An Iowa judge struck down part of a 2017 voter ID law dealing with absentee ballots — a decision opponents of the law say will make it easier for voters to get ballots and Secretary of State Paul Pate said will make it “easier to cheat.” Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano called the rule unlawful and blocked it from taking effect in a Wednesday ruling. The rule had prevented county auditors from using an existing statewide voter database to look up missing voter information when processing absentee ballot requests. Romano wrote that limiting auditors’ use of the database was “irrational, illogical, and wholly unjustifiable.” The decision was part of the larger legal fight over Iowa’s 2017 voter ID law, which went into full effect this year. A separate lawsuit seeks to overturn the entire law.
On Thursday, Pate vowed to appeal the decision on absentee ballot requests to the Iowa Supreme Court.
“Judge Romano’s decision puts the integrity and security of Iowa’s elections at risk by making it easier to cheat,” Pate, a Republican, said in a news release. “The purpose of this rule is to ensure that county auditors obtain information missing from an absentee ballot request form from the source: the requesting voter.”
The rule on absentee ballot requests stated that auditors must call, email, send a letter or speak to the voter in person to obtain missing information.