(Cedar Rapids, IA) Today, former Iowa Secretary of State and Mayor of Cedar Rapids, Paul D. Pate has released his plan to encourage voter participation while strengthening the integrity of Iowa’s elections.
I traveled all across this great state meeting with county auditors and listening to their advice and concerns which prompted me to host a bi-partisan roundtable summit in Des Moines. There we discussed many issues including voter participation while maintaining the integrity of the election process. Today I am sharing a plan to strengthen Iowa elections to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.
- VOTER ID: Like a majority of Iowans, I believe we need a verifiable voter identification tool to be used when voters go to the polls to cast a ballot. Currently 93% of registered voters in Iowa already have a driver’s license with photo ID that includes a bar code on the back which may be scanned. The information provided in the bar code identifies your residency, citizenship and voter eligibility. I will seek funding to provide the remaining 7% a non-driver ID card from the Department of Transportation.
- TECHNOLOGY: Enhance technology like signature verification for absentee ballots. Provide an online voter information app so you can easily find where you vote and review a sample ballot. I support the expanded use of electronic poll books to ease voter check-in, increase accuracy and voter verification. Currently 68 counties use electronic poll books and I will work to expand this technology to all 99 counties.
- ABSENTEE BALLOTS: I propose to eliminate absentee ballot couriers from the election process. Absentee ballots are one of the highest risks for voter fraud. I believe no one should be touching your absentee ballot except you, an authorized election official or a postal worker.
- POST ELECTION AUDITS: No voting system is perfect and the number of states requiring post election audits has increased over the last few years according to data collected by The PEW Charitable Trust. Some benefits of post election audits include; finding errors, deterring fraud and promoting public confidence in elections. Working with county auditors I will implement a post election audit system in Iowa.
- YOUTH VOTER REGISTRATION: Work closely with Iowa’s high schools to encourage our youth to be active in their government and to ensure every high school student on graduation day has both a diploma and a voter registration card in their hands,
- ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION: As of June 2014 a total of 20 states offer online voter registration and four more states passed legislation to create online voter registration systems while three states offer limited online voter registration. I will work with the Iowa Legislature and support passage of online voter registration that will be secure, prevent fraud and provide long-term cost savings as well as modernize our voting system.
- INTERSTATE EXCHANGE OF VOTER LISTS: Continue to participate in the Interstate Voter Registration Cross Check program which is a plan created to help states maintain accurate and current voter registration rolls. This program helps ensure voters are correctly registered at one location. I will also explore being part of the Electronic Registration Information Center organization.
Pate, “During my term as Secretary of State, Iowa had a record number of registered voters and was in the Top 10 nationally in voter participation in a presidential election. I created bi-partisan programs to encourage voter participation like “Get in the Game” with Iowa Football coach Hayden Fry and Iowa State Coach Dan McCarney as well as “Generation VOTE” with Iowa native Terri Farrell of Deep Space Nine. With these outreach programs we were able to reach over 65,000 first time voters. For the youth we worked closely with Iowa’s high school government teachers to implement the “Kids Caucus” program to educate over 100,000 students about our unique presidential caucus program. I will continue making such efforts to best serve the people of Iowa.”
A nationally recognized small business leader by the Small Business Administration, Pate is the owner of a paving construction firm in Marion. His company is recognized as a “Patriotic Employer” by the National Committee for Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve. Pate recently served as Mayor of Cedar Rapids from 2002 -2006. While Mayor, Pate was elected President of the non-partisan Iowa League of Cities representing over 870 municipalities. Previously, he served as Iowa Secretary of State from 1995-1999 and represented NE Cedar Rapids, Marion and parts of Linn, Buchanan and Delaware Counties in the Iowa Senate from 1989-1995.
Pate is a lifelong Iowa resident, born in Ottumwa, growing up in Linn County.