Pate And Brown Speak About Secure Elections

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate discusses midterm election policy and security this past week.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate discusses midterm election policy and security this past week.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate stopped by the Mahaska County Courthouse this week to talk about the upcoming mid-term election and the policies that have been implemented to safeguard the vote.

Pate said that it’s critical that Iowan’s still vote by paper ballot, and not the internet, so that there is still a hard copy to verify the integrity of the election, preventing an outside actor from changing the votes. “That’s not possible under the process we use. There is a lot of other safeguards we implement.”

“The key thing here is transparency,” added Pate of the process to safeguard elections.

In Mahaska County, there are 11 precincts and nearly 14,000 registered voters utilizing the Express Epoll Book System.

“In the United States elections are not centralized, they are by state. The state operates it. For us in Iowa, we are even more unique, and I think doing it the right way. We have 99 county auditors, our local commissioners of elections and literally thousands of your neighbors who work as poll workers. So it’s about as grassroots as you’re going to get,” said Pate of elections in Iowa. “That’s what helps us ensure a lot of the security.”

Mahaska County Auditor Sue Brown explained that her office had just completed their public test on Wednesday. She also touched on the security measures that are in place to protect the machines and the ballots that are to be used. “We go in and test every machine, every ADA machine, and every scanner.”

Brown also said that her office conducts three days of training for the poll workers who will work at the precincts.

“We have to keep track of every single ballot,” said Brown of the process of securing an election. “So we are always balancing every day as they do absentee.”

If a ballot was spoiled, that is kept track of and noted.

Brown said that the county has also implemented cyber safeguards, such as the Poll Books that are now encrypted, “so they are more secure.”

The cybersecurity steps being implemented are coming with the aid and direction of the state and the federal government, to help thwart threats, such as outside attacks to computer systems, aiming to disrupt elections in the United States.

There is now a two-factor authentication to gain access to I Voters. “That’s an extra layer of protection to get into our statewide system.”

“We just take it very seriously that everything is kept locked and nobody has access to it but those that should have access to it,” said Brown of the efforts to keep voting secure in Mahaska County.

A question that arose from the most recent primary election was about voting hours, and who gets to vote when the polls close. “If they are in line at 9 o’clock pm, the poll workers are instructed, and we talked about that at our training, they are to bring everyone in that’s in line, then close the door. Everybody that’s in line will vote,” explained Brown.

“If you are there before that 9 o’clock bell hits, you will be given an opportunity to vote,” explained Pate.

In Mahaska County, absentee voting has been brisk, with a total of 2499 requested, and 1088 already received back to the auditor’s office.

Broken down by party, 1231 Democrats, 2380 Republicans, 7 Libertarian, and 677 No Party requests have been submitted. 676 of those requested by Democrats have been returned, while 805 have been returned by Republicans. 2 have been returned by Libertarians, while 264 have been returned by No Party voters.

An important point that both Pate and Brown spoke about was to verify the information you may be getting from outside sources for election information. They encourage you to reach out to their offices to confirm any information you may have a question about.

You can find out more by visiting the Iowa Secretary of State website HERE – or by calling the Mahaska County Auditor at 641.673.7148.

Posted by on Oct 21 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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