Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred on Wednesday over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restrictions on early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or were Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and former Gov. Charlie Crist — a onetime Republican who recently turned Democrat — said Florida Republicans aimed their efforts at Hispanics and blacks. They cited as one example the elimination of early voting on the Sunday before the Nov. 6 election. He said members of those groups historically vote after church services.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the panel, defended efforts aimed at voter fraud. He was backed by two Republican secretaries of State, Matt Schultz of Iowa and Ken Bennett of Arizona.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said minuscule percentages of voters were found guilty of fraud.
Bennett said there were 15 cases of ineligible voters in Arizona in which people cast ballots in other states. He said that before the Nov. 6 election, counties removed hundreds from voting rolls every month when jury forms showed they were ineligible for juries and voting.
Schultz said he found only six voters who were not Iowa citizens. He said he had been trying unsuccessfully for months to get the Department of Homeland Security to give him access to a citizenship database.