The voter fraud that wasn’t. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) has little if nothing to show for a voter fraud investigation that has gone on for nearly 18 months and cost the state almost $150,000. Schultz previously claimed there was a ‘mountain’ of evidence. He said, “There’re certainly a lot of potential cases.” Let’s look at this ‘mountain’.
fSchultz made ‘ballot security’ his signature issue since taking office in 2011, struck a two-year deal with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in July 2012 to assign an agent full time to investigating voter fraud cases, according to the DesMoinesRegister.
After all of the grandstanding, figures provided by the secretary’s office, yielded criminal charges in 16 cases, of which five have resulted in guilty pleas and five have been dismissed. None of the cases has as of yet gone to trial.
The DCI was paid $149,200 for its efforts so far and could receive up to $280,000 out of the secretary of state’s budget.
The Register reports:
Three of the guilty pleas involved registration by felons whose voting rights had not been restored, including one who also was not a U.S. citizen.
A fourth case concerned a woman who obtained and cast an absentee ballot on behalf of her daughter, while a fifth was an identity theft case in which a man registered to vote while applying for a driver’s license in the name of his dead brother.
In all three cases involving felons, the accused and their lawyers said they believed their rights had been restored. They pleaded guilty, lawyers said, because the deals offered by prosecutors were safer bets than going to trial and risking prison time.
Nickie Dean Perkins, for example, registered and voted in Marshall County in 2012 under the mistaken belief that his voting rights had been reinstated at the end of his probation.
But Perkins decided to plead guilty rather than face a potential 10 years prison sentence even though the case, according to his attorney, had a good chance. Others in the investigation had similar stories.
Still yet, even with a huge loss monetarily for the state, Schultz sees this as a win against voter fraud. Somehow.
Image: The Iowa Republican.