Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate appears to be on a collision course with election administrators in Iowa’s second- and fourth-largest counties, which both lean Democratic.
Linn County Auditor Joel Miller and Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert have proceeded with mailing absentee ballot request forms to every active registered voter in their jurisdictions, with voters’ information filled in. Miller’s office has nearly completed is mailing, and thousands of Linn County voters have already returned their forms. Weipert’s staff mailed the first batch of pre-filled absentee ballot request forms to Johnson County residents on July 27.
The same day, Pate’s staff attorney wrote to Miller and Weipert, asking dozens of questions about the mailings and demanding a broad array of relevant documents. Those letters sounded like the precursor to legal action.
Also on July 27, the lead attorney for the Republican National Committee asked Pate to take emergency action to block the Linn and Johnson County mailings and declare the forms invalid. His letter indicated that the national party may sue to stop Miller and Weipert from giving voters in their counties a supposedly “unconstitutional advantage in the November election.”