Mary Pat Gunderson said in a ruling filed Wednesday that two civil rights organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union and League of United Latin American Citizens, do have a legal standing to challenge the rules. Both groups filed a lawsuit to block Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz from enacting the rules, which would allow Schultz to begin a process to purge certain voters from Iowa’s voter registration list and make it easier to report fraud. Lawyers from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office representing Schultz contended that the groups have no legal standing to challenge the rules and asked Gunderson to dismiss the case.
Iowa laws put limits on organizations that sue on behalf of others. Such groups typically must prove how they or the people they represent will be harmed. In cases involving another branch of government, courts are obligated to tread carefully and intervene only in cases of the utmost importance in which constitutional protections are at risk.
Gunderson said in this case the civil rights groups allege that Schultz created the rules in secret and on an emergency basis, which surprised legislators county auditors and all Iowans in a way that is inconsistent with the democratic process. She said that unless she considers the facts of the case and issues a ruling, “there is a strong likelihood the emergency rules at issue would go unreviewed prior to the upcoming elections, and failure to do so could affect citizens’ fundamental right to vote.”
Full Article: Judge will weigh in on new Iowa voter rules – Omaha.com.