The Trump campaign received a legal victory last week when an Iowa judge voided 50,000 absentee ballot requests, NBC News reported. The requests were invalidated because the elections commission sent out absentee ballot request forms with voters’ personal information already filled out on them. According to Judge Ian Thornhill, the forms shouldn’t have been filled out before being sent. Because of that, the forms can’t be processed.
Thornhill said Linn County Auditor Joel Miller violated Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s July directive that said the request forms had to be blank when mailed to voters.
Miller is required to notify voters that they must fill out new absentee request forms or show up to vote in-person on Election Day.
According to NBC News, Miller had 140,000 pre-filled absentee request forms sent to voters in July. Pre-filled information included names, dates of birth and voter identification numbers. As of now, 50,000 absentee request forms have been returned with voters’ signature. The county could be critical this election cycle because it’s Iowa’s second largest county and it leans heavily Democrat.
One of the main reasons Thornhill allowed the lawsuit to proceed was because the Trump campaign and GOP groups “demonstrated a likelihood of being harmed, noting that not all Iowa counties have the money to send out pre-filled absentee ballot requests.”
The judge made clear that voters have time to still request ballots, meaning they won’t lose their right to vote. He also stated Miller’s “words and actions show he was aware of the risk he was taking” when the pre-filled request forms were sent out.