A judge in Iowa’s second-largest county invalidated over 50,000 applications for absentee ballots Thursday.
Judge Ian Thornhill’s ruling prompted election officials to resend applications to thousands of voters due to issues with the originals, according to CBS 46.
The report continued:
The judge sided with the Trump campaign and the Republican Party, which filed a lawsuit this month seeking to discard the absentee ballot request forms. The Trump campaign argued the forms should have been blank except for the election date and type, per the Iowa secretary of state’s directions. Local officials in Linn County, which is home to Cedar Rapids, ignored those directions and sent out the applications with more information anyway.
Thornhill’s temporary injunction ordered Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat, to notify voters that the forms should not have been pre-filled with their information and therefore could not be processed, according to NBC News.
Voters would need to fill out a new request for an absentee ballot or vote on Election Day, the report stated, adding:
Republicans said the ruling would hold a “rogue auditor” accountable and enhance voting security, while outraged Democrats called it an act of voter suppression. Miller said he would abide by the order, pledging to void the returned requests and send out new blank forms to voters next month.
There was similar litigation awaiting a decision in Woodbury and Johnson counties where auditors also sent pre-filled forms, but Thornhill’s ruling affected Linn County only, according to CBS 2 Iowa.
The ruling stated:
It is implausible to conclude that near total completion of an absentee ballot application by the auditor is authorized under Iowa law where the legislature has specifically forbidden government officials from partially completing the same document. Not every county can afford the prepopulated request forms.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel praised the move in a statement Thursday and said it upheld “a key voter protection mechanism and will help to ensure Iowa’s elections are free, fair and transparent.”