Congressman Steve King has filed a lawsuit against Governor-elect Chet Culver. For the past eight years, Culver has been the Iowa Secretary of State, the top official in charge of elections. King, who represents western Iowa’s fifth district, says during his time in the state legislature he fought for a bill establishing English as the official state language.
"Democrat Governor TomVilsack signed the law," King says. "As we moved forward towards the election just this last fall along about October it was brought to my attention that Chet Culver, then Secretary of State, had on his website voter registration forms and absentee ballot request forms in a number of different foreign languages in direct violation of the Iowa law."
King immediately asked that the information on that website that was not in English be removed. "He answered with defiance rather than compliance," King says. When the state law was passed, opponents said federal equal-access laws would supersede some of its requirements in areas including voter information. "The law says that all official documents and publications shall be in English," says King. He says the secretary of state’s website is "as official as it gets," so King felt he had "an obligation" to file the lawsuit.
After King first challenged the multi-lingual voter information, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office issued a ruling that the materials were legal because the English-only law permits the state to help residents exercise their constitutional right to vote.