Anderson discusses voter turnout, takes aim at Iowa's secretary of state

Brad Anderson's goal is to make Iowa No. 1 in the nation in voter turnout. It may take a lot of work, but Anderson thinks it can be accomplished within a decade.

Anderson, 38, of Des Moines, is running for the office of Iowa's secretary of state as a Democrat in the 2014 election.

"I am out there because I believe the incumbent has had too long to talk about ways to disenfranchise voters, and I want to spread some ideas on how we can enfranchise voters," Anderson said in an Osceola Sentinel-Tribune interview Aug. 1.

The incumbent, Matt Schultz, a Republican, took office in 2011.

Background

Anderson's background includes working on Iowa elections for more than a decade, ranging from U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to statewide referendums, like Iowa's Water and Land Legacy conservation campaign in 2010.

Most recently, Anderson was the state director for Iowa's Obama election campaign in 2012.

"No one said we could increase voter turnout compared to 2008," Anderson said. "Everyone said that was a watershed year, and we fundamentally believe there was more we could do to increase turnout. We ended up at the end of the day increasing turnout by 43,000 votes."

Anderson said he feels passionately about participation, and this applies to organizations and government.

"Given my background in working in campaigns, and the fact that my wife is a small-business owner, we do understand the business-services side of things," he said. "I thought there was a lot we could do to improve the office, as far as modernizing the office."

2012 campaign

This is the first time Anderson has run for an elected position, and he said he doesn't see himself as a politician. However, what he saw during the 2012 election campaign influenced him.

Anderson said, in the 2012 election, what he saw was "disturbing."

"To try and send threatening letters to, what I believe to be, many eligible immigrants who are eligible to vote," he said. "Yet, the current secretary of state is trying to require them to show additional paperwork and jump through hoops to get them to participate."

Anderson added, Schultz has wasted "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on a partisan investigation that has yielded no evidence of what he believes to be voter fraud in Iowa.

"I thought we need a new secretary of state — someone who cares about actually getting more people to participate and increasing turnout," Anderson said. "Unlike the current secretary of state, I don't think there are too many voters. I think there are too few, and I will work day and night to make sure we increase participation, as well as modernize the office."

Other goals

Anderson's other goals include expanding the use of electronic poll books, which would help ease the process of checking people in, and same-day voter registration.

There is also expanding or having online voter registration, which many states have.

Anderson said online voter registration would save taxpayer's money, be easier for the voter to sign-up and make it easier for the county auditor to process paperwork.

Anderson discussed legislation on satellite voting, which was enacted in the early 1990s in Iowa and allows people to vote early at satellite voting locations. It was done under a Republican governor and Democratic secretary of state.

"Republicans have great ideas. Democrats have great ideas. There's no party that has a monopoly on good ideas," Anderson said. "I think, now, currently, we have a secretary of state who is overtly partisan and he is not dedicated to seeking out ideas from both sides of the aisle."