Pre-filled out absentee ballot request forms ruled invalid in Linn County

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 11:11 PM CDT
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LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -A judge ruled Thursday that Linn County must invalidate 50,000 requests for absentee ballots.

The Linn County Auditor’s Office sent around 140,000 absentee ballot request forms out in July that were pre-filled in with voter’s personal information. Thursday’s ruling agrees with President Trump’s campaign that pre-filling information in ballot request forms is overstepping on the part of the county elections commissioner. 50,000 request forms had already been sent in by voters.

Voters will now need to fill out new blank request forms, cast an absentee ballot in-person Linn County Election Services Office up to 40 days before election day, or vote in-person on November 3rd, Election Day.

The Linn County Auditor’s Office said in a statement it will mail a new absentee ballot request form and return envelope to each impacted voter in mid-September. Voters can also request a new form online here. Requested ballots will be sent out starting Monday, October 5.

Karen and Martin Cole vote in every election, and normally, they vote in-person. This year, because of COVID 19, they decided it was safer to vote in-mail. They sent their request forms in weeks ago, and they used the pre-filled out forms to do it. Now, they’re among the 50,000 people in Linn County who will need to fill out another request form. Martin Cole says they aren’t sure right now how to get another request form, but that won’t stop them from getting it done. “We’ve been though the flood of ’08...the derecho...we’ve been though COVID-19, so I think we can handle voting. So whatever it takes, we’ll vote,” says Cole.

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