Friday, December 20, 2013

Sharp Contrast in Sec of State Race

It's been buried in an avalanche of debris from the Olson and Latham dropouts, but two stories this week perfectly illustrate the stark contrast in the Secretary of State race.

Democratic challenger Brad Anderson set a goal of getting Iowa's vote turnout to top that of Minnesota, which has long been number one in the nation.

“Good isn’t good enough,” Anderson says of this electoral challenge. “We’re Iowa. We should be number one. That should be our goal.”

By coincidence, next year's Iowa-Minnesota game is the Saturday after the general election, so we should be able to keep Floyd of Rosedale and celebrate beating Minnesota twice in the same week.

Not so fast, says Mark Jenkins, chair of Minnesota's Independence Party. "JD, don't worry, coming in second in voter turnout will be a very admirable accomplishment." So the smack talk begins already. 

Anderson also hopes to set up permanent absentee ballot status, rather than the present practice of requiring a new request each election. It's common in other states and as a front line election office worker I can tell you it's a very common question. It's how some of the western states like California get to 50 and 60 percent absentee rates. He's also like to consolidate some elections, which would have helped us out here in Johnson County where we had three special elections in four months early this year.

GOP incumbent Matt Schultz has a different set of goals. Schultz is a hero to the GOP base for pushing ID, one of their pet issues. But I think he's a hero to the base in his current job which won't translate to the 3rd CD race he's now flirting with. So I expect him to stay in his re-election race. (Though Bleeding Heartland offers a counter-argument.)

This week the Des Moines Register editorialized:
After 18 months of scouring the state for voting scofflaws and spending $150,000 in tax money on the effort, what serious problems have been uncovered? None — other than we now know that there isn’t a problem with voter fraud in Iowa and that some Iowans are confused about voting laws.

Schultz’s efforts have yielded criminal charges in a total of 16 cases, according to an investigation by Des Moines Register reporter Jason Noble. Five have been dismissed. Five other cases have resulted in guilty pleas. There is no “voter fraud ring” or significant number of people wrongly registering to participate in our democracy.
And, significantly, none of the cases would have been prevented by Schultz's cure-all, photo ID.

Even the office of state auditor Mary Mosiman (not just a fellow Republican but a former auditor and former Schultz employee!) recommends that Schultz develop a plan for repaying the $150,000 provided under the - this is ironic - "Help America Vote Act."

Help America Vote. See, that's what this race is really about. Brad Anderson wants to help people vote. Matt Schultz wants to stop people from voting. That's the whole story of the race.

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