Iowa Supreme Court denies requests for interlocutory review on absentee ballot request forms

by Rox Laird | September 17, 2020

The Iowa Supreme Court issued a two-paragraph order Wednesday denying separate appeals from Linn County Auditor Joel Miller and a Cedar Rapids resident seeking interlocutory review of Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill’s temporary injunction enforcing Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s directive that absentee ballot request forms not include pre-printed voter identification information.

The two appeals flow from an Aug. 10  lawsuit against the Linn County Auditor by the Republican National Committee, Donald J. Trump for President Inc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Iowa. The plaintiffs argued that Miller violated the Secretary of State’s directive by sending out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters in the county preprinted with voters’ ID numbers.

The District Court issued a temporary injunction ordering Miller to notify voters who returned the pre-filled absentee ballot request forms to submit new request forms that comply with the Secretary of State’s directive.

Miller asked the Supreme Court to stay the District Court injunction and hear his appeal. Miller argued that his ballot request forms were authorized by state statute and that he exercised his authority under the Home Rule Amendment to the Iowa Constitution in mailing the pre-filled forms.

A separate application for interlocutory review of the District Court’s injunction was filed by Linn County resident and registered voter Robert Teig, a Cedar Rapids attorney who before retirement was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.

Teig asked the Court to review an order by the Linn County District Court denying his motion to intervene as a registered voter whose ballot request form was invalidated by the injunction. Teig argued the District Court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the Republicans’ suit in the first place because the plaintiffs did not have a “cognizable cause of action.”

The Supreme Court’s order, signed by Chief Justice Susan Larson Christensen denied both appeals. The Court’s two paragraph order in its entirety:

“This matter comes before the full court on: (1) an application for interlocutory review and request for expedited relief and immediate stay filed by defendant Joel Miller, the Linn County Auditor; and (2) an application for interlocutory review, motion to expedite, motion for three-judge review, motion to dismiss, motion to be made a party to defendant’s interlocutory appeal, motion to grant interlocutory appeal, and motion to vacate or stay temporary injunction filed by appellant Robert Teig. Plaintiffs have filed resistances to each application. Appellant Teig has filed a reply.”


“Upon consideration of the documents filed, the court denies the applications for interlocutory appeal, request for stay, and motion to dismiss. The remaining motions are denied as moot.”

Iowa Supreme Court Denying Linn County Appeal
Linn County Order for Temporary Injunction

Iowa Supreme Court Order denying Woodbury County appeal
Woodbury County Order for Temporary Injunction

Johnson County Order for Temporary Injunction

Update (9/18/2020): In a second Sept. 16 order, the Court denied applications for interlocutory appeal of a similar temporary injunction entered by Woodbury County District court, by Woodbury County Auditor Patrick Gill and intervenors League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward.


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