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Lawsuit says Iowa's voter ID law violates state constitution

A requirement to show ID in order to cast a regular ballot goes into effect in 2019.

Posted: May 31, 2018 6:35 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's new voter identification law violates the state constitution and will make it harder for some people to cast a ballot, plaintiffs alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit marks the first legal challenge against the ID requirement and its provisions, which were passed last year in Iowa's new Republican-controlled Legislature. Parts of the law went into effect this year and will play a role in the state's upcoming June 5 primary election. A requirement to show ID in order to cast a regular ballot goes into effect in 2019.

It's unclear how an injunction request to halt some of the law's provisions would impact the upcoming primary. Early voting began weeks ago.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Taylor Blair, an Iowa State University student, are named as plaintiffs in the suit. Priorities USA Foundation, a national organization involved in other voting-related lawsuits, is paying for the litigation.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, the top elections official and a major proponent of the law, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Pate released a statement defending the law against what he called a "baseless and politically motivated lawsuit," which he alleged was "apparently timed to disrupt the June 5 primary elections." He said the law has adequate safeguards to protect voters' rights.

The lawsuit claims the law will disenfranchise eligible voters because some of its provisions are unclear or impose unjustified restrictions. The lawsuit highlighted new rules for elections officials to verify ID signatures, new requirements for absentee voting and the elimination of straight party voting. It argues the cumulative impact will be longer lines and waiting times at polling locations.

"Each of the challenged provisions burdens the right to vote directly and by complicating and slowing down elections administration in Iowa," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court, according to Priorities USA Foundation, which provided a copy of the complaint to The Associated Press.

A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's Office, which will defend the state in the lawsuit, deferred comment to Pate's office.

When the law is fully in effect, Iowa voters will be required to show an acceptable form of identification — an Iowa driver's license, an Iowa non-driver's ID, a new non-photo voter card, a U.S. passport, military identification or veterans ID — to cast a ballot.

The law requires elections officials this year to ask voters for identification. It's a soft roll-out, so someone without ID can sign an oath verifying his or her identity and cast a regular ballot.

In 2019, voters must have acceptable identification or they will have to cast a provisional ballot. Those voters will need to return to show ID within a few days for their ballot to count.

Blair, the college student, said in the lawsuit he was initially excluded from receiving a new non-photo voter card because his voter registration was erroneously mixed up with another person's information. Blair said he later received a non-photo voter card, but he forgot to bring it to vote during an April election. While Blair was able to still vote by signing a document verifying his identity, he said the experiences burdened his right to vote.

Some voting advocacy groups have expressed concern about the law's impact on minority groups, college students, the elderly and disabled individuals. Pate has strongly argued no eligible voter will be denied the right to vote.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 763915

Reported Deaths: 8581
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1526881914
Ramsey63091977
Dakota56699523
Anoka53591515
Washington33431329
Stearns28298252
St. Louis23444355
Scott21503159
Wright21099171
Olmsted18023118
Sherburne15420114
Carver1353254
Clay1016098
Rice9936131
Blue Earth960759
Crow Wing9396107
Kandiyohi830996
Chisago828062
Otter Tail7941104
Benton7454109
Beltrami645978
Mower642240
Douglas624689
Goodhue614784
Itasca608981
Winona608254
McLeod589270
Steele580825
Isanti565474
Morrison553566
Becker524662
Polk506377
Freeborn485242
Nobles480052
Lyon451456
Carlton443866
Nicollet431351
Pine424630
Cass420742
Mille Lacs411265
Brown405347
Todd397336
Le Sueur381831
Meeker354552
Waseca326130
Martin322834
Wabasha29095
Hubbard286744
Dodge27149
Roseau261026
Fillmore241012
Redwood238643
Wadena234629
Houston230017
Renville226449
Faribault218530
Pennington215027
Sibley207312
Cottonwood195228
Kanabec190230
Chippewa189740
Aitkin181542
Watonwan170311
Pope15888
Yellow Medicine154720
Rock154519
Jackson145614
Koochiching137919
Clearwater135518
Swift134219
Marshall133419
Murray133210
Pipestone132327
Stevens124211
Lake108121
Wilkin101314
Lac qui Parle97524
Mahnomen87712
Norman8579
Big Stone7934
Grant7759
Lincoln7695
Kittson60322
Red Lake5869
Unassigned541124
Traverse5075
Lake of the Woods4614
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
Calhoun184115
Appanoose175950
Shelby174239
Louisa169651
Grundy167937
Emmet163842
Franklin163328
Humboldt161826
Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
Montgomery138941
Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
Davis113825
Greene113712
Lucas112224
Pocahontas109323
Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
Fremont83711
Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
Ringgold66827
Audubon64514
Adams4984
Unassigned150
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