Iowa judge's ruling hands Trump campaign early win on mail-in ballots

Court invalidates 50,000 absentee ballot applications that were pre-filled by election official.

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Mail in ballot in Utah for the 2018 midterm election
Mail in ballot in Utah for the 2018 midterm election
(George Frey / Getty Images)
Updated: August 28, 2020 - 11:13pm

An Iowa judge's ruling invalidating 50,000 requests for absentee ballots because an election official pre-filled voters' personal information has handed President Trump’s campaign an early win in its fight against expanded mail-in balloting.

Judge Ian Thornhill this week ruled Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat, overstepped his bounds by pre-entering personal information in the ballots mailed out to county voters.

Miller has been ordered to void the original ballot requests and inform voters in writing they must process new absentee ballots or show up to the polls to vote in person.

The ruling Thursday provided an early victory for the Trump campaign, which is legally challenging practices across the country that loosen rules for mail-in ballots during the pandemic.

Republicans argue such court challenges are needed to ensure election security and prevent fraud, while Democrats accuse the GOP of voter suppression.

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