Secretary of State gets access to federal database, to check for non-citizen voters

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa’s Republican secretary of state has been granted access to a federal database which he’ll use in his ongoing voter fraud investigation.

“This is a common sense approach,” says Secretary of State Matt Schultz. “We’re trying to balance election integrity with voters’ rights…That’s why we didn’t just do what Florida did and throw people off the rolls.”

Schultz asked for access to the federal government’s “Systematic Alien Verification” system over a year ago. He plans to use it as a cross-check with Iowa voter registration lists, to see if non-citizens have registered to vote in Iowa.

“It’s been a long road. I’m just glad that we finally have access,” Schultz says. “I wish we would have had it sooner because I think we could have resolved a lot of the problems and controversy well before now, but I’m just glad the federal government has given us access just like they have other states.”

Schultz says there are still “many logistics to work out” before he can start using the federal list, but he says it’s a “step in the right direction” to “ensuring election integrity without voter suppression.”

“We have an agreement with the federal government,” Schultz says. “Now it’s just a matter of getting our staff trained in using this program.”

The staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says the list is not a “real-time” check on citizenship status and “does not provide comprehensive information about all immigrants or all citizens.” The attorney accuses Schultz of trying to “thwart” and intimidate qualified voters from casting ballots.

The secretary of state has been using federal “Help America Vote Act” money to pay a state Division of Criminal Investigation agent to review voter registration records for nearly a year. So far, 13 people have been charged with voter fraud, but none have been convicted. Many have been felons who have not applied to have their voting rights restored.