By Sheena Dooley | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – An investigator with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation is looking into possible voter misconduct in Floyd County after questions were raised regarding at least 10 requests for absentee ballots.
Normand Klemesrud, Floyd county attorney, said Friday he forwarded the matter to DCI to investigate after the county auditor brought the suspicious ballot requests to his attention. Voters requesting an absentee ballot must sign the request themselves. It appeared that might not have been the case with the forms in question, Klemesrud said.
This is the first time Klemesrud has seen voter misconduct cases, he said. He has held the office for the past four years, in addition to a stint in the 1990s.
“It’s new to me,” Klemesrud said. “The Division of Criminal Investigation is trying to investigate it as quickly as they can, but they also have to be thorough.”
Early voting began Thursday in Iowa.
DCI has spent much of this week conducting its investigation, and officials will turn their findings over to Klemesrud, who will then determine whether to charge the individuals involved.
Floyd County Auditor Gloria Carr did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The questionable ballot requests come after another DCI investigation in Council Bluffs, which led to charges against three immigrants who weren’t citizens. It’s alleged the three – a husband and wife from Canada and a woman from Mexico who spent much of her life in America – illegally registered to vote and cast election ballots.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican, recently hired a DCI investigator to look into potential cases of fraud among non-citizens. Schultz gave the investigator a list of more than 1,300 names, despite a court-ordered injunction to halt his investigation. His office contracted with the department for two years at a rate of up to $140,000 a year.
Polk County Judge Mary Pat Gunderson earlier this month stopped Schultz from implementing emergency rules he adopted in July without public input until a lawsuit against him is settled. The rules allow him to compare a list of potential non-citizens with an up-to-date federal immigration database.
His office has yet to receive the database. If any action is taken, it won’t probably won’t happen until after the November election. DCI, however, is continuing the work they were hired to do for Schultz.
Chad Olsen, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed the investigation in Floyd County, but referred specifics to Klemesrud and DCI.
Contact Sheena Dooley at email@example.com.
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