DES MOINES-A year and a half after his first request, the Obama administration has finally complied with the law and granted Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz access to a database that can help determine whether or not non-citizens are illegally voting in Iowa elections. Last week, Schultz announced an agreement had been reached with the federal government, granting his office access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program.
Schultz’ office identified 3,582 non-citizens in Iowa who were registered to vote in 2012. Some of those may have later become naturalized citizens. So, in order to find out who is legal and who isn’t, Secretary Schultz requested access to the SAVE database. Those efforts were repeatedly denied or ignored, although other states were allowed to view the database.
Schultz’ first contact with the Department of Homeland Security regarding the SAVE database came in March of 2012. A formal request for access was made in April. Eight months, and several more attempts later, Matt Schultz testified before the U.S. Senate regarding Voter ID and the stonewalling by the Obama administration.
“It’s frustrating because we’re trying to do the right thing,” Schultz told the senate committee in December 2012. “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.”
Finally, last week, the Obama administration complied with Schultz’ request.
“While there are still many logistics to work out in this process that may take some time, I want to thank the federal government for finally granting my office access to the federal SAVE program,” Schultz said in a statement. “Ensuring election integrity without voter suppression has been our goal throughout this process. This is a step in the right direction for all Iowans that care about integrity in the election process.
Iowa Democrats have repeatedly attacked Secretary of State Schultz over his constant push for a Voter ID requirement in Iowa and his efforts to root out voter fraud. That includes his likely 2014 general election opponent, Brad Anderson.
Anderson was the Iowa campaign director for Barack Obama in 2012. He has made his secretary of state campaign largely about criticizing Schultz’ efforts. Interestingly, since the Obama administration granted Schultz’ office access to the SAVE database, Anderson has been silent on the issue.
On Monday, Governor Branstad expressed his support for Schultz’ efforts.
“I think protecting the integrity of the ballot box in Iowa, preventing people from voting illegally, is certainly appropriate,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference. “It is a responsibility the secretary of state, who is the commissioner of elections, has, so I certainly support his efforts in doing that. I also understand that you have to be very thorough and detailed in these investigations.”
An investigation by the Department of Criminal Investigation conducted at the request of Schultz’ office has resulted in voter fraud charges against 13 people, so far. Linn County Auditor Joel Miller reportedly said his office had identified around 100 potential voter fraud cases in the past year.
That included an instance of someone impersonating a Linn County woman and casting a ballot in a recent special election. That vote was counted. The woman who was impersonated later showed up at the polls, and was given a provisional ballot. The impersonator has not been found
Thanks to the SAVE database, Iowans will be able to find out if the issue of non-citizens voting is a widespread problem or not. If the Obama administration had complied with Schultz’ request much sooner, it would have saved the DCI a lot of time and taxpayers a lot of money. It also would have insured fairer 2012 elections in Iowa.
Iowans should remember that just one illegally cast ballot is blatant voter suppression. That illicit vote cancels out a legitimate one. Matt Schultz wants to end fraudulent voting in Iowa.
Photo by Dave Davidson
blog comments powered by Disqus