Paul Pate (file photo)

Late tomorrow afternoon, the state’s top election official will ask the Iowa Legislative Council for permission to mail absentee ballot request forms to every active Iowa voter.

Secretary of State Paul Pate mailed the forms to voters before the June Primary, encouraging Iowans to vote-from-home during the pandemic rather than risk their health standing in line at a polling place. There was record participation in the primary and about 80 percent voted early.

Ten days later, the Republican-led legislature voted to force Pate to seek approval from the Legislative Council if he planned a similar mailing in the future. Pate, in a document for the Council’s meeting today, said he’d use federal “Help America Vote” money to cover the cost of the mailing.

Some county auditors have said they intend to mail absentee ballot request forms, with some of the information on the form filled in for the voter. Pate is asking the Legislative Council to prevent auditors from doing that and require only blank forms be mailed from county auditors to voters. A new state law about how county auditors may confirm and correct information on the forms they receive is being challenged in court.