A year after county auditors in Iowa were told an investigation had been launched into allegations of voter fraud, the top election official in Scott County said she has waited long enough to find out who might be suspected here.
Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz said that the anniversary of the disclosure is quickly approaching — as are city and school board elections — and that it's time authorities release the names of people suspected.
"This has been a year. They could have given this information to the auditors. We could have found those people," Moritz said.
The auditor said she repeatedly has been told it wouldn't be long before the names of people at issue would be sent to the local level. Moritz said she realizes the investigation is in the hands of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, but she said it is the secretary of state who "started us down this road."
"It's all quieted down because we're not in the middle of a huge election," she said.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz responded Tuesday.
"It's important DCI takes the proper steps to protect eligible voters from being wrongly accused of voter fraud. The key has always been election integrity without voter suppression," Schultz said in a statement. He added that his office still is seeking access to a federal database of immigration lists.
Access to the database would help determine whether non-citizens had registered, Schultz has said.
Since he began running for the office in the 2010 election, Schultz, a Republican, has said more scrutiny needs to be given to the voting process. And his agreement with the Iowa Department of Public Safety to investigate potential voter fraud — using federal money to pay for the inquiry — has been controversial. Critics say Schultz is trying to suppress the vote and is wasting money to find fraud where little, if any, exists.
Federal Help America Vote Act funds are being used to pay the costs of the investigation.
Legislative Democrats have asked for an audit of the use of the money, which the state auditor recently said would be done.
Initially, Moritz, who is a Democrat, said she was told 180 people were under investigation in Scott County. She said the number she has been told since then has fluctuated.
An official with the DCI said Tuesday it is exercising care to vet a list of names it received from Schultz's office and it had no timetable for completion of its investigation.
"We owe it to these individuals that we do our due diligence," said Gerard Meyers, assistant director of field operations for the DCI. He said it would have frivolous to forward names that it could otherwise find to be "non-actionable."
Meyers added referrals would be made to law enforcement agencies; in Scott County, that would be the sheriff's department, he said. He added the agency is working with federal immigration authorities to vet the list it was given.
"We're nearing the end of this long vetting process," he said.