Judge to Rule on Absentee Ballot Lawsuit by Friday

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A state court judge will decide by the end of Friday whether to halt enforcement of a state law that prohibits county election officials from using information readily available in the voter registration database to fill in information that’s missing from a voter’s absentee ballot request, the judge said Wednesday.

Judge Lars Anderson heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by two Latino groups seeking to block enforcement of the law pushed through by Republican lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session in June. It requires county election officials to contact by phone, email or mail a voter who leaves required information including a four-digit pin number off of an absentee ballot request form. Supporters of the measure characterized it as a voter fraud protection measure.

Des Moines-based League of United Latin American Citizens and Washington, D.C.-based Majority Forward filed a lawsuit challenging the law in state court in July. Their lawyer Kevin Hamilton argued Wednesday that the law severely burdens the right to vote.

Matt Gannon, an assistant attorney general for Iowa arguing for Secretary of State Paul Pate, said the law is a reasonable change to election administration.

President Donald Trump’s campaign and state and national Republican groups have joined Pate in fighting the lawsuit.

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