Government

Iowa Supreme Court lets rulings on absentee ballot requests stand

The courtroom for the Iowa Supreme Court at the Iowa Judicial Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Th
The courtroom for the Iowa Supreme Court at the Iowa Judicial Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court is refusing to review lower court decisions that invalidated tens of thousands of voters’ absentee ballot requests at the urging of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

The court issued orders Wednesday denying requests to put rulings in Linn and Woodbury counties on hold.

The elections commissioners in those counties and affected voter and Democratic-aligned groups had asked the court to intervene, saying thousands of voters could be inconvenienced and potentially disenfranchised if the rulings stand. The court rejected all of their requests without explanation.

The counties sent absentee ballot requests to registered voters filled with their personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth and voting pin numbers. Voters had to review, sign and return the forms to request absentee ballots, which will be mailed beginning Oct. 5.

The Trump campaign and Republican Party groups sued, contending the pre-filled forms violated a directive from Secretary of State Paul Pate that they must be blank when mailed to voters.

Judges Ian Thornhill and Patrick Tott ruled in Trump’s favor, ordering the counties and Johnson County to not process any of the pre-filled absentee ballot requests. About 80,000 voters in the three counties had already returned such forms. Now, they’ll have to either fill out new blank absentee ballot requests or vote on Election Day.

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