County auditors respond to voter ID law ruling

Published: Oct. 1, 2019 at 6:10 PM CDT
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An Iowa judge ruled on Tuesday that some of a 2017 voting reform law is unconstitutional while upholding other parts of that law requires an ID in order to cast a ballot.

The new ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens last year.

They argued part of that law could lead to voter suppression. The law originally required voters to show certain forms of ID before voting, and it also required a voter identification number on absentee ballots.

The judge upheld that identification must be presented at the polls and a voter ID number be listed when requesting an absentee ballot.

County auditors could also reject ballots if a voter’s signature did not match the one on record. The judge overturned this portion of the law as unconstitutional.

The judge also ruled that election officials cannot withhold issuing a voter ID card to any voter who wants one, including those with a state issued ID or license.

“A good outcome would be that you no longer have to provide a pin number or ID number at all on absentee request form," Travis Weipert, Johnson County Auditor, said. "If they would just scrap that, it would be excellent."

The Linn County Auditor said this partial ruling could initially cause confusion for those hoping to vote early in the upcoming Cedar Rapids city and school election.

“We’re going to start early voting Monday, so I think it’s going to add some confusion to it, but it’s going to make the laws more consistent and uniform for everyone,” Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor, said.

Weipert said he thinks the ruling could have went further.

“They keep trying this having to show ID at the polls. Well, all you have to do now is show this pin card or an ID when you go to the polls. The pin card doesn’t have your photo on it, so really what’s the point of an ID now at this point in the game?” Weipert said.

The case is expected to be appealed with the Iowa Supreme Court.