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bsentee ballot request forms to be mailed to Iowa voters ahead of general election

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DES MOINES – A plan to mail an application for an absentee ballot for the November election was unanimously approved by the Iowa Legislative Council Friday.

Secretary of State Paul Pate said his plan was to ensure the safety of Iowa voters and poll workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to “conduct a clean, fair and secure election.”

Pate said he proposed the plan after receiving feedback from all of Iowa’s 99 county auditors.

“Voters will still have the option of casting their ballot in person and we will provide resources to protect Iowans who choose that method,” said Pate. “This process worked great in the June primary and I believe it will work in the general election.”

Pate did a similar mailing for the primary June 2, but the Republican-led legislature voted in mid-June to force Pate to seek the council’s permission for such a move in the future.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny said the proposal the council approved came from Pate and ensures uniformity.

The plan also bans county auditors from sending absentee ballot applications with the voter identification number filled in on the form. That part of the plan may be challenged in court. There is already a lawsuit challenging a new state law that changes the way county auditors may correct or fill in missing information on the request forms that are mailed in by voters.

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