Iowa Redistricting Cases:  the 1990s

Brown v. Iowa Legislative Council, 490 N.W.2d 551 (Iowa 1992)

The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the decision of a state district court that the Legislative Council was not required to provide to a citizen taxpayer associated with an organization called Iowans against Gerrymandering access to geographic, political, and population databases created by the Iowa Legislature's redistricting software and database vendor, Election Data Services, Inc.  The databases were created for and purchased by the General Assembly for use in legislative redistricting and the computer program developed by the vendor interrelated the different forms and sources of information.  The database was encrypted, or coded, as required by contract with the original creator of the software.  The information or raw data used in the databases was public information and was otherwise available to the plaintiff.  The Supreme Court held that the computer databases were a trade secret of the vendor who prepared them.

State Contact

Diane Bolender
Legislative Service Bureau
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
515/2813566 voice
515/281-8027 fax