Matt Schultz (R) the Iowa Secretary of State ran on a platform promising to rein in the ‘rampant voter fraud’ that was going on in the state. After his election he set out on an 18 month crusade to root out every incidence of fraud and bring these dangerous felons to account for their part in destroying our democracy.
Costing the state nearly $150,000 so far, and with another six months to go, the final cost is expected to be about $280,000. Schultz says that it is a slow process because he has only one investigator and there is a “mountain” of evidence to sift through. To date he has obtained five guilty pleas and five dismissals with another five cases pending.
Of those who plead guilty, three were felons who had mistakenly thought that their voting rights had been restored, one of those felons was in the process of trying to rectify his mistake at the time of his arrest.
In a fourth case a woman had cast an absentee ballot for her daughter who had recently moved to another state where she had thought she would not be eligible to vote yet. When she found that she would be able to vote at her new residence she let her mother know and the woman who had already mailed the ballot notified authorities herself of the error.
The fifth conviction came from a man who had obtained a drivers license in the name of his brother who had died of SIDS as an infant. In the process of the license application he had mistakenly registered to vote through the motor voter law. He was not caught by Schultz’s investigation but by the police when he was arrested for DUI, after his arrest it was quickly determined that he had stolen his dead brother’s identity.
Schultz says that, “there are a lot of potential cases,” because in 2010 there were 3,582 ‘potential non-citizens’ registered to vote and of those 1,000 actually cast ballots. He does not say what leads him to believe that they are ‘potential non-citizens,’ but one need not stretch the imagination too far to think of a reason he might say that they are questionable.
Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said, “Secretary Schultz’s actions not only waste a tremendous amount of money that should be used to increase access to voting in Iowa. Ultimately, they make it demonstrably harder for eligible people to vote.”
There have been many studies in recent years to ascertain the levels of voter fraud and all have found the same results: that there is so little actual fraud, it cannot affect the outcome of any race, and much of it is accidental which Schultz’s investigation has already found. For the most part it is a matter of misunderstanding or simple error. The penalties are high and the return is so low, that it makes it a crime that virtually no one is interested in purposefully committing.
Schultz is undeterred however, he says, “We need to have zero tolerance when it comes to cheating, people have died to give us our right to vote, and we need to protect that right.” He added that with six months remaining in his investigation it is too early to draw any conclusions saying, “I don’t think you can judge the initiative until it’s over.”
h/t: Raw Story