Judge grants Trump campaign's request to block thousands of Iowa absentee ballot requests

A judge on Thursday granted the Trump campaign's appeal to block 50,000 absentee ballot requests in an Iowa county.

Judge Ian Thornhill issued a temporary injunction invalidating 50,000 requests in Linn County, siding with the campaign that the county elections commissioner overstepped the process by prefiling them with voters' personal information, the Des Moines Register reported.

The campaign previously filed lawsuits against Linn and two other counties, claiming their attempts to send absentee ballots with prefilled information such as voting pin or driver's license numbers violate a state directive mandating all ballots should be blank upon arrival.

ADVERTISEMENT

The injunction orders Linn County Auditor Joel Miller to contact voters who received the absentee ballots to inform them that the forms should not have been prefilled with their information and cannot be processed.

Now, voters will have submit new blank requests for absentee ballots or vote in person on Election Day on Nov. 3.

In July, Miller sent absentee ballots to nearly 140,000 county voters with prefilled personal information, including their voter identification numbers.

Miller has said his reasoning for sending ballots with voters' information was to make it as easy as possible to vote absentee due to overwhelming requests caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The campaign is also suing Woodbury and Johnson counties in Iowa.

A second Iowa judge ruled in favor of the campaign and ordered Woodbury to invalidate at least 14,000 absentee ballot requests.

The moves come as Trump has criticized mail-in voting in recent weeks, warning that it could lead to mass amounts of voter fraud on Election Day. 

A senior FBI official said that "we have not seen to date a coordinated national voter fraud effort," adding that it would be "extraordinarily difficult" to alter the election in this way.