Paul Pate for editorial.jpg (copy)

Secretaries of State Paul Pate (pictured) and Maggie Toulouse Oliver inform American voters that all Secretaries of State are taking necessary measures to make voting accessible this upcoming election. 

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but one thing has stayed the same — our American spirit to persevere even during the toughest of times.

As Secretaries of State, we are natural risk managers, with 40 of us serving as our state’s Chief Election Official. In this capacity, we routinely plan for countless scenarios, from cybersecurity inci­dents, tornadoes and even cars crashing into polling places (yes, this does actually happen).

Elections in the United States are decentralized, meaning they are carried out at the state and lo­cal level. When drafting the Constitution, our Founding Fathers understood states were in the best position to determine the methods of voting to fit the needs of their citizens. For instance, people in Iowa don’t vote the same way as they do in New Mexico; and New Mexicans don’t vote like Tex­ans or Vermonters.

We have been closely monitoring COVID-19 public health alerts, working with our state public health departments and assessing our state emergency preparedness plans accordingly. We will continue to do so in upcoming elections and for the general election in November.

So how will we successfully prepare? There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but instead a 50-state solution. In particular, states may increase their vote by mail presence, extend absentee mail ballot request deadlines, increase drive-up curbside voting and/or expand absentee voting eligibility.

If you would like to learn more about current measures states are taking around this issue, the Na­tional Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) has compiled a brief addressing these evolving actions. Many nonpartisan organizations like NASS and our colleagues at the National Association of State Election Directors are working to keep state election officials connected and sharing information regularly.

Additionally, as Congress debates COVID-19 responses, there have been discussions about providing resources to election officials. We ask Congress to recognize the necessity for flexible funding to meet each of our specific needs. We would also encourage them to aid the U.S. Postal Service, as they are absolutely necessary for sending and receiving mail ballots from absentee, military and overseas voters.

Rest assured, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve in the United States and globally, Secretaries of State are continuously monitoring developments to determine the potential impact on upcoming elections and are taking steps to help ensure the safety of voters. You can help us by getting your information from state and local election officials to ensure you are receiving timely, accurate election updates.

Stay safe, healthy and be sure to vote when the time comes.

Paul Pate is the Secretary of State for Iowa and the President of the National Association of Sec­retaries of State. Maggie Toulouse Oliver is the Secretary of State for New Mexico and the Presi­dent-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.