LULAC scores major victory for Latino voters in Iowa

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Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Sees a Win Against Voter Suppression Legislation in the State

A District Court Judge in Iowa issued an important ruling Tuesday in a major win for LULAC by overturning several major elements of a voter suppression law that was passed by the state legislature in 2017. The judge’s ruling sends a clear message to those who would attempt to violate our right to vote.

“This is a victory for our community throughout the United States,” says Domingo Garcia, National LULAC President. “Most especially, this ruling recognizes the sacrifice Latinos and Hispanics have made in the struggle to ensure our civil rights and especially the right to vote,” he added.

The decision by Judge Joseph Seidlen rejected requirements that Iowa voters must provide a voter ID number to get an absentee ballot or that people who could not produce a driver’s license or ID issued by the state could be denied a voter ID card. Also thrown out was a rule that rejected votes from people based on a person’s signature.

“LULAC worked hard in Iowa to make our community aware of the legal requirements for voting and this decision vindicates all our effort,” said Joe Henry, President of Council 307 and Special Advisor to the President. “On all counts, the court’s ruling clears the way now for our Latino votes to play a major role in 2020 and we’re going to continue urging Latinos to make their voice heard,” he added.

Iowa has a growing Latino community in the state and already 70% of adult Latinos and Hispanics are registered to vote. Now, LULAC is working to boost Latino voter turnout by another 25,000 to show the country that our community will play a decisive role in the 2020 primaries and general elections.

“We must continue to be diligent and determined in fighting voter suppression whether it’s in Iowa or anywhere else in America,” says Nick Salazar, Iowa State Director. “This legal ruling is an important step but we have to stay alert in our local polling places, county election centers and state capitols to ensure our votes are counted,” he concluded.

The following is a summary of the judge’s ruling —

  • The court permanently enjoined the signature match provisions for absentee ballots finding that they violate the Iowa Constitution.
  • The court permanently enjoined the State from saying that an ID number is required to request an absentee ballot and it leaves in place an earlier ruling that county auditors may complete an absentee application that is missing an ID number using the state’s voter records. The temporary injunction against considering the ID number at all was dissolved.

Finally, although the court said that the overall voter ID requirement is constitutional, it required the Secretary of State to permit county auditors to provide all registered voters with a free Voter ID Card upon request.

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