Mahaska County Attorney Says Wanders Won’t Be Charged After Electioneering Allegations Made

Steve Wanders said he was the best choice to be appointed to the county board of supervisors since he received the most votes in the primary election. Two of the three committee members agreed, and voted to appoint him to the board.

Steve Wanders (file photo)

A Mahaska County Attorney’s Office Press Release

On October 31, 2018, the Mahaska County Attorney’s Office was made aware of a possible violation of Iowa Code Section 39A.4(1 )(a)(1) by Supervisor Candidate Steve Wanders. Candidate Wanders was observed handing out candy which contained campaign requests while wearing a t-shirt supporting his candidacy. Candidate Wanders was soliciting votes within 300 feet of the door to the Courthouse where voting could take place until 4:30 p.m. Information obtained indicates Candidate Wanders arrived at approximately 4:00 pm and stayed until 5:30 p.m. The polls were open for approximately 30 minutes while Candidate Wanders solicited votes. Information obtained in the investigation of this matter indicates Candidate Wanders was unaware of the requirements of the Code of Iowa and the provisions regarding solicitation of votes near a polling place.

Code Section 39A.4, in relevant part, provides:

1. A person commits the crime of Election Misconduct in the Third Degree if the person willfully commits any of the following acts:

a. Election Day acts. Any of the following on Election Day:

(1) Loitering, congregating, electioneering, posting signs, treating voters, or soliciting votes, during the receiving of ballots, either on the premises of a polling place or within three hundred feet of an outside door of a building affording access to a room where polls are held, or of an outside door of a building affording access to a hallway, corridor, stairway. or other means of reaching a room where the polls are held…

Violations of this Code Section could result in a one year term in the Mahaska County Jail or a fine of up to $1 ,875.00.

Although, it is clear it is a candidate’s duty to know his statutory obligations in an election, it is not clear Candidate Wanders’ inappropriate actions were a voluntary and intentional violation of a known legal duty. This office has been assured no further apparent violations of the law will occur, and because of the relatively short period of time involved, and because of the lack of prior violations, no charges will be filed at this time.

It should be noted the integrity of our election process is critical to our form of government and any further allegations of election misconduct will be vigorously pursued.

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Posted by on Nov 2 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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