At least 12 Iowa residents wrongly had their ballots rejected in the 2012 presidential election because of inaccuracies in the state’s list of ineligible felons, a review found Friday. Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced that nine additional cases of improper disenfranchisement were found during a review launched after it was reported in January that three voters were disenfranchised because of bureaucratic mistakes. The new cases include people who weren’t felons but were wrongly included on the list and former offenders who had their voting rights restored and should have been removed.
The announcement is a potential embarrassment for Schultz, a Republican who is running for Congress and has made fighting voter fraud the focus of his tenure. His office funded a controversial $280,000 investigation that has led to felony charges against several people who are accused of illegally voting as felons.
Many of them say they were confused by policy changes on how and when former offenders have their voting rights restored, and believed they could vote. Last month, a jury took less than 40 minutes to acquit the first person to contest such a charge after concluding she had no criminal intent.