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What does the SCOTUS voter ruling mean for Iowa?

DES MOINES - The Iowa Secretary of State is "still in the process of examining" a key voter registration ruling from the Supreme Court on Monday.

The court's justices ruled 5-4 that the state of Ohio didn't violate federal laws by "purging voters" who didn't vote for six years and didn't respond to mailings about their residency. 

The ruling protects similar laws in six states: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Montana.

So what does that mean for Iowa?

"Iowa law and Ohio law are not identical, and a cross-jurisdictional analysis takes time," said Kevin Hall, communications director for Secretary of State Paul Pate.

"Generally speaking, in Iowa, a voter who does not participate in two consecutive general elections, does not respond to mailings to confirm their status, and does not update their voter registration information, is placed on inactive status and issued a notification. Inactive voters can update their status to active anytime, including on Election Day," said Hall. "Failure to vote or update their information for two more general elections results in cancellation."

Pate told Local 5 in a statement that clean voters rolls "should be a priority for every election administrator." 

"It is certainly a priority of mine, in order to ensure election integrity," said Pate. "No one is removed from the rolls simply for failing to vote. We have multiple checks and balances in place to protect the voter's eligibility before cancellation is considered. Iowa is one of only seven states that has online voter registration, Election Day registration, no-fault absentee voting, and early voting. We are a leader in voter registration and participation, and we will maintain that status while ensuring election integrity. Participation and integrity are not mutually exclusive."

Many Democrats believe that this ruling will hurt their voter base, while Republicans are happy about it.


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