At least 12 Iowans disenfranchised in 2012 presidential election

Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s crusade to stop voter fraud in Iowa has uncovered a couple dozen allegedly ineligible voters who registered (not all of whom voted). The only person prosecuted for fraud was acquitted in less than an hour. I would bet that several people who pleaded guilty to lesser charges to avoid the risk of a trial would have been acquitted as well, since no evidence suggests they knew they weren’t entitled to vote.

Meanwhile, via John Deeth I see that Schultz has now admitted that twelve Iowans had their ballots improperly thrown out during the 2012 presidential election, because their names wrongly appeared on lists of ineligible felons. I’m surprised the number isn’t substantially higher than twelve, since we already knew that three voters in Cerro Gordo County alone were deprived of their constitutional rights. UPDATE: No one will ever know how many more Iowans did not attempt to register or cast a ballot because of confusion over their eligibility.

Schultz is creating a task force to resolve inaccuracies in the I-Voters felons file and has ordered county auditors “to work with local law enforcement, county attorneys and county clerks of court to make sure the felon status information is accurate” before special precinct boards decide whether to count provisional ballots cast by voters who appeared on the felon’s list. I’m so naive that I assumed local officials were already conducting those checks before throwing out people’s votes.

Schultz was not ashamed by a jury’s rapid-fire acquittal of a southeast Iowa woman, saying she won’t be able to “cancel out the vote of anyone in the future.” At the very least, he owes a public and abject apology to the Iowans whose votes were tossed because of a flawed procedure for screening out felons. He may also end up having to return federal funds used for his criminal investigations–or maybe his successor will be left to clean up that mess. Schultz opted to run for Congress in Iowa’s third district rather than seek a second term as secretary of state.

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  • Just anecdotal

    But I was at a satellite voting site in the 2012 election and a man wanted to vote. He said he had a past felony and he thought his rights were restored, but he wasn’t sure.

    We looked him up and saw he’d been cancelled years before. We had to tell him that he could try to register but that if he was wrong and his rights hadn’t been restored, we couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t be prosecuted for the mistake.

    By sheer coincidence he happened to be African American. Just saying.

    He walked away.

    No statistical records on stuff like that.

    • exactly

      There’s a lot of confusion in this area, and I’m sure it must put quite a few people off even trying to vote. When Culver was governor, I remember encouraging a woman to register. She was convinced she couldn’t vote because of a past felony conviction. Had no idea about Vilsack’s directive.