Democrats Taking Legal Action to Prevent Iowa GOP From Purging Hispanics from Voter Rolls

UPDATE: An Iowa judge has upheld the right of Democrats to challenge Schultz

As Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz prepares to go forward with his controversial voter purge just months before the November election, the state’s Democrats are outraged at a blatant misuse of federal funds to pay for it.

While he was questioned by the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee, Senator Tom Courtney noted that Schultz was using funding from the Help America Vote Act, a ten-year old law that helps states improve access to polls.

The funding, which is supposed to go toward new voting machines and poll worker training is instead being diverted to the suppression of the Hispanic vote. Senator Tom Courtney spoke out via the party’s web pagE:

“The Help America Vote Act was passed 10 years ago to provide funding to all states to make voting easier and to increase access to polls. It is stunning that Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is instead using Iowa’s funds for an 11th hour attempt to purge Iowa’s voter rolls.

Secretary of State Schultz should immediately stop using Help America Vote Act funding for this misguided campaign that is only serving to scare qualified voters away from the polls.”

Schultz deems his campaign necessary to combat the GOP’s newest boogeyman: non-existent voter fraud. By classifying the situation as an emergency, Schultz went forward with his suppression initiative without allowing public input. The state’s Democrats are frustrated by the lack of transparency from Schultz and say any voter purge “demands careful adherence to law and to transparency.” Speaking to The Hawkeye, attorney Steven Wandro, who is representing the Democrats, said:

The threatening nature of the proposed notices, and the vast discretion given to a single person elected to a partisan office, creates a grave risk that significant numbers of properly registered voters could be disenfranchised,”

The two new controversial rules would allow Schultz to purge the state’s voter database by cross referencing it with a federal immigration database to ensure non-citizens could not vote, while the other would make it easier to report fraud. The first rule is what makes many observers worry as it seems to be a possibly legal way to intimidate the state’s Hispanics who traditionally vote Democrat.

Polk County Judge Mary Pat Gunderson must decide if Schultz has the legal authority to make such changes in the manner he did.

Go to IA State Page
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