Some of the state’s top Republicans gathered in De Soto on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of the youngest Secretary of State in the nation. Matt Schultz turned 33 Monday. Over the weekend, he held his inaugural “Birthday Bash” at Stonehaven Barn.
The family-friendly event included grilled burgers and hot dogs and a playground for children. While the children played, the adults listened to speeches from the dignitaries in attendance. The prominent Republicans who helped Schultz celebrate included Congressman Tom Latham, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart, Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard, Senate District 10 candidate Jake Chapman and former House representative Doug Struyk.
“I was surprised when I came up here to the registration table that I didn’t have to show an ID,” Congressman Latham joked to the crowd.
Voter ID was the centerpiece of Schultz’ successful 2010 campaign and he continues to push for the Iowa legislature to pass a law requiring photo ID at the polls. That has made Schultz a continual target of Democrats.
“We’ve had quite an experience in our office over the last year and a half,” Schultz said. “I’ve had my identity stolen. I’ve had threats from the federal government. We have people trying to prevent me from doing the right things.”
Schultz told the attendees that there is evidence of “quite a few” people that are not eligible to vote, but are registered to vote in Iowa. Schultz has asked the federal government for access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program records, but the Department of Justice has refused those requests. The SAVE records would help those who are ineligible to vote and help the Secretary of State’s office to purge them from the rolls.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner sued the Department of Homeland Security because they denied him access to the SAVE records. Attorney General Eric Holder countersued to prevent Florida from purging the voter rolls of those who are ineligible to vote. On July 14, the Department of Justice finally submitted and the State of Florida gained access to the SAVE records.
Secretary of State Schultz hopes for similar success here in Iowa, but is being met with heavy resistance from the Democratic Party. “Senator Kibbie started railing on me, saying I was trying to do something wrong,” Schultz said. “We just want to clean our voter rolls and make sure you’re a citizen. We want to make sure there’s integrity in our elections. That’s what we’re fighting for and that’s why we need your help. They definitely have me in their crosshairs.”
Schultz’ efforts drew praise from Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, who campaigned with him during the 2010 election season. “I saw first hand how hard he worked,” Reynolds said. “Once he got into office, I’ve seen how hard he’s been working. He has completely turned that office around. He’s brought back the culture of public service. The Democrats don’t like the fact that he’s trying to maintain the integrity of the election process.”
Before the attendees sang “Happy Birthday”, Schultz had a message to them and Republicans around the state. “Tell all your friends that they should come to the polls in November and show their IDs,” he said. “Let those poll workers know that you want to show your ID, that you care about integrity.”
As long as Democrats maintain the majority in the Iowa Senate, it will be nearly impossible to pass the reforms Matt Schultz is pushing for. That is why the November elections are so crucial in Iowa. Right now, it is incredibly easy to cheat the system. All you need to know is a person’s name and address and you are likely to be handed a ballot illegally. Democrats also continue to mount legal challenges to Voter ID laws around the country.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com