DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State criminal investigators continued Monday to look into reports of possible problems with absentee ballots in Muscatine and Floyd counties.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation spokeswoman Chari Paulson said the investigations were ongoing and she couldn’t comment further.
The investigations, first reported Monday in The Des Moines Register, appear to center on voters receiving ballots without having signed a request form.
A Muscatine County man, Craig White, said a Democratic campaign worker allowed his 75-year-old mother to sign a ballot request form for him when he wasn’t home.
It is a felony in Iowa to falsify a signature on a ballot request form.
“It shocked me, and it really almost made me change my vote,” said White, a Democrat. “As far as I’m concerned, my civil rights were violated.”
He complained to state party officials when he learned what had happened, and said they tracked down the canvasser who had talked with his mother.
In Floyd County, the DCI is investigating as many as three reports of someone filling out ballot requests without the voter’s knowledge.
County Auditor Gloria Carr said a member of her staff noticed a birth date didn’t match a voter whose name was listed on a ballot request form they received from a campaign canvasser.
The voter said he never filled out the original ballot request form, Carr said. She called the county attorney and secretary of state’s office, and then the DCI started looking into the matter, she said. Carr is aware of three potential incidents of wrongdoing.
County Attorney Normand Klemesrud said Monday that it’s unclear whether charges will be filed.
“They keep me apprised as to what they’re doing investigation-wise but I have not seen any real factual information at this point,” Klemesrud said. “They’re talking to a lot of people.”
Iowa may post a record number of absentee ballots this year. Both major political parties have pushed residents to vote early. More than 624,000 ballots have been mailed to Iowa voters and more than 470,000 were returned as of Friday.
Democrats have requested more than 272,800 ballots and returned more than 209,700. Republicans requested more than 192,400 and returned 151,000. The rest were returned by voters listing other party affiliations or nonpartisan voters.
In 2008, more than 545,000 voters cast absentee ballots, about 36 percent of the 1.5 million total votes cast in Iowa.
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