Controversial Iowa Voting Rule Goes into Effect

A woman casts her ballots on Election Day at Waterloo City Hall Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa. (Matthew Putney/The Waterloo Courier)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new rule backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz is taking effect that allows election officials to remove people from voter registration lists if their citizenship is questioned.

Schultz, a Republican, says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he's made his key issue since taking office in 2011.

The rule effective Wednesday allows Schultz's office to compare voter registration records against federal immigration lists. Anyone registered to vote flagged as a non-citizen is notified by mail that they may be unlawfully registered and should provide citizenship proof.

Opponents have unsuccessfully fought enactment of the rule. They say it intimidates immigrants who are citizens and may discourage them from voting.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it will continue to fight the rule in court.

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