Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has used HAVA funding to pay for an investigator from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to probe allegations of non-citizens who've registered to vote or voted in Iowa elections. Democrats have been up in arms over this investigation, charging that it is "voter suppression" (what Iowa City Democratic Sen. Bob Dvorsky called it last week).
Courtney claims that the HAVA funds cannot be used for this investigation, saying they're only to be used for "educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights and voting technology." But he ignores the position that the organization revered by Democrats put out on the funding. The National Conference of State Legislatures put out a Fact Sheet that says this:
Uses of HAVA Funds
Requirements Payments may only be used to meet HAVA Title III requirements:
- Procuring voting systems that comply with the requirements of HAVA
- Developing, operating, and/or maintaining a computerized statewide voter registration list
- Providing required information to voters at the polling place for Federal elections
- Implementing and/or operating a system of provisional voting during Federal elections
- Implementing identification requirements for first-time voters who register to vote by mail
Exception: States can use these funds for other improvements to the administration of Federal elections only after meeting the Title III requirements, or if the amount is not more than the minimum payment (2003= $4,150,000; 2004= $7,229,205; 2008:= $575,000; 2009:= $500,000 Total= $12,671,803)
To say that the DCI probe isn't "maintaining a computerized statewide voter registration list" is disingenous. Maintenance of a valid list of registered voters must ensure that improper registrations be culled from the database and action taken. That's what the DCI agent assigned to the case is doing.
There's no "voter suppression" here. Maybe "criminal apprehension" for those who're violating state law but not suppression.