VOTES DENIED: Schultz Under Spotlight

A Senate panel met Monday to discuss recent news that three voters in Cerro Gordo County had their ballots thrown out during the 2012 election.

Secretary of State Matt Schultz met with Senators to discuss why it happened and offered his suggestions so it doesn’t happen again.

In a fact-finding hearing the Senate State Government Committee wanted answers as to why three voters had their rights denied.

“I`ve served as County Auditor for 21 years, and I consider this a serious issue, disenfranchise of voters from a procedural issue,” says Cerro Gordo County Auditor Ken Kline.

On Election Day 2012, three voters in Cerro Gordo County had their ballots thrown out because their names appeared on a database of convicted felons.

However, all three had their voting rights restored.

“I found out about the inaccurate information regarding these three voters because of the DCI investigations, without these investigations these three voters would still be listed as felons and kept from voting today,” says Schultz.

But Schultz says his DCI investigations aren’t to blame.

He says an out of date system allows some felons who’ve had their voting rights restored to slip through the cracks.

Schultz says local officials should determine felon voter status.

“Local law enforcement would have the access to the information necessary whether someone was properly listed on the felon list, that`s not something that the Secretary of State`s staff has access too,” says Secretary of State’s Office Director of Elections Sarah Reisetter.

Schultz said he’s wants to find a solution and suggested forming a task force.

“We need to come together as a Legislature, the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Judicial Branch to make sure we`re not keeping people from voting who are able to but we`re also protecting ourselves from people who are voting who aren`t supposed to,” says Schultz.

The meeting ended without a solution, but the committee agreed to hold further hearings on the matter.

Secretary of State Schultz also said his investigation into voter fraud will end this month and a report will be issued with the results shortly after.

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