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State

County auditors say officials told to ignore judge’s order

DES MOINES — Iowa election officials were told Thursday to follow the state’s new voter identification law despite a judge’s order that temporarily halted several provisions, according to two county auditors Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said Ken Kline, deputy commissioner of elections at the Secretary of State’s Office, told a gathering of the Iowa County Auditor Association in Iowa City they didn’t need to follow a temporary injunction issued Wednesday by Polk County Judge Karen Romano.

The two county auditors said Dawn Wilson, director of elections at the Secretary of State’s Office, told election officials to expect written guidance at a later date. Miller called their comments “inappropriate.”

“I’m sure they scripted it before they went up there,” Miller said. “They’re supposed to be the know-it-alls on this particular topic and they flubbed up.”

Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Kevin Hall said state officials weren’t aware at the time of the meeting that the injunction was in effect. Secretary of State Paul Pate is appealing the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, said the injunction must be followed. A procedural requirement was met Wednesday afternoon, but the state hadn’t received notice, which caused the confusion, Hicks said.

Under the injunction, the state is barred from requiring that absentee ballots include a voter verification number. Signature-matching requirements for absentee ballots also are on hold. Hicks said those changes apply immediately to any special elections already underway.

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