Election Misconduct in the Second Degree in Iowa, sometimes informally called voter fraud, is the crime defined by Iowa Code Section 39A.3 as follows:
1. A person commits the crime of election misconduct in the second degree if the person willfully commits any of the following acts:
a.Interference with validity of election.
(1) Possesses an official ballot outside of the voting room unless the person is an election official or other person authorized by law to possess such a ballot.
(2) Makes or possesses a counterfeit of an official election ballot.
(3) Solicits or encourages a person to vote in an election knowing that person is not qualified to vote in the election.
(4) Files a challenge containing false information under section 48A.14 or 49.79.
b.Actions by election official.As an election official:
(1) Refuses to register a person who is entitled to register to vote under chapter 48A.
(2) Accepts a fee from an applicant applying for registration.
(3) While the polls are open, opens a ballot received from a voter, except as permitted by law.
(4) Marks a ballot by folding or otherwise so as to be able to recognize it.
(5) Attempts to learn how a voter marked a ballot.
(6) Causes a voter to cast a vote contrary to the voter’s intention.
(7) Changes a ballot, or in any way causes a vote to be recorded contrary to the intention of the person casting that vote.
(8) Allows a person to do any of the acts proscribed by subparagraphs (1) through (7).
2. Election misconduct in the second degree is an aggravated misdemeanor.
A conviction for Election Misconduct in the Second Degree carries up to a 2 year prison sentence in Iowa. 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.
A person who is accused of Election Misconduct often 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.
Those who are accused of Election Misconduct are well advised to exercise their right to remain silent, and seek a lawyer at once.