“In any of these states there is the potential for disaster,” said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “You have close elections and the real possibility that people will say their votes were not counted when they should have been. That’s the nightmare scenario for the day after the election.”
Iowa’s secretary of state was temporarily barred from issuing new rules on purging noncitizens from voter registration rolls by a judge who said the process was likely to create confusion for legitimate voters.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican, can’t claim that the public interest justified his use of emergency rule- making procedures governing elections, Polk County District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson in Des Moines said, granting a motion for a temporary injunction.
“They have created fear that new citizens will lose their right to vote and/or be charged with a felony, and caused some qualified voters to feel deterred from even registering,” Gunderson said in her 12-page ruling.
The lawsuit is among multiple court battles over voting rules in states, particularly so-called swing states including Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where both Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns see possible victories.
At least two lawsuits challenging a proposed voter purge are pending in Florida. Voter cases are also under way in Alabama, Texas, Tennessee and South Carolina. In Pennsylvania, the stateSupreme Court is deciding whether to allow to the state to enforce a law requiring voters to have photo identification, which the American Civil Liberties Union has argued was aimed at keeping likely Democratic voters away from the polls.More from the National Conference of State Legislatures.