LULAC suing Iowa’s Secretary of State over absentee ballot request law

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 5:36 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A nonprofit that fights for Latino rights is suing Iowa’s Secretary of State over a new law. Leaders with LULAC call the law a form of voter suppression against minority communities.

LULAC said the law was passed on the last day of the legislative session. They said it makes it harder for people to vote by mail.

Here’s what the law they are suing about does. When a person wants an absentee ballot, they have to fill out a request form with their county auditor.

If there’s an issue with the application, the auditor has to reach out to the person by email, phone or mail to get it fixed. Before, they could just fix it with the information in their database.

LULAC is concerned some people may never get that notification, or it could take so long that people may give up voting altogether. They feel absentee voting needs to be easier during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This virus has disproportionately impacted the Latino community in Iowa,” says Nick Salazar with LULAC. “We are only 6 percent of the state population, but we make up 27 percent of the total cases. So many folks in our community are already impacted and there’s a huge risk for us to go out and vote.”

Iowa’s primary elections had record turnout. Secretary of State Paul Pate mailed out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters. Lawmakers have since changed the rules, forcing the Secretary of State to get their approval before mailing them out.

The next step is to have a judge review it. LULAC wants the judge to file an injunction before the election in November.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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