A Polk County judge is expected to rule soon on whether Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer’s name should be listed on the June Primary ballot.
The judge heard legal arguments today over three signatures on Finkenauer’s nominating petitions where signers wrote the wrong date with their name or no date at all. A state panel accepted the signatures last week. Alan Ostergren is the attorney for Republicans challenging that decision.
“The answer should not be, as it apparently was from this panel, that we should just ignore any law that we need to in order to get this candidate on the ballot,” Ostergren said.
If the judge rules the three signatures failed to meet the legal requirements, Finkenauer would fall short of the number of signatures needed to appear on the June 7 Primary ballot. Matt Gannon, an attorney for the state, defended the decision from the State Objection Panel — that signatures above and below the ones in question clearly showed the date the petition was signed by those three people.
“That is, by any stretch of the imagination, nothing more than a harmless error,” Gannon said.
Whatever ruling the district court judge issues in the coming days is likely to be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. There’s a tight timeline, as absentee ballots must be printed soon for mailing to Iowans who are serving in the military overseas.
Finkenauer, Mike Franken, and Glenn Hurst submitted petitions for the Primary ballot, in hopes of winning the Democratic Party’s nomination to face Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley in the General Election.
(By Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio)