A primary skirmish between two Des Moines politicians running for a state Senate seat could have a sweeping impact on voter eligibility in Iowa. In a Capitol meeting room Friday, the battle lines were drawn between Democrats Tony Bisignano and Ned Chiodo, both vying for the seat that Jack Hatch is vacating to run for governor. Chiodo says that Bisignano should be disqualified from the race because of a drunken driving conviction in January.
In challenging that, Chiodo also throws into question the voting rights of thousands of Iowa residents who’ve been charged with aggravated misdemeanors. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller estimates as many as 50,000 people could be affected, though Chiodo’s attorney, Gary Dickey, believes it’s more likely around 5,000.
At issue is whether an aggravated misdemeanor falls under the Iowa Constitution’s definition of an infamous crime, which would mean Bisignano cannot vote or hold public office. Dickey bases his argument on a constitutional article that says a person convicted of an infamous crime shall not be entitled to the privilege of an elector.
Full Article: Iowa primary dispute risks voting rights for thousands.