Resource: LULAC of Iowa v. Pate

By: COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

October 6, 2020

Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

Iowa doesn’t require voters to provide an excuse to submit an absentee ballot, but voters must complete an absentee ballot request that requires certain identifying information and an affidavit. Election officials were able to use available voter database information to fill in any missing information on absentee ballot requests prior to sending the absentee ballots to voters. In June 2020, the Iowa legislature passed HF 2643, which prohibited election officials from looking up missing or incorrect information from voter databases and instead requires them to contact absentee ballot applicants by phone or email to obtain the information. Plaintiffs sued seeking orders declaring that HF 2643 violates the Iowa state constitution and enjoining the defendant from enforcing HF 2643 on the grounds that it violates due process and unjustly restricts the right to vote, particularly in light of concerns around in-person voting due to COVID-19.