John was 21-years-old and had never voted. After one of my long tirades on why it is vital to exercise your right to vote, he agreed to participate. So I took him to his registered precinct, but it was a school board election and we had to speed to another location to meet the time deadline – he did cast his vote. He seemed to enjoy voting from that day forward. Over the years, I have volunteered numerous hours on efforts to get the vote out, including venues like candidate forums to help voters choose the candidates that fit their beliefs. Registering new citizens to vote after naturalization ceremonies was especially moving. Throughout my struggles over the years with inspiring people to vote, I assured them that they could believe in the voting system in Iowa. There is no fraud; Iowans work hard at keeping the system safe and accessible.
So it was especially heartbreaking for me to sit in on the Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee where the current Iowa Secretary of State presented to the committee members a perceived need for emergency rules to go after approximately 3,500 people whom he admitted could very well be valid voters. He wanted to send these people three letters of intimidation demanding proof that they were U.S. citizens. On top of which, an officer for the Department of Criminal Investigation has been retained to complete these intimidation tactics. Even though the courts have stayed his ability to fulfill these destructive goals, the damage has been done. If I were a new U.S citizen and read about this strange and threatening behavior, I would not vote; especially if my previous country had been run by a violent dictator.
Recently Governor Branstad asked Iowans to get out and volunteer. Well, I have always loved my volunteer work. The problem is, who are Iowans to believe, my words of encouragement and confidence in the Iowa voting system or the Iowa Secretary of State who continues to work towards undermining voter confidence?
Copyright (C) 2012 Fawkes-Lee & Ryan. All rights reserved.