Secretary of State
Des Moines, IA 50319
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
|FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Chance McElhaney, (515) 725-2942
DCI Investigations Improve the Administration of Iowa's Elections
***This column written by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz was printed in the Sunday, February 9, 2013 edition of the Des Moines Register.***
One of the biggest lies of the year was President Obama claiming, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." The Register's Editorial Board tried to top that last Sunday by stating "it is now clear that Schultz's crusade has wrongly denied some Iowans the right to have their ballots counted." That was a lie.
The Register's Editorial Board tried to mislead the public and make accusations about my office and DCI's investigations. The fact is, we found out about inaccurate information regarding these three voters because of the DCI investigations. Without DCI's investigations, these three individuals would still be listed as felons and kept from voting.
With regards to felon voting rights, the Secretary of State's office is simply a "filing cabinet." Information is provided by the judicial branch when felons are convicted and information is removed when the governor grants a restoration of rights. The DCI investigations led us to discover that in one case, information from the judicial branch was incorrect. In the other two cases, former Governor Tom Vilsack's administration either didn't provide information regarding reinstatement of rights to then Secretary of State Chet Culver, or it was not acted upon.
Kathie Obradovich's column on Thursday did correctly note that I showed that the records provided to the Secretary of State's office were incorrect. Obradovich also noted this meeting was "as much about politics as it was voting rights." While true, it's a sad commentary because Obradovich is correct that there is an important issue to fix in that three eligible Iowans were denied having their ballots counted.
It's clear the DCI investigations are improving the administration of elections in the state of Iowa. Not only has DCI uncovered multiple cases of individuals who illegally voted, but in this instance, DCI confirmed five people voted that shouldn't have and confirmed three people were not allowed to vote because of incorrect information. DCI made it possible to correct these three voters' information.
As your Secretary of State, I've continually fought for integrity in Iowa's elections. Attorney General Tom Miller and I've worked together in a bipartisan manner to advocate for voter rights and the integrity of elections. Both are needed. I'll continue to work across the aisle in this area, and it was good to see Senate Democrats in the Senate Government Committee also supporting both the need for voter's rights and the integrity of elections. The Register's editorial unfortunately only referenced making sure everybody votes, even going so far as to advocate for ineligible voters. My job is to follow the law and I will both stand up for the integrity of Iowa's elections while protecting voter rights.
As we saw with U.S. Senator Al Franken in Minnesota and as we've seen at the state and local level in Iowa, every vote is important and elections can be decided by a few votes. County attorneys have already charged 26 individuals. More cases will be referred as the investigations come to a close this month and my office will provide a report to the legislature and all Iowans with DCI's findings once the investigations are completed.
We simply cannot allow eligible Iowan's votes to be cancelled out by ineligible voters. We also cannot allow eligible Iowans to be prevented from voting due to inaccurate information. Now that we're aware of this issue because of the DCI investigations, I've offered solutions to the legislature.
We all need to work together long term to fix this issue and that starts with using the facts.