i9 Follow Up: Voter challenges Sen. Jack Whitver’s voter registration, Polk County to hold hearing

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 8:24 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Polk County Auditor’s Office will hold a hearing on Sen. Jack Whitver’s (R-Grimes) voter registration on November 30 after another registered voter claimed he doesn’t live in his State Senate district.

The hearing could lead to the Republican Senate Majority Leader’s voter registration being canceled. If it is canceled, the office could become vacant according to the Dubuque County Auditor’s Office.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Iowa law requires candidates for the state legislature have residency for at least 60 days before the general election along with living in the state for one year. An i9 Investigation published in October found Sen. Whitver moved his voter registration from a house in Ankeny to a condominium in Grimes during August, which allowed him to run in a more conservative district and avoid running against another Republican incumbent.

Water records TV9 obtained show the condominium didn’t use water from February to September. After our story aired and ignoring an interview request, Sen. Whitver released a more recent bill showing a water charge of about $10.

Caleb Hunter, who is a spokesperson for Sen. Whitver, said in an email the challenge was an attempt by Democrats to overturn an election. He also said Sen. Whitver expects the challenge to get dismissed like another challenge to his voter registration filed in March 2022.

“Senator Whitver is excited to continue to represent the people of Senate District 23 and get to work in the 2023 legislative session,” Hunter wrote in an email.

The State Objection Panel, which contained two Democratic and one Republican, rejected a petition challenging his voter registration in March. However, this new challenge made on behalf of Ann Gale is significantly different.

This newer challenge is filed around Sen. Whitver not being a resident in the district 60 days before a general election, which is the requirement, rather than a primary like the previous challenge. It also contains more evidence showing Sen. Whitver doesn’t live in Grimes including his water bill, screenshots from social media, the Senate Republican’s website and his place of employment.

Rep. Ross Wilburn (R-Iowa City), who is also the Chair for the Iowa Democratic Party, said in an email the challenge is about following the law. He said he believes Sen. Whitver should follow the rules like the rest of us and should be held accountable.

“No one is above the law in Iowa and it’s disgraceful to cheat the system just to hold on to power,” Wilburn wrote in an email.

The Polk County Auditor’s Office declined to answer any of TV9s questions about procedures or outcomes over a two-day period.