Impostor votes in Linn County casino referendum

Does incident bolster need for voter photo I.D.?

March 28, 2014 | 12:22 pm

Maybe it was only a matter of time in a state with a Secretary of State who wants people to produce photo identification to vote.

Joel Miller, Linn County auditor and commissioner of elections, reported on Wednesday that an impostor voted in a southeast Cedar Rapids precinct during Tuesday’s special election on casino gaming in Linn County.

Miller said the impostor came to light when a woman, who he identified as in her 20s, went to vote only to find out that someone had voted earlier in the day using her name.

Miller has referred the matter to the Linn County Sheriff. A sheriff’s investigator interviewed poll watchers at the precinct in question on Wednesday afternoon, he said.

Miller said he couldn’t figure why someone would "steal" someone else’s vote. Perhaps, the woman who unlawfully cast the ballot knew the person who she was posing as wanted to vote and thought the person was out of town, he surmised. Maybe, he said, it was someone who had a falling out with the person and decided to play around with her ability to vote. He said he didn't know if it was someone who might want to make a point about the need for photo I.D.s.

Miller said this is just the kind of episode that Matt Schultz, Iowa’s secretary of state, has been looking for to bolster his position that Iowa needs to require photo I. D.s before someone votes.

"My position has been, when you find an impostor let me know and I’ll support voter I.D.," Miller said on Wednesday. "Little did I know that it was going to happen in Linn County. If this holds up, somebody stole somebody’s vote, clear and simple."

Miller said the vote victim was allowed to cast a provisional ballot, and the local absentee ballot board will make a decision on whether to count it or not.

During the Tuesday vote in Linn County, Miller said he visited polling places around the county. In some rural precincts, poll watchers knew every voter coming through the door. In many instances, they could identify the voter before they got out of the car by the car the voter was driving.

"They have their own voter I.D. already out there," Miller chuckled.

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