District Judge Shoots down Iowa County’s Plan for Pre-Filled Vote-by-Mail Applications

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Workers look over absentee ballots during a statewide presidential election recount Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Milwaukee. The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years began Thursday in Wisconsin, a state that Donald Trump won by less than a percentage point over Hillary Clinton after polls long predicted a Clinton victory. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

A District Judge in Iowa has sided with a Trump Campaign request to throw out 50,000 requests for Absentee Ballots due to a policy enacted by the county elections official.

Joel Miller, Linn County, Iowa’s Auditor and Commissioner of Elections sent out Applications for Absentee Ballots to 140,000 voters in June with forms that were already filled out including their Voter ID numbers.   The judge stated that Miller had violated a directive from the Secretary of State in Iowa which ordered Vote-by-Mail application had to be blank.

Iowa’s Linn County is blue, having voted for Hillary Clinton by 9 points in 2016.  Efforts to fill the forms out provided for an unfair advantage over other more Republican areas of the state.  Miller now has to void out the returned applications and resend the forms out.  Miller, a Democrat, has responded to the court order by saying that he thinks the judge “did a disservice to the voters.”

Democrats have used mail ballot harvesting operations in the past to gain an advantage over the opposition in races.  Unfortunately, these efforts often occur on a blurred line between legal and illegal activities.   In Iowa, voters can designate a person to return their ballot to elections officials.   This policy can be abused as people can collect the ballots without being designated and then drop the ballots in the mail, or worse yet, dispose of them should they not like the voter’s registered party or candidate preference.

Miller may have been seeking to create this advantage in his historically Democrat county.  Such an advantage could have led to thousands of votes being harvested that would not have otherwise been cast.



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