Iowa Democrats are critical of Secretary of State Matt Schultz and the decision by his office to have a DCI investigator look into voter fraud in the state. However, their ire is misdirected. If the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was following the law, Schultz would not need a DCI investigator.
The secretary of state’s office identified 3,582 non-citizens in Iowa who were registered to vote. Some of those may have later become naturalized citizens. So, in order to find out who is legal and who isn’t, Secretary Schultz attempted to gain access to the Systematic Alien Verification and Entitlements (SAVE) database. Those efforts have been denied, apparently in violation of federal law.
“Although federal law explicitly grants states the right to access the citizenship information contained in the SAVE database, Iowa has yet to gain this access despite the fact that other states have successfully done so,” Schultz said last week while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “There have been multiple delays in communications attributable to that agency.”
Schultz then outlined the numerous attempts to get DHS to comply with his requests. His first contact with DHS was in March and a formal request for access to the SAVE database was made in April. Eight months later, there is still no agreement.
“Throughout this process, I have worked with our Democratic Attorney General, Tom Miller, in a bipartisan manner to ensure that Iowa maintains the delicate balance between voters’ rights and election integrity,” Schultz said during the senate hearing. “While some states have found this balance difficult to navigate, in Iowa we have worked hard to achieve this result. Attorney General Miller has supported my efforts and recently said that, ‘His goal, my goal, is zero voter fraud, zero voter intimidation.”
Matt Schultz was invited to Capitol Hill last week at the request of Senator Chuck Grassley. He was one of five officials called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Dick Durbin of Illinois, where voter fraud is longstanding tradition, tried to belittle the efforts made by Schultz to stamp out voter fraud.
Durbin asked if there was evidence of non-citizens voting in Iowa. Schultz responded that six non-citizens had been arrested since August and he expects more to come. The liberal senator then tried to downplay those numbers, using a mocking tone. A similar tack used by Iowa Democrats during voter forums across the state leading up to the 2012 elections.
That stance is a very interesting. There have been several close legislative elections in Iowa during the past two cycles. What if six non-citizens voted Republican and that cost the Democrats their majority in the Iowa Senate? Then would voter fraud become an important issue to them?
Here’s a better question: Why aren’t Iowa Democrats demanding that the Department of Homeland Security comply with the law? Instead, they attack Matt Schultz and complain about the taxpayer dollars used to pay for the DCI investigation. That wouldn’t be necessary if DHS was doing its job and following the law. Matt Schultz is Iowa’s chief election official. He is trying to do his job. It is time for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to do theirs.
“It’s frustrating because, we’re trying to do the right thing,” Schultz told the senate committee. “We don’t want to accuse somebody who is a citizen of the United States, that they’re not able to vote and they’re not a citizen. That same database gives us real time information on an individual’s citizenship and would allow us to make sure, of those 3,582, that we’d be able to find out who is a citizen and who isn’t.”
“We do know at least six of those individuals were not citizens because our Department of Criminal Investigation did find that out through investigative work, but that takes a lot of time,” Schultz added. “Had we been able to get access to this information, we would have been able to do this differently.”
The full text of Matt Schultz’ testimony can be found by clicking here.
Video of the hearing if available here.
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