Citing errors, Iowa removes list of felon voters amid review

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa election officials have stopped using a long-flawed database of felons who are ineligible to vote as they rebuild it from scratch.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office removed the database, which contained more than 100,000 entries, from the statewide voter registration system on Jan. 3.

Workers are recreating the list by reviewing each entry and adding back those that are verified felony convictions. They hope to complete the review before the November election.

Pate spokesman Kevin Hall said newly registered voters, who must attest that they aren’t felons, will be compared against only the verified entries to check their eligibility.

For years, the list has been blamed for causing confusion and wrongly disenfranchising some who are eligible voters.

Pate’s office told auditors last month that it found “numerous errors” in the database, which included cases that weren’t felony convictions and ridiculous data entry mistakes. It blamed those errors on the Iowa Judicial Branch, which supplies the list’s data.

A review by The Associated Press of 700 entries found that 4 percent of the cases weren’t felony convictions and shouldn’t have been included. The AP also found that errors resulted in the Des Moines Police Department and the State of Iowa being listed as felons.