Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz wants to check the state’s voter registration rolls against a federal database to make sure non-citizens aren’t casting votes in Iowa elections. Schultz has already checked the lists of registered Iowa voters against lists of people who are here legally on visas or green cards, but who aren’t U.S. citizens.
“I don’t have the exact number off the top of my head, but I can tell you there were more than a thousand hits,” he says. The “hits” came when Schultz compared voter registration rolls with Iowa Department of Transportation records, because legal non-citizens — who have a visa or a green card — can get a drivers license.
“We vetted that and it’s shown that several of them have voted as well,” Schultz says. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has agreed to let the states submit an application to check the immigration status of voters before purging them from the rolls.
Randall Wilson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says Schultz and other Republican secretaries of state are casting too wide a net. “I still haven’t seen evidence that this is not just a wild goose chase,” Wilson says. Wilson argues some legitimate voters could be removed from the rolls with not enough time to mount a challenge before November. Schultz says the integrity of Iowa’s elections is at stake.
Schultz was elected Iowa secretary of state in 2010 and the cornerstone of his campaign was a call to have voters show a photo I.D., like a driver’s license, in order to vote. His fellow Republican legislators embraced the idea, but Democrats have blocked it from becoming law.