Let’s face it, if it weren’t for gerrymandering, Russian interference and straight up lies, Republicans would never hold another majority again and they’d certainly never hold the presidency. Unfortunately, that’s not our reality and Republicans in Iowa are so desperate that they are turning to lies to keep people from voting.
Iowa’s Secretary of State, Paul Pete, wants to pass stricter voting restrictions in an effort to keep undesirables (Democrats — especially Democrats of Color) from voting and he’s lying to justify it.
To substantiate his argument, Pate’s office drafted a statement for a reporter from the local Gazette newspaper, noting that in Iowa it appeared 41 felons had cast ballots and that more than 200 election day voter registrations, or EDRs, had bounced back. The draft statement included the caveats that the irregularities “do not necessarily constitute fraud” and that the state would have a more complete picture of election data come March. Pate urged his staff to release it.
“We need to release info and these stats are public already. When an auditor turns them over to the county attorney or sheriff for action that pretty much makes it public. Am I missing something?,” he wrote in an email.
Source: Huffington Post
In a state of three million people, 41 felons voting doesn’t exactly seem like a reason to change voting laws for everyone, but even that paltry number is vastly misleading. According to Pate’s deputy, Carol Olson:
“I do not believe that we should say that 41 felons illegally cast ballots. We encouraged them to use provisional ballots, so that would feel a little like we baited them to do something illegal,” she wrote. “And it’s risky to label it ‘illegal’ because we don’t know the circumstances. It might be illegal, but [it] might not be, if someone really believed their rights were restored. We can report the number of felons voting, but let’s not call it illegal,” she wrote.
Olson noted that some of the statistics suggested something nefarious when it could simply be attributed to human error.
“I’m also really reluctant to say that 207 EDR’s (sic) from 15 counties bounced back. In the context of a discussion on election fraud, it sounds like we are suggesting that “bounce backs” are fraud or likely to be fraud,” she wrote. “First, it’s only a partial report. What about the other 84 counties? How does this fit into the overall process of EDRs? The vast majority of these ‘bounce-backs’ are sloppy addresses from voters in too much of a hurry when they register at the polls. That’s a real reason to discourage EDR and a real reason to have pollbooks, but it’s not an indicator of illegal activity.”
Regardless, it’s likely the bill, that will require voter IDs, will pass, nearly ensuring that the state, which has long been a red-leaning swing state, will become a red state.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.