Iowa has joined the controversial debate over voter suppression by putting new rules in place to purge ineligible names from the voter rolls and change the way fraud investigations are carried out.
According to the Des Moines Register
, Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz has initiated new rules that require elections officials to compare the 2.1 million names on the voter rolls to state and federal records in an attempt to separate legitimate registered voters from those who may be ineligible.
Schultz, critics complain, has also added a new wrinkle to procedures for filing voter fraud allegations that kills a requirement that a sworn statement must accompany any complaint.
Schultz maintains that the new rules will “strengthen ballot integrity in Iowa and improve due process for voters suspected of being ineligible,” the Register reported.
But Democrats, backed by some nonpartisan voting rights groups, say Schultz’s actions are just another example of politicians trying to manipulate the system before an election.
“What’s happening is you are throwing off eligible citizens from the rolls because of these efforts to do this at the last minute in ways that are not necessarily reliable,” Diana Kasdan, counsel at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice in New York, told the Register.
“These programs are not about ballot security,” she added. “These are politicians manipulating the rolls on the eve of an election.”
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