Voting is one of the cornerstone’s of our country’s government. Over the last several months, it has also become a very hot topic of discussion in Iowa. Not only have there been developments in terms of restoring voting rights to individuals who are convicted of felonies, but state officials have also dedicated significant attention to the issue of voter fraud.
Beginning in 2012, the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office has undertaken a major effort to compare voter logs with public records to determine if anyone voted illegally. This was conducted under the premise that there was massive voter fraud going on throughout the state and election results were being compromised as a result. Ultimately, officials have charged only 27 people for illegal voting between 2010 and 2012.
Of the 27 cases with voter fraud charges filed, only 12 have gone to trial at this time. Out of those cases that have gone to trial, four have been dismissed and another person was found not guilty.
An observer notes that most people who are suspected of illegal voting don’t intentionally commit that act. For example, one Iowa woman thought that her voting rights had been restored after she completed probation. That was not the case. Still, a jury found her not guilty, because there was no intent to commit a crime.
Above all, voter fraud isn’t something to be taken lightly, even if the prosecution’s case is flimsy. The offense is considered a felony and could result in up to five years behind bars. With all of this in mind, taking steps to carefully look at the circumstances behind the accusations can prove to be crucial when establishing a criminal defense.
Source: Associated Press, “Report on Iowa voter fraud investigation released,” May 8, 2014