Linn County auditor finds three apparent fraudulent absentee ballot requests

Election fraud can be a felony, Miller warns

The traffic in absentee ballots is sufficiently heavy for the coming March 5 special election on gaming in Linn County that Linn County Auditor Joel Miller on Thursday alerted workers on get-out-the-vote campaigns to make sure they follow the law.

Miller reported that his office’s procedure for checking absentee requests has identified three such requests that appear to be fraudulent. The three have been referred to the Linn County Sheriff for investigation at the Linn County Attorney’s recommendation, Miller said.

In each of the three instances, there was an error in basic information on the request form — either a wrong date of birth or wrong address — which prompted a comparison of signatures on the request form with signatures previously provided to the Auditor’s Office by the voter. The signatures clearly were different, Miller said. His office then contacted the three voters, each of whom said they did not fill out a request for absentee ballot, Miller said.

Election misconduct, the auditor said, can be a felony.

As of late Thursday, 2,870 people had requested absentee ballots for the March 5 election through the auditor’s office or through either the Vote Yes Linn County or Just Say No Casino campaigns. A total of 844 people have cast ballots in person at the Auditor’s Office in the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW, and another 768 had mailed in their absentee ballots, Miller said.

Miller has established in-person satellite voting stations at these times and places:

This Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, 2999 First Ave. SW (at the center’s request via petition).

Feb. 12 through Feb. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Westdale Mall.

Feb. 19 through Feb. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Collins Road Theater, 1462 Twixt Town Rd., Marion.

The Auditor’s Office can be reached at 892-5300.

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