CORALVILLE, Iowa - Matt Schultz won't become Iowa Secretary of State until January, but he's announced his re-election plans.
"In four years, I will run for secretary of state again," Schultz recently told county auditors to reassure them he's not using his election earlier this month as a stepping stone to higher office.
"I'm not Chet Culver," he said, referring to the outgoing governor, who many people believe served two terms as secretary of state as part of his plan to run for governor.
However, Schultz doesn't exactly rule out seeking higher office - someday.
"I'm a young man, and I don't know what opportunities are ahead of me," Schultz, 31, said in an interview after speaking at the auditors' fall school in Coralville. He acknowledged that many of them, including fellow Republicans, had endorsed incumbent Democrat Michael Mauro.
"I'm here to earn your respect, to help you," he said, adding he doesn't plan "drastic changes."
That said, Schultz isn't backing away from his campaign promise to change Iowa law to require voters to present a photo ID when voting. "It's priority one," he said.
"You have to show ID before you open a checking account, before you get on an airplane and before you buy a beer. But not when you vote? It just doesn't make sense," Schultz said.
He thinks that pledge made the difference as voters re-elected the state treasurer, auditor, attorney general and secretary of agriculture but defeated Mauro, who opposed Schultz's plan to require photo IDs.
"It was all about message," Schultz said. "It was simple. It was easy to understand. People agreed with it. That was reinforced at the polls."
The public generally supports voter ID laws, according to Daniel Tokaji of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, who specializes in voting law.
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota currently request or require photo IDs. In Oklahoma, 75 percent of the voters approved a ballot measure to require voters present a photo ID.
In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls. Voters have some recourse, such as voting a provisional ballot that is counted if the voter's eligibility is confirmed.
Charles Stewart, an MIT political scientist who studies elections and voting technology, found that requiring photo IDs was the only voting-related issue supported by a majority of people in a recent survey.
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Schultz expects the Iowa House, which will be controlled by Republicans when the legislature convenes in January, will support the photo ID requirement. Governor-elect Terry Branstad supports it, too, he said, but it may be difficult to win passage in the Senate where Democrats will have a 26-24 majority.
Photo IDs is not the only issue on Schultz's agenda. He plans to set up a commission of 10 county auditors - five Republicans and five Democrats - to look at how to improve Election Day registration, satellite voting and absentee voting procedures.
Protecting the integrity of the voting process is the most important job he'll have as secretary of state, Schultz said.
"Elections are getting closer and closer, so any amount of fraud could change the outcome," he said. "If people cheat, we lose our freedom."
Schultz is busy winding up his Council Bluffs law practice, including a jury trial before the end of the year. He'll also be giving up his seat on the City Council there. He's in his second term.
Then there's the decision whether to move to the Des Moines area to be closer to his office in the Capitol.
"My wife (Zola) is pregnant with our third child, we have two children in school and two houses in Council Bluffs, so I'll probably be commuting for awhile," he said.