Mauro Attacked By Republicans (Yawn!)

A Republican partisan is trying to make Iowa look bad. He is threatening to sue us over our voter registration rolls.

It's not news when a blogger threatens to sue a state official, so he calls his blog "Election Law Center." This isn't your average blogger, since he is a lawyer, but he's still just a partisan hack trying to gin up fears of dead people voting or of aliens behind the curtain canceling out your vote.

Naturally this attack is featured on the website of the Republican candidate for Secretary of State Matt Schultz. What else has he got to offer us? Probably nothing. Last spring he was the only one of the several Republicans running for this nomination who did not answer questions I sent about the auditing of voting machine results.

Now he aligns with that blogger who says several Iowa counties have listed more voters than there are adults in the county. He can't know how many people live there since census figures are nearly ten years old. Other figures on population do exist, but Republicans always say they are not reliable. They oppose using those figures in lieu of the census when drawing up legislative districts. Since those figures can make it look like there are phantom voters, then it's OK to use the data.

How could there possibly be more voters than citizens? For one thing, . . .

. . .there are always people like the 2006 Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Mary Ann Hanusa. She lived in the Washington, D.C. area for years while voting in Iowa elections. I scolded her at the time. I wonder if she has an opinion on this lawsuit threat. She is running for the Iowa House this year.

Iowa counties send their voting lists to a private vendor who checks with the post office for address changes. If a voter has moved, she may wind up on the list of inactive voters. Inactive voters must prove their residence if they actually show up to vote.

In the letter threatening a lawsuit no distinction is made between active voters and inactive voters. The blogger, J. Christian Adams, merely says seven counties "have more registered voters than citizens of voting age."

Let's look at one of them: Adams County, the state's smallest county and not named after the blogger. It's 2000 census showed 4482 residents with 76.1% of them old enough to vote. That's 3410 citizens old enough to vote. Last month the voting rolls showed 3260 voters of which 106 were inactive and probably living in Omaha or Kansas City. So far the county looks clean.

But this Census Bureau site says the county had a 2009 population of only 3930 with 78.1% of them old enough to vote. That means 3069 potential voters. Bingo! Adams claims 3260 (3154 active) voters! Obviously some of them are getting set to vote from the grave!

Perhaps the partisan doesn't know that in Iowa it's not so much that voters die off. It's that children move away. The population shrinks faster than the voting rolls.

Since the blogger didn't use any actual numbers in his certified letter threatening Mauro, we may never know the basis for his claim. Mauro has already denied Adams County has the alleged problem. I left a comment at the blogger's website and have written the Republican candidate for Secretary of State who has featured this story on his website. I also wrote to all seven counties (Adams, Audubon, Chickasaw, Fremont, Jefferson, Kossuth, and Lyon) to get their side of the story. I'll let you know what they say.

cross posted at 

  • it's disturbing

    how casually Matt Schultz throws around ill-informed allegations about voter fraud in Iowa. A few too many people on the voter rolls isn't fraud unless other people show up to vote on behalf of the non-existent residents.

    Furthermore, Iowa Independent's story on this nontroversy quotes the Secretary of State's Office as saying:

    "The author of this letter is comparing Iowa's voter registration numbers to estimates compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. Comparing actual numbers to estimates is a distortion."

    The author of the ELC letter used Census data to compare active and inactive voters. The Secretary of State's office further explained that, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, all states are required to keep inactive voters on registration lists for four years. An inactive voter is one that has no voter activity in the last four years.

    "According to the U.S. Census, five of the seven counties cited lost population between 2007 and 2010," the office stated. "Not surprisingly, that produces inactive voters in those counties, and again we are required by federal law to keep those names on the voter rolls."

    According to the Secretary of State's office, the author of the letter failed to release the method used to make these conclusions. Moreover, they said their office and all 99 county auditors "conduct a rigorous and ongoing process to update voter registration lists."

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