A state elections official says he disagrees with the Democratic secretary of state candidate’s call for government staff to help with technology for the Iowa caucuses. “It’s not appropriate for the secretary of state’s office to play a role in the Iowa caucuses,” Charlie Smithson, the office’s legal counsel and an adjunct professor of election law at Drake University School of Law, said in a statement Wednesday. The Iowa caucuses are one of the most important events in the nation’s presidential election process. By rules set by both national parties, Iowa holds the first caucuses (voting is independently handled by the two parties), then New Hampshire holds the first primary (voting is regulated by the state).
“If government becomes involved with the caucus process,” Smithson said, “other states will argue that the caucuses have become the functional equivalent of a primary. That would create serious problems in Iowa maintaining its first-in- the-nation status.”
Democrat Brad Anderson, who is running for secretary of state in this fall’s elections, has said that while the state government shouldn’t play any formal role in the Iowa caucuses, the secretary of state should provide technical support and quality data.
Anderson suggested that state elections officials work with both parties to develop electronic lists of eligible caucusgoers so that caucus participants could easily check in, and volunteers could immediately confirm eligibility.