Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced yesterday that nine more Iowans are being charged with “voter fraud.” As you can see from the statement I’ve posted below, eight Waterloo residents face election misconduct charges (a Class D felony) because they registered to vote and cast ballots in the 2012 general election, even though they are felons whose voting rights had not been restored. One Lee County resident who is also an ex-felon is charged with registering to vote and casting a ballot in a 2013 local election.
By my count, Schultz’s obsessive hunt for voter fraud has now yielded criminal charges in 25 cases, representing less than a thousandth of one percent of ballots cast in Iowa’s recent local, state, and federal elections. Most of the cases involve felons whose rights had not been restored, though not all of the accused cast ballots–some had merely registered to vote. No proof has emerged that any of these people knew they were committing a crime. They may have assumed that they had a right to vote, because tens of thousands of Iowa ex-felons had their voting rights restored during Governor Chet Culver’s tenure. They may have assumed they were able to vote once offered a registration form.
Most important, none of these cases could have been averted if Schultz had accomplished his goal of forcing Iowans to show a photo ID when voting on election day. It’s likely that many of these improperly registered voters filled out a form after renewing a driver’s license. Schultz’s full-time criminal investigator has not found anyone guilty of impersonating another voter on election day, which is the only kind of fraud that a photo ID law could prevent.
The new defendants will probably be effective poster children for Schultz’s Congressional campaign, though. Republicans love the fantasy that making it more difficult for thousands of people to vote will somehow protect “election integrity” in Iowa.
Iowa Secretary of State’s press release, January 22:
Charges Filed in Nine Potential Cases of Voter Fraud
Des Moines – Charges have been recently filed in nine potential cases of voter fraud. Eight of the cases were recently filed by Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson and one case was recently filed by Lee County Attorney Michael Short.
“I want to thank County Attorney Ferguson and County Attorney Short for taking election integrity seriously,” Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said. “Every vote can make a big difference and Iowans expect nothing less than fair and honest elections.”
Charges of election misconduct in the 1st degree, a Class D felony, were filed against the following:
Robert Anthony, age 56, from Waterloo
Michelle Bruno, age 39, from Waterloo
Ricco Cooper, age 39, from Waterloo
Anthony Greer, age 25, from Waterloo
Harold Redd Jr., age 48, from Waterloo
Glen Tank, age 42, from Waterloo
Philip Thomas, age 29, from Waterloo
Rosa Wilder, age 49, from Waterloo
A charge of perjury, a Class D felony, was filed against the following:
Kelli Jo Griffin, age 40, from Montrose
Anthony, Bruno, Cooper, Greer, Redd Jr., Tank, Thomas and Wilder are accused of registering to vote and voting in the 2012 general election while being felons that have not had their voting rights restored. Griffin is accused of registering to vote and voting in the 2013 city election while being a felon that has not had her voting rights restored.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office refers potential voter fraud cases to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to investigate. After the investigation, DCI then refers the potential voter fraud cases to the county attorneys for prosecution. In the case of Griffin, the Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise also referred the case to the Lee County Sheriff’s office. DCI then provided information to the Lee County Sheriff’s office which then filed the charge against Griffin.