ACLU of Iowa and LULAC restart Voter Suppression Lawsuit against Iowa Secretary of State

(The full statement from the ACLU of Iowa and Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens is here. Schultz confirmed earlier this year that he planned to enact the new rules, but did not call attention to the issue this week.   - promoted by desmoinesdem)

March 29, 2013 

The ACLU of Iowa and Iowa LULAC today restarted their lawsuit to stop the Secretary of State from an unreliable process to remove registered voters if they cannot prove their U.S. citizenship within a limited time.

The ACLU of Iowa and the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) filed papers in Polk County District court today, renewing their lawsuit against two rules filed by the Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz that the groups say wrongly restrict voting by qualified Iowans.

One rule would have allowed unverified challenges to another voter’s qualifications. The Secretary of State eventually voluntarily withdrew that rule. The other rule, which took effect yesterday, allows the Secretary of State to run Iowa’s registered voters through numerous federal databases to attempt to generate a list of non-citizens.

The ACLU and LULAC say that the Secretary of State was never authorized by the Iowa legislature to put his Voter Removal Rule forward, and that it will erroneously deprive qualified citizens in Iowa of their right to vote. The ACLU and LULAC cite problems with running the registered voter lists through the federal SAVE system, as well as a lack of procedural checks to protect voters once they are identified.

ACLU of Iowa Restarts Its Voter Suppression Lawsuit Against the Iowa Secretary of State

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  • thanks for this diary

    I have been meaning to follow up on this issue. This part of the press release is important:

    The other rule, which took effect yesterday, allows the Secretary of State to run Iowa’s registered voters through numerous federal databases to attempt to generate a list of non-citizens. But the databases contain numerous points of error in information, were never designed to cross-check voters, contain insufficient data to do so comprehensively, and put the burden on voters to prove their citizenship if they are identified, rightly or wrongly. Even the federal government agency that runs the SAVE databases recommended against using it to cross-check voters. Obtaining proof of citizenship to correct errors in the SAVE system can cost voters hundreds of dollars, in-person interviews with the federal government, and lengthy delays. Obtaining certificates of naturalization for the case of a new U.S. citizen, for example, can take six months to a year and cost hundreds of dollars. […]

    Those voters identified by Schultz would be sent letters giving them 60 days to prove their citizenship or face challenge and removal proceedings at the county level. […]

    The ACLU and LULAC were able to stop the rules prior to the general election in November [2012] by getting a temporary injunction in court. While a temporary injunction is not a final ruling, one of the things the ACLU and LULAC had to prove at that time was that they were likely to ultimately succeed in their legal claims. However, the injunction expired today, when the final rule regarding voter removal took effect and supplanted the emergency rules.

    Now, the ACLU and LULAC are seeking a final determination that the emergency rules were illegal, as well as to stop the final rule allowing for voter removal.

    The ACLU and LULAC say that the Secretary of State was never authorized by the Iowa legislature to put his Voter Removal Rule forward, and that it will erroneously deprive qualified citizens in Iowa of their right to vote. The ACLU and LULAC cite problems with running the registered voter lists through the federal SAVE system, as well as a lack of procedural checks to protect voters once they are identified.

  • Schultz's rule is obviously discriminatory

    He is identifying a particular group of people and requiring them to prove their citizenship. That’s a requirement that does not apply to the rest of us. All we have to do is sign the registration form to affirm that we are citizens.

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