Iowa Judge Halts Effort to Disenfranchise Voters
March 6, 2014
Contact: Paloma Zuleta, pzuleta at LULAC.org, (202) 812-4477
Iowa LULAC Secures Victory for Voters
Washington, D.C. – LULAC commends Judge Scott D. Rosenberg, District Court Judge for the 5th Judicial District of Iowa, for rejecting a controversial rule that would have allowed state voter records to be compared to the federal immigration database known as SAVE. Following the comparison, certain voters would have been identified as ineligible to vote and removed from Iowa’s voter lists. In his ruling, District Judge Rosenberg held that Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz acted outside his authority in creating the rule.
“LULAC applauds the ruling of District Judge Rosenberg striking down the Iowa Secretary of State’s effort to unduly limit voter participation,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The rule would have put in place an unreliable infrastructure which would have denied countless eligible people the right to vote. Such action would have caused irreparable harm to the voting process in Iowa.”
“On behalf of the Latino community in Iowa, we are thankful that justice has prevailed,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, LULAC Iowa State Director. “The individual’s right to vote has been preserved thanks to District Judge Rosenberg's ruling!”
District Judge Rosenberg declared that Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz lacked the legal authority under Iowa law to create a voter removal rule. Iowa state law only provides 6 reasons for allowing the cancellation of voter registration. Those reasons include: if a voter dies, registers in another jurisdiction, requests cancellation in writing, is convicted of a felony, is declared incompetent or has been inactive for two successive general elections.
“This important decision protects the fundamental right to vote in Iowa and appropriately places limits on unbridled executive action that circumvents the legislature,” said Rita Bettis Legal Director from the ACLU of Iowa.
“The right to vote should never be used as a divisive tool for political gain. The SAVE database was not designed to provide an accurate, reliable, or complete check on the citizenship of registered voters. We congratulate and thank LULAC of Iowa, our client in this case, which demonstrated early on the suppressive effect of the unauthorized rule on Latinos and new U.S. citizen voters in Iowa. Special thanks also to our cooperating attorney Joseph Glazebrook of Glazebrook and Moe, LLP, for his stellar work on the case.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.