It’s been quite the week for the Iowa Supreme Court.
On Friday, the state court issued a significant ruling that
overturned a 2018 ruling, in effect saying that the Iowa Constitution does not
make access to abortion services a fundamental right.
Yesterday, the five candidates for the court’s next opening —
which will occur next month — were announced.
The latest court vacancy is being created by the pending
retirement of Justice Brent Appel, the last remaining member of the court who
was appointed by a Democratic governor.
And once Gov. Kim Reynolds appoints Appel’s replacement, she will
have appointed five of the court’s seven members.
We put together a quick look at the five candidates for the
Supreme Court vacancy, so be sure to check that out.
I also want to take a quick moment in today’s newsletter to point
out some great work done by my colleagues at the Lee newspapers, with whom we
share government and politics coverage.
Sarah Watson at the Quad City Times reported that 42 ballots in
Clinton County were not counted in Iowa’s June 7 primary election because of an
error by the post office and the state’s new Election Day deadline for absentee
ballots. Definitely be sure to check out Sarah’s story.
And Jared McNett at the Sioux City Journal reported that in myriad
Northwest Iowa counties, more than 160 absentee ballot requests were submitted
to local elections officials too late, after an earlier deadline imposed by a
new state law. Check out Jared’s story, too.
These are important stories because these are exactly the types of
things that local elections officials — of all political stripes — warned
Republican state lawmakers when they crafted the 2019 elections bill that
significantly constrained early and absentee voting.
Sarah’s story in the Times should be particularly troubling,
because in that story 42 Iowans cast their votes, but those votes were not
counted — through no real fault of those Iowans. A May 24 postmark should have
been more than enough time to mail in a ballot for a June 7 election. That’s
two whole weeks. And because the new state elections law is unforgiving for
ballots that arrive after Election Day, those votes were not counted.
Great work by Sarah and Jared.