Judge Blocks Iowa Plan Challenging Voters
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A district court judge on Friday halted Iowa's Republican secretary of state from implementing voting rules he established without public input.
Polk County District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson said in her ruling that Secretary of State Matt Schultz could have followed normal rule-making procedures and that emergency rules were unnecessary before the November election.
Schultz created two rules. One would have challenged votes of individuals who appear on state and federal databases as noncitizens. A second rule would have made it easier to report alleged voter fraud.
Schultz created the rules in July without a public hearing, using an emergency administrative process. He said he feared noncitizens would try to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and another civil rights group filed a lawsuit to stop the rules.
Gunderson stayed the rules and issued a temporary injunction, which prevents Schultz from enacting them until the court can hold a trial and hear the full arguments.
Gunderson concluded the rules created confusion and mistrust in the voter registration process.
"They have created fear that new citizens will lose their right to vote and/or be charged with a felony, and cause some qualified voters to feel deterred from even registering to vote," she said.
As a result, she said Schultz had no sufficient reason to justify rushing the rules through using an emergency process.
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