Iowa AG says he wont appeal English-only ballot ruling

Chris Rizo May 6, 2008, 1:19pm

Tom Miller

Des Moines, Iowa (Legal Newsline)-Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Tuesday his office will not appeal a judge's ruling that outlaws voter registration forms in languages other than English.

Miller said after consulting with Secretary of State Michael Mauro, he decided not to appeal Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal's ruling that offering voter registration forms in Spanish, Laotian, Bosnian and Vietnamese "plainly conflicts" with the state's English-only law.

The law, signed in 2002 by Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, required that all official government communications must be in conducted in English.

"Our Office view is the Legislature should amend the law and allow voter registration forms to be provided in languages other than English," Miller said in a statement.

"We will work with the secretary of state and county auditors on how election officials, within the bounds of the decision, can assist non-English-speaking Iowans in exercising their right to vote," the Democrat added.

Among ideas to help non-English speaking voters is to offer the non-English forms simply as a guide. People would then be required to transcribe the information onto an official form written in English.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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