Kibbie: Secretary of State undermining Iowans’ voting rights

Senate President Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg

Prepared remarks by Senate President Jack Kibbie during the Tuesday, August 14, meeting of the Administrative Rules Review Committee

As a longtime member of the Administrative Rules Review Committee, I am very disappointed with Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s handling of the most important duty of his office: ensuring the right of Iowans to vote.

The Secretary recently took the unusual step of promulgating new emergency rules affecting elections. We asked him to attend the Rules Committee meeting today to discuss those rules and to explain why his office failed to follow the normal procedures which would have allowed public review before those rules were adopted.

He declined to publicly defend his actions.

Protecting the right of Iowans to participate in the November 6th General Election is the greatest responsibility Secretary Schultz will face since his own election in 2010. If he has evidence that someone has broken Iowa’s election laws, the law requires him to immediately turn over that evidence to the appropriate County Attorney for investigation and prosecution. If not, he should immediately withdraw his emergency rules and abandon this half-baked scheme.

A lawsuit filed against the Secretary of State raises serious questions about the legality of his efforts, whether he is threatening the due process of legal voters, and whether it could disenfranchise Iowans who are legally registered to vote. Questions have also been raised about whether his efforts violate federal election laws.1

In the future, Secretary of State Schultz should work more closely with the people who actually have the knowledge and experience to administer free and fair elections: Iowa’s 99 County Auditors. I am thankful that County Auditors put the right to vote above partisan politics.

Secretary of State Matt Schultz would save himself and the state of Iowa additional embarrassment if he did the same.

1) Relevant portion of the US Justice Department FAQ on the National Voter Registration Act of 1993

37. Does Section 8 impose any time restrictions on States as to when a general list maintenance program can be conducted?
Yes. Section 8 requires States to complete any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official list of eligible voters not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary election or general election for federal office. This 90 day deadline applies to state list maintenance verification activities such as general mailings and door to door canvasses. This 90 day deadline does not, however, preclude removal of names at the request of the registrant, removal due to death of the registrant, removal due to criminal conviction or mental incapacity of the registrant as provided by State law, nor does the deadline preclude correction of a registrant’s information.

Posted Aug. 14th, 2012 at 11:21 am by
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