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Iowa voter fraud cases may hit roadblock of intent

Published On: Sep 23 2012 11:22:23 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 23 2012 11:14:50 AM CDT
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -

A state push to bring felony charges against noncitizens who voted in recent Iowa elections could run into two key roadblocks: local prosecutors who do not want to pursue cases and jurors who may find no criminal intent.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Thursday that three Council Bluffs residents -- a couple from Canada and a Mexican citizen living legally in the U.S. -- were charged with election misconduct. They were the first charged under a two-year contract Secretary of State Matt Schultz's office signed with DCI to investigate voter fraud.

But local police and prosecutors have declined to bring similar cases this year, citing questions about intent, the costs and the harsh penalties. Defense lawyers say juries may be sympathetic to claims that suspects were simply mistaken.

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