State Watch

Iowa sending absentee ballot applications to all active registered voters

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Iowa is sending all active registered voters an absentee ballot application for the Nov. 3 general election this weekend, the Iowa secretary of state’s office announced Friday.

“Iowans have options about how they choose to cast their vote,” Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) said in a statement.

“You can vote from home, you can vote in-person at your county auditor’s office, or at the polls on Election Day. The key is we want every eligible Iowan to participate and to be safe while voting.”

The applications include prepaid, first-class mail postage. The state sent every registered voter a mail-in ballot application during the June 2 GOP primary, which resulted in record-high voter participation of more than 530,000 Iowans, according to Pate.   

Pate noted that voters in most counties can return applications sent by their local county election officials.

In August, the Trump campaign sued three Iowa counties over their absentee ballot request forms. The campaign argued that the mail-in ballot applications sent to Linn, Woodbury and Johnson counties violate a directive from Pate stating that the forms must be completely blank when they are sent out. 

In Linn and Woodbury counties, a judge ruled in favor of President Trump’s reelection campaign and decided that forms that were prefilled by county auditors were invalid.

In Johnson County litigation over similar forms is ongoing. 

“For those voters in Linn and Woodbury counties, if you returned a prefilled absentee request form from your county auditor, I encourage you to fill out this official form and return it,” Pate said.

“Unfortunately, we had a few county auditors who made reckless decisions that have confused voters and possibly disenfranchised them. This mailing from my office will help ensure those Iowans receive ballots and are able to vote.”

The news comes as mail-in ballots continue to be a topic of fierce debate at both the state and federal level. Trump has repeatedly railed against the practice, saying that it leads to widespread voter fraud. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this is the case. 

On Thursday, a bulletin released by the Department of Homeland Security found that there is a Russian influence campaign afoot to “amplify” concerns about the validity of mail-in ballots.

The bulletin noted that these efforts by Russia have been going on since March, and the country’s state-controlled media and social media had been involved in the effort.

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