DES MOINES - A two-year investigation of voter fraud in Iowa turned up 117 cases of illegal voting but only 27 people have been charged so far, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Thursday when releasing a final report of the probe.
Schultz began the investigation in 2012 after cross-checking Iowa voter records with driver's license records from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Schultz said it appeared more than 3,000 individuals had registered to vote between 2010 and 2012 that had identified themselves in DOT records as non-citizens.
He entered an agreement with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to pay $250,000 over two years to look into the cases.
"There are people who voted who weren't supposed to, and this is a situation where we tried to do something about it," Schultz said. "I think it was the right thing to do and I stand by that."
After the DCI compared the names Schultz provided with a federal immigration database, potential cases of non-citizen voters were narrowed to 147. In addition, the DCI agents looked into alleged cases of ineligible felons voting and began investigating 68 of those. Another 23 cases were investigated and included voters suspected of casting ballots in two states and those voting in Iowa but living elsewhere.
Out of the total 238 cases, the agents confirmed 117 illegal voting ones.
The 27 people charged so far include six who have pleaded guilty, one found not guilty by a jury, and four whose cases were dismissed. One person was given a deferred prosecution and 15 remain in the court system.
Schultz said county attorneys have the discretion to decide whether to file charges. Some decline to prosecute when it appears the voting was a mistake or a misunderstanding, or there was not clear intent to break the law.