Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Wednesday relaxed two administrative rules he’s seeking to enact regarding complaints about noncitizens registered to vote in the state. The changes do away with a written complaint form that had drawn criticism from civil libertarians and immigrants rights groups and extend the period in which voters whose eligibility has been challenged may contest the complaints against them. Schultz cast the changes as the results of a robust public debate over the last few months.
“The tremendous amount of public attention and input has been helpful in fine-tuning the original administrative rules filed this summer,” he said in a statement. “As Attorney General (Tom) Miller and I said earlier this year, these rules are about striking a balance between the integrity of our election process and the rights of individual voters. I believe the amendments our office has filed strengthen that balance.”
The changes are the latest turn in a months-long saga concerning noncitizens potentially registered to vote.
Schultz, a Republican who has made ballot security a top priority, initially filed emergency rules concerning voter registration complaints as part of an effort to get access to a federal immigration database he hopes to use to check voters’ citizenship status.