The Trump campaign is suing three Iowa counties over their absentee ballots, which arrived “pre-filled with information” — something the campaign claims violates Secretary of State Paul Pate’s (R) instruction to mail blank forms to voters.
The Trump campaign has launched lawsuits against Johnson, Linn, and most recently, Woodbury County over the mailing of absentee ballot request forms featuring pre-filled information, including “names, dates of birth and a voting pin number that few people know,” according to the Associated Press (AP).
In March, Pate announced that absentee ballot request forms would be mailed out to every active registered voter in the state ahead of the state’s June 2 primary. Similarly, voters “just have to review, sign and return the forms to get ballots mailed to them beginning Oct. 5,” for the upcoming general election.
The issue, though, is the pre-filled information. The campaign contends that it violates Pate’s insistence that blank ballot forms be sent to voters to “ensure uniformity statewide,” according to the AP:
County officials say they are acting within their authority to promote absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic. They say that leaving the forms blank would threaten to disenfranchise people who do not know their voting pin or driver’s license numbers, either of which must be provided under the state’s voter identification law.
Under a new law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, auditors cannot use their databases to fill in blank pin numbers on the forms as they have done in past elections. Instead, they must try to contact those voters by email or mail to correct errors themselves, a time-consuming process that will not always be successful.
Similarly, President Trump’s 2020 campaign, as well as the New Jersey Republican State Committee and the Republican National Committee (RNC), are suing New Jersey over Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) executive order “instituting the rules that would give voters an option to avoid voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic,” as Breitbart News detailed.
In addition to sending vote-by-mail ballots, along with pre-paid postage, to all active registered voters, Murphy’s executive order extends the deadline for the return of the ballots. Those returned through USPS “with a postmark on or before November 3rd to be counted as a valid ballot by the County Clerk, if received by 8:00 p.m. on November 10th.”
Additionally, “ballots without a postmark that are received by the county boards of elections within 48 hours of the closing of polls on November 3rd shall be considered valid.”
Per Murphy’s office:
Today’s executive order will also require a minimum of at least one polling place in each municipality and a minimum of 50 percent of polling places in each county to provide New Jersey voters with access to in-person voting opportunities, including accommodations for voters with disabilities. All public schools will close for in-person instruction on November 3rd to allow counties to use their buildings as polling locations, if necessary. Polling locations will be required to follow public health standards, including ensuring six feet of distance, requiring poll workers to wear face coverings and gloves, frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, and providing sanitization materials to all individuals at a polling place.
“In his haste, the governor created a system that will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote,” the lawsuit alleges.
“By ordering universal vote-by-mail, he has created a recipe for disaster,” it continues. “Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Author: Hannah Bleau