Secretary of State hoping Supreme Court will ‘be objective’ in voter ID case

DES MOINES — Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate and attorneys for the State of Iowa headed to court Thursday, asking the Iowa Supreme Court to immediately reinstate all of Iowa’s voter ID law.

“They’re really supposed to be ruling on this from a constitutional standpoint. They’re not supposed to be legislating from the bench,” Pate said in Decorah this week. “That’s sometimes hard to get done. I’m hoping these (justices) will be objective.”

In July, a district court judge blocked three portions of the law from being enforced for this year’s General Election.

“This is a judge. It’s not the citizens,” Pate said this week. “Eighty percent of Iowans have said they favor voter ID. To me, it’s very clear they want it.”

The district court judge ruled three portions of the law “substantially interfere” with the ability of Iowans to exercise their to vote. She immediately ordered that 11 days be added back onto the “early” voting period for the General Election. The judge also blocked implementing two other provisions dealing with absentee ballots cast before Election Day. Pate’s staff has told county auditors to continue preparing for the November election as if the district court judge’s order hadn’t been issued. Pate is expressing confidence the state’s Supreme Court will reverse the district court judge’s ruling.

“We’ll present our best case. We’ll see how they respond to it and we’re hopeful that they’ll support us,” Pate says. “If they don’t, then we’ll have to revisit it and figure out another approach and still give Iowans what they want and still give Iowans the integrity.”

The district court judge temporarily blocked election officials from rejecting absentee ballot requests and absentee ballots if officials believe the signatures don’t match signatures on voters registration forms. Critics say that portion of the law forced county auditors and their staff members to become handwriting experts and did not take into account illnesses, aging and other reasons signatures change.

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