Government

Linn County Auditor suspects five residents of double voting fraud

First time for double voting, Joel Miller says

Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor, speaks to county employees and members of the public at the State of Linn County address at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The event is put on annually by the League of Women Voters. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor, speaks to county employees and members of the public at the State of Linn County address at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The event is put on annually by the League of Women Voters. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Auditor Joel Miller has identified five instances of suspected double voting in the November 2016 presidential election.

Miller on Tuesday said his office became aware of the suspected double voting — when a voter casts two ballots in two separate voting jurisdictions in the same election — while cross-checking annual voting records from Linn County with other states.

Those cases have been handed over to the Linn County Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation for further investigation, Miller said.

“I know this is the first time we’ve had matches of people actually voting on the same Election Day. It’s the first time that we’ve had any double voters that voted in Iowa and another state,” Miller said.

Linn County voting records were checked against records from about 30 other states participating in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program, which checks whether voters had registered in multiple states, Miller explained.

Kevin Hall, spokesman for the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, said his office received voter information from 27 other states and found 124 cases of a “solid match, individuals suspected of voting in Iowa and another state. In those cases, the name, date of birth and last four numbers of an individual’s Social Security number all matched up, indicating it was possible they voted in two different states, Hall said.

That data is provided by the Iowa Secretary of State Office to county auditors for further investigation.

Hall noted this is the first cross-check for Secretary Paul Pate’s administration, but said that many possible cases of double voting was surprising.

“That does seem like quite a bit,” he said.

While individuals with multiple residences or those who have moved sometimes can end up registered to vote in multiple jurisdictions, Miller said actively casting ballots twice in the same election takes conscious effort.

“That’s an overt action,” he said.

In addition to voting in Iowa, Miller said three of the suspects appeared also to have cast ballots in Arkansas, another in Nebraska and the fifth in South Carolina.

Four of the voters were registered no-party in Iowa, while the fifth was a registered Democrat, he added.

As the investigation is ongoing, further information on the five individuals was unavailable Tuesday.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said in a Tuesday email he wasn’t at liberty to confirm or deny any response by the county attorney’s office to Miller’s list of alleged double voters.

He did say any person who votes or attempts to vote more than once in the same election is guilty of first-degree election misconduct, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $750-$7,500 fine.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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