The Iowa Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging a state voter registration rule. The rule presently allows only Democrats and Republicans to list their party affiliation on voter registration forms. Political parties which don’t garner at least two percent of the popular vote in presidential or gubernatorial elections in Iowa are barred from being listed on voter registration forms. The I-C-L-U’s Ben Stone says that’s discrimination. “This lawsuit is really about a situation where size really shouldn’t matter,” Stone says.”This is about people being able to register for a party of their choice and have their name associated with other people in their party in a way that will open up the political system in Iowa to a diversity of viewpoints and a more dynamic democracy.” Stone says Democrats and Republicans use voter registration lists to build their parties, and Libertarians, Greens or other lesser-known parties should be able to do the same. Stone says voter registration records are public records, and gives parties an opportunity to find out who their ideological partners may be around the state. “What we would like to see happen is for our case to open up the (state’s political) system,” Stone says. He says the state’s voter registration rule is “arbitrary” and is a barrier to voters’ right to freedom of expression. Stone knows of only one other state which forbids voters from listing whatever their party preference is on voter registration materials.
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