A report from the Brennan Institute this week proclaimed Iowa one of half-a-dozen states likely to refuse legitimate voters their right to cast a ballot because of errors in registration rolls.
John Hedgecoth, a spokesman in the Secretary of State’s office, says that’s “just wrong.” “We have a model approach in Iowa,” Hedgecoth says, “that protects voters against fraud while keeping eligible voters enfranchised.” He says since 2004 a state law has Iowa working hand-in-glove with the federal “Help America Vote Act.”
Out of about 2-point-one-Million registered voters in the state of Iowa, Hedgecoth says only about 115 would be affected by the decision to remove voters from the rolls if their ID doesn’t match the driver’s-license or state ID card database or the social-security database. The report, by the Breenan Institute of the NYU School of Law, claimed that 20-percent of eligible voters could incorrectly be left off the rolls.
The report issued by the Brennan Center didn’t use any Iowa data, Hedgecoth says. It came from New York City, and he says “the populations of Iowa and New York City couldn’t be any more different,” in terms of the number of people who have valid driver’s licenses but also in the way local officials administer state elections law.
He points out Iowa does not let people register on voting day, so the use of motor-vehicle or social-security rosters called for by the federal voting act can’t result in a last-minute refusal of their right to vote.
If you’ve registered to vote in Iowa and you don’t show up on any of the three lists they cross-check, you’ll get a call or letter from the auditor’s office inviting you to reapply. He says auditors and their staffs have had extensive training in the voter-registration process, which is also required by HAVA, the Help America Vote Act.