The incoming president of the Iowa Senate suggests Iowa’s top election official does not have the authority to implement rules that set up a system for removing non-citizens from voter registration rolls. Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, questions the effort from Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz. “Regardless of our opinion on the proposed rules, whether we’re for it or against it…I believe that this rule has exceeded the authority of the secretary of state’s office,” Jochum says. “I believe these are issues that are for the legislative branch of government.”
According to Jochum, the legislature already has outlined the process for removing dead people from the voter rolls as well as removing people who’re registered to vote in another state. She says that means it’s up to the legislature to pass a plan for removing non-citizens, too. “I would encourage the secretary of state to withdraw his rule and submit to the legislature a law that we can vett, in full committee hearings, in how to deal with the concerns the secretary of state is having,” Jochum says.
Secretary of State Schultz says under the current timeline, his proposed rules go into effect March 13. “If Senator Jochum wants to sponsor a bill doing the same thing, I’m supportive of it, but we need to have something in place in the meantime,” Schultz says.
Schultz, who is an attorney, says the two Democrats who were secretary of state before him who implemented voter registration rules, so there’s “plenty of precedent” for his effort.