Trump Campaign Scores Legal Victory After Iowa Judge Deems Pre-Filled Ballot Applications Invalid

Election workers sort vote-by-mail ballots for the presidential primary at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump campaign scored another legal victory after challenging three Iowa counties that sent voters application ballots with pre-filled information.

Judge Ian Thornhill determined that thousands of ballot applications sent to voters in Johnson County are invalid, as they were pre-filled with information. Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert must nullify the applications and alert those who sent in applications that they have since been invalidated. Affected voters must fill out another application as a result of the ruling.

CBS2 reported:

At least 15,000 request forms pre-populated with voter’s personal information, including voter PIN numbers, were returned to the Johnson County auditors office last week. Voter’s four-digit PIN numbers, driver’s license numbers or other valid ID numbers are required on these forms as part of Iowa’s Voter ID law.

Judge Ian Thornhill in his decision said the court sided with the Republican plaintiffs because they “are attempting to enforce the valid exercise of power by the Secretary of State and specific statutory directives of the legislature.” Thornhill also ruled in the Linn County case.

The victory follows wins for the Trump campaign in both Linn and Woodbury counties as well, which resulted in the invalidation of over 50,000 applications for absentee ballots in Linn County alone. Thornhill also issued the ruling in Linn, which stated in part:

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.

The Trump campaign argued that the pre-filled ballots violated Secretary of State Paul Pate’s (R) directive to mail blank forms to voters in the state. However, officials stated that blank forms could essentially “threaten to disenfranchise” individuals who are not aware of key information, such as their driver’s license number, as the AP reported in August.

The Iowa GOP celebrated the judge’s ruling, stating that it should “effectively close the case on rogue county auditors trying to skirt Iowa’s widely-supported voter ID laws.”

“Iowa Republicans will continue advocating for accessible and fair elections,” Republican Party of Iowa communications director Aaron Britt said.

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