Paul Pate

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate argues the integrity of Iowa elections.

The upcoming June 7 primary election is an excellent opportunity for Iowans to make their voices heard. I believe voting is one of the most important duties we have as citizens of this great state and nation, and I encourage all eligible Iowans to participate in our elections.

It is important for you to know about the many steps we take to protect the integrity of the vote. Iowa is consistently a national leader in voter registration and participation. We are also one of the top three states in the country for election administration. My office and our county election officials are committed to smooth, clean elections and making sure voters have the resources they need to be successful.

Unfortunately, as has been the case for many years, there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation floating around about how elections are conducted and how votes are tabulated. I’m proud of Iowa’s record, and citizens of this state should be as well.

Here are the facts:

There is zero evidence of any unauthorized intrusions into Iowa’s election systems.

Iowans vote on paper ballots. You can’t hack a paper ballot. Every ballot tabulator undergoes a Logic & Accuracy test to ensure it is functioning properly and records the accurate number of votes. These tests take place in view of the public ahead of the election, and both political parties are invited to observe.

Every tabulator produces a paper receipt of the vote totals that can be matched to the paper ballot totals to ensure accuracy. Our vote tabulators are air gapped, which means they are not connected to the internet. The physical protection of each piece of voting equipment is accounted for through the chain of custody in all 99 counties.

Post-election audits take place for a randomly selected precinct in every county. A bipartisan team hand-counts the ballots to ensure they match the totals from the voting tabulators. Following the 2020 general election, the hand-count audits matched perfectly, 100 percent in all 99 counties.

We have Voter ID as a requirement on absentee ballot requests and at the polls on Election Day. Since we instituted Voter ID in 2018, Iowa has seen record turnout multiple times. Voter participation and election integrity are not mutually exclusive. Iowa has both.

My office works closely with the state OCIO, the Iowa National Guard, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other entities to protect our election cybersecurity and ensure voters and poll workers are safe in all 99 counties.

The State of Iowa’s voter registration system, I-Voters, resides in a secure facility with the same standards of protection the FBI uses for sensitive law enforcement information. I-Voters has multiple intrusion detection and protection systems in place as well as other safeguards.

Election cybersecurity remains a race without a finish line, and my team is dedicated to staying ahead in this race. It’s more important than ever that we relay this message to every citizen: The State of Iowa is dedicated to protecting the integrity and security of your vote.

I encourage all eligible Iowans to participate in the June primary and November general election. For more information about elections, visit VoterReady.Iowa.gov. You decide how to vote. We will make sure it’s safe and secure. Make your voice heard by being a voter.

Paul D. Pate, CERA, is the Iowa Secretary of State and Commissioner of Elections.

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