Iowans Support Both Voter Integrity and Voters Rights
Matt Schultz
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal
Chance McElhaney, (515) 725-2942

Iowans Support Both Voter Integrity and Voters Rights

By Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz

***This column written by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz was printed in the Friday, March 21, 2014 edition of the Des Moines Register.***

As your Secretary of State, I've continually promoted voting and increasing voter turnout. I've made it easier for all Iowans serving in the military overseas to cast a ballot electronically, not just those in specific combat zones. I've created programs like Honor a Veteran to encourage Iowans to cast a ballot in honor of a friend or loved one that has served or is currently serving our county. I also created our Rock Iowa program, a first-in-the-nation partnership with Rock The Vote, that teaches high school students about the voting process and encourages them to register to vote and get involved in the political process.

I have also fought for the integrity of our elections. It's my job. If I don't do it, who will? The laws of the state are clear. The Iowa Constitution declares that non-citizens as well as felons without their rights restored by the governor are ineligible to vote.

A recent Iowa poll presented a false dilemma asking voters to choose between promoting voter turnout or protecting the integrity of Iowa's elections. The fact is we can and must do both.

Every illegal vote negatively impacts Iowa's elections by canceling out your vote. Iowa Code section 39A.1 states, "It is the intent of the general assembly that offenses with the greatest potential to affect the election process be vigorously prosecuted and strong punishment meted out through the imposition of felony sanctions." I didn't make the law, the legislature did. But it's my job to enforce it.

Despite the fact that 26 individuals have already been criminally charged and six have pled guilty so far, the Register Editorial Board wants to pretend that there is no evidence of voter fraud. That is not the case. I wonder what other felonies would the Register Editorial Board want the State of Iowa to sweep under the rug?

The real question though is why the Iowa Poll would present this as a false choice. No Iowan would want an eligible voter to be blocked from voting, but at the same time, no Iowan would raise their hand asking to have their vote cancelled out by an illegal vote. There's no reason you can't increase voter turnout while still protecting Iowan's votes, and we have. Since I've been Secretary of State, Iowa has been ranked in the top five states for voter turnout and voters turned out in record numbers in 2012. This is at the same time I have been fighting to protect the integrity of your vote.

Iowans deserve to be able to vote and they deserve to have their vote protected. I am fighting for both.