For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2013
Iowa Secretary of State in Switzerland While Municipal Elections Continue Across Iowa
Des Moines – While 99 county auditors gather in Des Moines to discuss election laws and innovations, municipal run-off elections continue throughout the state, and a Polk County judge ruled against on Schultz’s voter purge activities, Iowa’s chief elections officer Secretary of State Matt Schultz is enjoying a youth leader’s junket in Zurich and is enjoying Switzerland’s finest mineral baths and spas according to today’s Des Moines Register.
On Wednesday, a Polk County judge issued a temporary ruling against the implementation of Schultz’s moves of voter purges. The judge found that Schultz has exceeded his authority in issuing the rules, and will violate an eligible voter’s right to vote. And instead of overseeing the ongoing municipal elections across Iowa and meeting with our county auditors at the Iowa State Association of County Auditors, Schultz is enjoying a week long youth-leaders conference and a glamorous retreat to Rigi Kaltbad Mineral Baths & Spa.
“Instead of focusing on his job here at home – counting votes and working with his colleagues to discuss Iowa’s election laws and new innovations to make our elections more efficient and to increase participation, our state’s chief elections officer is in Switzerland soaking up a mineral bath and enjoying luxurious travel throughout the Swiss Alps,” said Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price. “Matt Schultz needs to reevaluate his priorities on what it means to ‘advocate for the integrity of the election process,’ return from Switzerland and start paying attention to his job here in Iowa.”
Des Moines Register // Jason Noble
Controversial rules governing voter fraud investigations will remain suspended until the conclusion of a lawsuit challenging their legality.
A Polk County judge on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction against implementation of the rules. The move is a positive development for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, which brought the suit against Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
At issue are rules written by Schultz’s office guiding the process by which the state may verify a voter’s eligibility and strip the voting rights of those found to be ineligible.
The ACLU and LULAC argue Schultz exceeded his authority in issuing the rules, and say the rules themselves could violate eligible voters’ right to vote. They’re asking that the rules be struck down entirely.
Schultz’s office, by contrast, argues the rules are appropriate and has asked the court to dismiss the case.
In his ruling on Wednesday, District Judge Scott Rosenberg denied the ACLU request to strike the rules immediately, but agreed they should be suspended until the case is resolved.
“Iowa voters should take heart, because the court order today will prevent the secretary of state from using a flawed and unreliable system to purge voters or otherwise intimidate them while the case moves forward,” said Ben Stone, ACLU of Iowa’s executive director.
In a statement, Schultz said his office was “disappointed” by the order but would abide by it.
“This is just a temporary order and we look forward to having a final resolution after the hearing scheduled in March,” Schultz said in the prepared statement. “We believe that the rule provides safeguards to protect the voting process and I will continue fighting to ensure the integrity of Iowa’s election system in common-sense ways.”
Schultz is in Zurich, Switzerland, this week attending the Young Leader Conference of the American Swiss Foundation. At the conference, he’ll take part in discussions on U.S. foreign and security policy, Swiss politics and finance, and other topics. He’ll also take a daylong excursion to Mount Rigi and the Rigi Kaltbad mineral baths and spa.