Did Ted Cruz Violate Iowa Election Law?

Last week GOP presidential candidate Senator [score]Ted Cruz[/score]’s campaign sent out a mailer to registered voters in Iowa.

It looked like a manila envelope, and on one side, it reads: “ELECTION ALERT,” “VOTER VIOLATION,” “PUBLIC RECORD,” and “FURTHER ACTION NEEDED.” On the reverse, it states, “VOTING VIOLATION:”

“You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”

An Iowa resident Tom Hinkelday tweeted a copy of the mailer. His, his wife’s name, and five of their neighbors were listed.


Hinkelday tweeted, “Hey @tedcruz your brilliant public shaming campaign has inspired me to caucus on Monday…For @[score]marcorubio[/score].” He said he had not yet completely made up his mind yet, but the mailer “took me over the edge finally.”

Another recipient, Braddock Massey, tweeted a photo of his copy:


In response to media fallout and perhaps foreseeable negative consequences to most outside of the Cruz campaign, Cruz justified the mailer and stated, he “will apologize to nobody.”

The Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said in a statement Saturday:

“Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.

“Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”

The Washington Post, and others, reported that such strategy was developed by political science professors Alan Gerber, Donald Green, and Christopher Larimer, two from Yale and one from the University of Northern Iowa, wanted to determine if “peer pressure” affecting “social norms” affected voter turnout. The Post writes:

“Political consultants, like Democrat Hal Malchow, found that similar letters in real elections could boost turnout by up to 2.5 percent. In his best-selling book The Victory Lab, reporter Sasha Issenberg pointed to the ‘social pressure’ experiment as a daring, clever way to bring out a political base.”

However, more important than public opinion or political science research, is Iowa election law.

Does constitutional scholar Ted Cruz’s actions meet the criteria State law identifies as illegal?

39A.2 Election misconduct in the first degree.

c. Duress. Intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, a person to do or to refrain from doing any of the following:

  • (1) To register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register to vote.
  • (2) To urge or aid a person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register to vote.

More will be determined– especially as the Iowa Caucus begins on Monday, February 1, 2016. Will Cruz will be prosecuted for allegedly violating state law?

And how will voters react– in the same way Hinkelday did, and vote for someone else?

One wonders why such scrutiny is not placed on Democratic presidential nominee [score]Hillary Clinton[/score], who many argue is “too big to jail,” and may be soon indicted, or not, depending on the source.

Regardless, her alleged crimes are too numerous to expound upon in a single book. If the media had actually done its job investigating and reporting on her alleged crimes, she most likely would not be running for anything, except from prison.


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