The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Iowa

March 20, 2014

Former offender acquitted in Iowa voter fraud case

(Continued)

KEOKUK —

Her attorney, Curt Dial, told jurors that theory was ridiculous. He said Griffin had nothing to gain by participating in an election in which 110 people voted in uncontested mayoral and council races, other than to show a stepdaughter who was learning about elections how voting worked.

Griffin testified that she has turned her life around after numerous struggles, including being molested as a child, having mental illness, being domestically abused, and addicted to drugs. Now she said she's happily married and volunteers for causes such as battered women's shelters, child abuse prevention and education.

She would not risk her stable life in Montrose, where she moved in 2011 after remarrying, to knowingly vote illegally, Dial said.

"The jury didn't have much question at all," he told reporters. "It's the outcome I expected. We're happy with it."

Short, a Democrat, defended his decision to pursue the case, which he called the first election-related crime he's prosecuted in 40 years. He said both sides agreed on all of the elements of the crime except whether her false statement was made knowingly.

Griffin testified that she was unaware that Branstad rescinded a 2005 executive order signed by Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack in which offenders automatically received their voting rights back once they left state supervision.

Branstad's 2011 change requires offenders to individually apply to the governor to regain voting rights. Griffin's probation officer testified that she never told her about the change.

Griffin is among 26 people who have been charged with election-related crimes under a two-year investigation coordinated by Schultz, who ran for the office vowing to find and combat voter fraud.

Most are former felons or noncitizens accused of voting or registering illegally. Several have pleaded guilty to reduced charges, or had their charges dismissed. About 15 other cases remain pending, and more charges are possible after the Division of Criminal Investigation referred findings in 80 more cases to prosecutors last month.

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