Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Election Misconduct in the First Degree (Voter Fraud) Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Election Misconduct in the First Degree (Voter Fraud) Charges in Iowa

Election Misconduct in the First Degree in Iowa, sometimes informally called voter fraud, is the crime defined by Iowa Code Section 39A.2 as follows:


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1. A person commits the crime of election misconduct in the first degree if the person willfully commits any of the following acts:

a.Registration fraud.
(1) Produces, procures, submits, or accepts a voter registration application that is known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, forged, or fraudulent.
(2) Falsely swears to an oath required pursuant to section 48A.7A.

b.Vote fraud.
(1) Destroys, delivers, or handles an application for a ballot or an absentee ballot with the intent of interfering with the voter’s right to vote.
(2) Produces, procures, submits, or accepts a ballot or an absentee ballot, or produces, procures, casts, accepts, or tabulates a ballot that is known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, forged, or fraudulent.
(3) Votes or attempts to vote more than once at the same election, or votes or attempts to vote at an election knowing oneself not to be qualified.
(4) Makes a false or untrue statement in an application for an absentee ballot or makes or signs a false certification or affidavit in connection with an absentee ballot.
(5) Otherwise deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the citizens of this state of a fair and impartially conducted election process.


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c.Duress.Intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, a person to do or to refrain from doing any of the following:
(1) To register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register to vote.
(2) To urge or aid a person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register to vote.
(3) To sign a petition nominating a candidate for public office or a petition requesting an election for which a petition may legally be submitted.
(4) To exercise a right under chapters 39 through 53.

d.Bribery.
(1) Pays, offers to pay, or causes to be paid money or any other thing of value to a person to influence the person’s vote.
(2) Pays, offers to pay, or causes to be paid money or any other thing of value to an election official conditioned on some act done or omitted to be done contrary to the person’s official duty in relation to an election.
(3) Receives money or any other thing of value knowing that it was given in violation of subparagraph (1) or (2).

e.Conspiracy.Conspires with or acts as an accessory with another to commit an act in violation of paragraphs “a” through “d”.


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f.Voting equipment tampering.Intentionally alters or damages any computer software or any physical part of voting equipment, automatic tabulating equipment, or any other part of a voting system.

2. Election misconduct in the first degree is a class “D” felony.

A conviction for Election Misconduct in the first degree carries a prison sentence of 5 years under Iowa law.  As an attorney with experience handling Election Misconduct in Iowa, I know that the outcome of the case is of great importance to the client. That is especially true when the person accused of Election Misconduct is not a US citizen, since a conviction for Election Misconduct in Iowa can result in deportation.

In many cases, a person who is accused of Election Misconduct did not know that they were voting improperly or otherwise breaking the law.  Such facts can be useful in defending against the charge, but do not in and of themselves make the case go away.

Anyone who is accused of Election Misconduct is well advised to exercise their right to remain silent, and seek an attorney at once.


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