Latino civil rights group sues over new Iowa law they say curtails voting availability

Latino civil rights group sues over new Iowa law they say curtails voting availability
© Getty Images

A Latino civil rights group is suing the state of Iowa over a new law that they say curtails voting abilities in the state.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) sued in an Iowa state court to block Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) and Attorney General Thomas Miller (D) from enforcing certain parts of Senate File 413 because they violate the state’s Constitution.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed the Senate File 413 into law on Monday, which the GOP-controlled legislature pursed as an election integrity measure. The bill took effect immediately.


Reynolds was not named as a defendant in the suit.

Attorney Marc Elias, who is representing LULAC of Iowa, announced the lawsuit on Twitter, saying “on behalf of the @LULAC of Iowa, we have filed a lawsuit challenging Iowa's new voter suppression law.”

“The voting restrictions in this law create an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote in violation of the Iowa Constitution,” he tweeted.


The complaint posted by Elias alleges that portions of the bill violate constitutional provisions protecting the right to vote, the right to free speech, right to assemble, and equal protection clauses.

“The Voter Suppression Bill imposes unjustified burdens on lawful Iowa voters at every step of the voting process, reducing their opportunities to register, vote absentee, and vote in person on election day,” the suit states.

Senate File 413 shortens the state’s early voting window from 29 days to 20 days and closes polls earlier at 8 p.m. on Election Day, rather than 9 p.m. It also forces auditors and election officials to enforce state election laws, or face potential fines.

Other GOP-controlled legislatures have continued pursuing similar measures following former President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE's false claims that widespread voter fraud cost him reelection.

LULAC National President and CEO Domingo Garcia told The Hill in a brief interview that the efforts are “really reprehensible behavior that weakens our democracy and tries to dissolve the concept of one, one person, one vote.”

“We're seeing, you know just full-blown efforts in Republican-controlled states to limit the right of people to vote,” Garcia said. “It’s something you expect in third world countries, not the United States.”  

In a statement to The Hill, Pate said “the Iowa Legislature makes the laws. It is our job as election officials to follow those laws. Iowa is consistently one of the top states in the nation for voter registration and participation and I’ll keep striving to make us number one.”

“My office will continue providing resources to help every eligible Iowan be a voter and understand any changes in election law,” Pate said. “Our goal has always been to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.”

The Hill has reached out to Miller’s office for comment.