Radical right-wing candidate for governor Lora Hubbel jumped on the South Dakota Citizens for Liberty bandwagon yesterday and lambasted SDGOP chairman Dan Lederman for being a registered Democratic voter in Iowa. But the real story here isn’t that Dan Lederman switched parties or that, in Hubbel’s words, “our GOP has been highjacked by political opportunists who don’t share our conservative values.” The real story is that Dan Lederman may have committed voter registration fraud.
First, let’s look at the Iowa voter registration record that Hubbel circulated yesterday:
This printout from Jasper County, Iowa, shows one Dan Isaac Lederman (with the same birthdate as listed for “our” former legislator Dan Lederman on our LRC website) registered to vote as a Democrat since October 1998 in Newton, Iowa. The registration lists “120 N 2nd Ave E Newton, IA 50208” as residence address and “641-791-2555” as home phone.
Web searches both show that address and phone are connected to Lederman Bail Bonds:
Lederman’s voter registration record indicates he hasn’t voted in Iowa since the 2000 primary. Iowa state law 48A.28.2(b) says that the election commissioner shall send a notice to a voter “who has not voted in two or more consecutive general elections and has not registered again” to confirm that that voter still exists at the given address. If the commissioner gets no response, the commissioner marks the voter as “inactive.” Per 48A.30.1(f), if a voter remains inactive for two successive general elections, the commission cancels the registration.
Lederman’s Iowa registration was marked “active” as of July 10, 2017. The registration audit log shows activity on “correspondence notices” in 2012 and 2014, while Lederman was a Republican member of the South Dakota Legislature living in Dakota Dunes, SD. For Lederman’s Iowa voter registration status to remain active, either someone in Iowa forget to click the “Cancel” button on Lederman’s record, or Lederman had to reply to one of those correspondence notice and assert that he remains a voter at 120 N 2nd Ave E in Newton, Iowa.
Iowa law 39A.2.1(a) says an individual commits “registration fraud” if the individual “Produces, procures, submits, or accepts a voter registration application that is known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, forged, or fraudulent.” Registration fraud is included among the most serious election crimes, alongside vote fraud, duress, bribery, conspiracy, and voting equipment tampering, warranting Class D felony punishment.
Iowa law 48A.5.2(d) says an eligible Iowa elector shall “Not claim the right to vote in more than one place. A registrant shall be presumed to revoke any earlier claim of residence for voter registration purposes.”
Iowa law 48A.5A.2 says, “A residence for purposes of this chapter cannot be established in a commercial or industrial building that is not normally used for residential purposes unless the building is used as a primary nighttime residence.”
Iowa law 48A.11.1(c) requires a registrant to give “The address at which the registrant resides and claims as the registrant’s residence for voting purposes.” The subsequent clause (l) requires the registrant to sign “A statement that lists each eligibility requirement, contains an attestation that the registrant meets all of the requirements, and requires the signature of the registrant under penalty of perjury.” Subclause 2(c) includes on the voter registration form a statement that “The penalty provided by law for submission of a false voter registration form, which shall be the penalty for perjury as provided by section 902.9, subsection 1, paragraph “e”.
Lederman, using this kerfuffle to advocate for a Trumpian national voter-suppression registry, told Dana Ferguson yesterday, “he wasn’t aware he was still registered to vote in Iowa.” But Lederman could not have remained “active” in the Iowa voter registry without his responding to an inquiry from an Iowa election commissioner about his election status at some point in the past few years to maintain his status as a registered Iowa voter.
The story here isn’t that Dan Lederman was once a Democrat. It’s that, throughout his time as a South Dakota legislator and now as chair of a South Dakota political party, Dan Lederman appears to have actively maintained cotemporaneous voter registration in two states. That story has three possible logical conclusions (in order of spectacularity):
- Someone or some computer in Iowa messed up.
- Lora Hubbel is making stuff up.
- Dan Lederman committed felony voter registration fraud (and lied about it in the press).