Pate did a similar mailing for the June 2nd Primary, but the Republican-led legislature voted in mid-June to force Pate to seek the council’s permission for such a move in the future. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, is one of 24 lawmakers who serve on the panel.
“I’m glad that the majority Republicans are no longer mad at Paul Pate, our secretary of state, for his earlier work on the June Primary,” Bolkcom said this evening.
Earlier this month, Republicans on the council rejected Democrats’ call to let Pate do the statewide mailing. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny said the proposal the Council approved late today came from Pate and ensures uniformity.
“You won’t have 18 counties sending out absentee request and 81 not sending them out,” Whitver said. “All Iowa voters will have access to an absentee ballot request, no matter which county they live in.”
The plan also bans county auditors from sending absentee ballot applications with the voter identification number filled in on the form. That part of the plan approved today may be challenged in court. There is already a lawsuit challenging a new state law that changes the way county auditors may correct or fill in missing information on the request forms that are mailed in by voters.