Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Wednesday said nine additional cases of potential voter fraud have been reported in the state, the latest development in an ongoing debate over whether officials should invest resources on such cases. The charges all involve felons who did not have their voting rights restored. Eight cases were filed in Black Hawk County, and one was filed in Lee County. “Every vote can make a big difference and Iowans expect nothing less than fair and honest elections,” he said in a statement that thanked the county attorneys who filed the latest cases. Rita Bettis, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa, said Schultz was investigating a small group of people who likely were simply confused about their voting rights.
“In addition to netting confused, marginalized Iowans who are trying to rebuild their lives after a conviction and are unlikely to understand the process, the investigation deters those voters who have actually had their rights restored, but are confused and terrified of getting caught up in the mess,” Bettis said in an email.
Schultz, who has announced he will run for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham’s House seat in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, has been criticized for his decision to pay the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation up to $280,000 in federal grant money to launch a two-year investigation into voter fraud in the state.