Monday, December 16, 2013

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz Spends Nearly $150,000 to Find Five Incidents of Voter Fraud

(Secretary of State Matt Schultz)
Iowa's Secretary of State Matt Schultz has been trying to prove a problem with voter fraud in Iowa since getting into office in 2011. Beginning in July 2012, he arranged for a full-time agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigator to scour the state for incidents of voter fraud. 18 months later and at a cost of $149,200, Schultz has managed to have criminal charges pressed in 16 cases. Five of those cases have already been dismissed and five others have resulted in guilty pleas. The other six still fall in the area of "innocent before proven guilty." It's very possible that some or all of them will be dismissed or acquitted.

Here is Matt Schultz's reaction to this news:
“Before, the narrative was that there’s no such thing as voter fraud,” he said. “That’s obviously changed. Iowans expect us to do something when we know there’s a problem.”
Let's look at those five guilty pleas...

Three of the guilty pleas involved felons who had registered to vote before their voting rights had been restored. One of those three was also not a U.S. citizen. A fourth case involved a woman who had obtained and cast an absentee vote on behalf of her daughter. The fifth case involved an identity theft case involving a man who had fraudulently registered to vote using his deceased brother's name while applying for a driver's license (also in his deceased brother's name).

Let's look at some of those five guilty pleas even closer...

One of the felons listed above had registered and voted in a Marshall County 2012 election under the mistaken belief that his voting rights had been automatically reinstated at the end of his probation. He pleaded guilty at the advise of his attorney, who determined that it was safer to agree to the plea deal instead of going to trial and risking prison.

One of the other felons accidentally registered to vote in Warren County while completing paperwork to obtain a state ID card. He was working to resolve the situation on the own, according to his attorney, when Schultz's DCI agent inserted himself and forced a criminal prosecution. He also pleaded guilty on the advise of his attorney.

Then there is the case of the mother who voted via absentee ballot on behalf of her daughter. She claims that she requested and cast the absentee ballot at the request of her daughter in the 2012 election. She later learned that her daughter already voted in Minnesota and then reported herself to her county election officials.

Secretary of State Schultz dismisses complaints that these five convictions over 18 months do not prove systemic voter fraud in this state. It's certainly not enough of a problem (even if you count all 16 of these proven, dismissed, and pending cases) to actually sway any elections.

But Schultz wants you to know that he still has time to prove that Iowa has a huge problem with voter fraud:
Schultz though, is undeterred. “We need to have zero tolerance when it comes to cheating,” he said. “People have died to give us our right to vote, and we need to protect that right.” He also cautioned against drawing conclusions with six months left in the DCI investigation. “I don’t think you can judge the initiative until it’s over,” he said.
Schultz's voter fraud investigation will end in June 2014.

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