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Iowa Secretary of State makes compelling case

It would seem to us — as it does to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate — that uniformity in elections is a good guarantee of fairness. Pate has been waging a fight in Iowa to enforce his directive that requires counties to mail blank absentee ballot applications to voters, instead of ones pre-filled in with their personal information.

If some counties choose to do one thing while other counties do another, then the state’s uniformity in voting is skewed. Some critics go further, saying that what some Iowa counties are choosing to do will create election “chaos.”

Earlier this week, a judge’s ruling blocked Pate’s effort. But the Iowa Supreme Court has intervened, saying it will put the judge’s ruling on hold pending the high court hearing arguments in the matter. We believe this is good news, as long as the Iowa Supreme Court takes the uniformity issue seriously.

Pate is absolutely right in his stand, but the high court also needs to act quickly. Tens of thousands of ballots already have been invalidated and counties will need time to mail new ballots to voters. Which is good, but also raises questions about multiple ballots floating around, as well as confusion on the part of voters. It makes us wonder about those people who declare unequivocally that mail-in balloting is secure and free of any potential fraud or mishaps.

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