A district court judge has ruled that some sort of identification card can be required for in-person voting on Election Day in Iowa, but the judge has rejected two other voting rules Republican lawmakers enacted in 2017.
Secretary of State Paul Pate called the ruling “a victory for election integrity.”
The judge did overturn part of the law that forbid Pate from issuing a “Voter ID Card” to Iowans who have a driver’s license or other recognized forms of identification, so the ruling ensures anyone may ask for a “Voter ID Card”.
In addition, county election officials had been given authority to reject absentee ballots if the voter’s signature didn’t appear to match a signature on file. The judge said there were too many questions — including where to find a voter’s valid signature, so the judge nixed “signature verification,” saying it could deprive eligible Iowans of the right to vote.
However, the judge noted the Iowa Supreme Court has not ruled whether voting early — before Election Day — is a right protected by the Constitution — and therefore he upheld the requirement that absentee ballot requests be linked to a voter ID number either written on the request form by the voter or tracked down later by the county auditor.
The ruling comes from a judge appointed to the Polk County District Court in 2013 by Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who signed the Voter ID bill into law. The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa filed the lawsuit, arguing the law makes it more difficult for many Iowans to exercise their right to vote.