July 28, 2014

Move to entirely “vote-by-mail” elections in Iowa?

Secretary of State Matt Schultz, the state official who oversees elections in Iowa, has suggested it’s time to consider a “signature verification” system for the absentee ballots that are used by Iowans who vote early, before Election Day. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says he’d consider supporting that, as part of a larger election reform package.

“And really consider voting for mail, not in the voting place,” Miller says. “That 100 percent of the vote would be by the mail, as they do in Oregon and Washington.”

Schultz is consulting with a bipartisan group of county auditors to come up with a signature verification proposal for absentee ballots, but he isn’t ready to switch the state to a totally vote-by-mail system.

“I mean, I like going to the polls and I know a lot of people who like to go to the polls,” Schultz says. “…We have a good election system, but it’s not perfect, but we just want to make sure that people aren’t cheating.”

Schultz, a Republican, launched a voter fraud probe this summer and Miller, a Democrat, is defending Schultz against a lawsuit seeking to derail that investigation. The two men made their comments this afternoon during taping of the “Iowa Press” program that will air Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Iowa Public Television.