The Iowa Secretary of State’s office has released a statement about a case of election fraud involving a felon from Bosnia who voted in Dallas County in 2010.
Charges were filed against Tehvedin Murgic last November. He’s a citizen of Bosnia who has been living in the Des Moines suburb of Clive. Murgic pled guilty to “election misconduct” in August and late last month a judge ordered him to pay a fine of $1325. Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz says it’s the largest fine levied among the 13 election fraud cases his office has pursued in the past year.
“I talk to Rotary groups, I talk to chambers (of commerce), I talk to veterans groups, I’m in schools and people overwhelmingly come up and put their arm around me and say: ‘Keep it up. You’re doing the right thing,'” Schultz says. “‘We need to make sure that we have an honest vote.'”
Schultz says voter fraud is a “serious issue” and his crack down will help ensure the integrity of the election process in Iowa.
“We see our elections getting closer and closer in the state of Iowa and, for me personally, we can’t tolerate people cheating,” Schultz says.
Schultz is the state’s top election official. In August Schultz was granted access to a federal database to check the names of up to 3500 people who’ve voted in Iowa who may not be U.S. citizens. A hearing is scheduled for later this month on the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit trying to prevent those cross-checks and Schultz’s office is waiting to hear from the court before doing any.
Democrats in the legislature have questioned whether Schultz should be using federal Help America Vote Act grants to pay the Division of Criminal Investigation agent who’s searching for cases of voter fraud. Brad Anderson, the Democrat who plans to run against Schultz in 2014, also charges the effort is meant to discourage minorities from voting in Iowa. Schultz says it’s important that every vote is legally cast.
“We have a whole program called Rock Iowa dedicated to teaching young people about how their vote counts,” Schultz says. “Well, it’s that’s true, if every vote counts, it’s also important to protect that vote, that people don’t cheat.”
Schultz, a lawyer and former Council Bluffs City Councilman, was first elected Secretary of State in 2010.