|Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
Des Moines, IA 50319
|OFFICE OF THE IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 12, 2017
MYTH vs. FACT regarding Secretary Pate’s Election Integrity Act
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate wants every Iowan to understand the components of his proposed Election Integrity Act, as well as the necessity of this legislation and how it impacts them. Below are several myths people might have seen or heard, accompanied by the facts of this proposal. The most important point is that no eligible voter will be denied the opportunity to vote:
MYTH: Secretary Pate’s Election Integrity Act is another attempt at forcing photo ID at the polls. FACT: This isn’t photo ID, it’s voter ID. Those Iowans who do not have means to obtain a photo ID will be provided a voter ID card, free of charge, that does not require a picture.
MYTH: This will change Iowa’s voter registration process and make it more difficult. FACT: This bill does not in any way affect Iowa’s voter registration process.
MYTH: This proposal would suppress the vote of disabled, elderly, poor, minority, college students, etc. FACT: Secretary Pate’s Election Integrity Act would not suppress anyone from voting because all current and future registered voters already have the necessary identification or will AUTOMATICALLY receive a FREE voter identification card in the mail. This free ID does not require a photo or additional documentation.
MYTH: This proposal will end Election Day registration. FACT: Secretary Pate’s bill makes NO CHANGES to current requirements for Iowans who want to register and vote at the same time on Election Day.
MYTH: This proposal will make voting more difficult & slow down the process at the polls. FACT: The Election Integrity Act streamlines voting processes on Election Day. Voter ID cards will be scanned at the polling places, which will expedite voter processing and bolster voter confidence. At this time, 72 of Iowa’s 99 counties already scan voter IDs using electronic poll books. This process facilitates voter verification, eliminates the need for cumbersome paper registers, shortens lines at the polls, and greatly reduces the chances of voter or poll worker errors.
MYTH: This proposal makes it harder for college students to vote. FACT: The Election Integrity Act does not create any obstacles for college students to vote. They can register using all the registration opportunities presently available, including online or at the polls on Election Day. Current law requires Election Day registrants to show proof of identification and proof of residency; which may include college ID cards to prove identification IF the cards include a photo and expiration date.
MYTH: This is not a good use of taxpayer funds while the state budget faces a shortfall. FACT: Elections have been underfunded in Iowa for a decade. Officials on both sides of the aisle have long agreed we need electronic poll books statewide. 72 of our 99 counties already use them. We’re asking for funding to provide $4 Voter ID cards to Iowans who do not have a license. Both components can be achieved with a one-time appropriation.
MYTH: The people of Iowa don’t want this bill. FACT: Secretary Pate campaigned on this issue in 2014 and won. An August 2016 Gallup Poll showed 80% of Americans support Voter ID, including 63% Democrats and 83% of independents.
MYTH: Voter fraud is so rare, there’s no need for this legislation. FACT: We have been fortunate that we’ve not experienced widespread voter fraud in Iowa, but voter fraud does exist. One fraudulent vote cast is too many, Additionally, over 40% of votes cast are absentee, usually delivered through the mail and the voter is never seen. The Election Integrity Act ensures that all Iowans have a unique voter number (like a PIN) that will be included on every absentee ballot request form. This simple step will ensure that absentee ballots go only to eligible Iowans who are registered to vote, and who actually request a ballot, particularly protecting the vote of Iowans who are elderly or disabled.
MYTH: This is a solution looking for a problem. FACT: The Election Integrity Act recognizes that the security of elections should never be taken for granted. It’s the same as locking your door before you leave for work in the morning. We all do that, to ensure the security of our home, although the chances of our house being broken into is rare. Iowans protect what we value, and we value our elections. The Election Integrity bill is about making sure no fraud will take place in the future. It's also about eliminating human error, increasing accurate voter processing, and creating a platform for future technology.
MYTH: Secretary Pate claimed in October that our system is fine, so there’s no need to provide extra protection. FACT: Secretary Pate’s statements during the 2016 election centered on the security of our voting system leading up to November 8. Our Election Division and IT staff, in partnership with county auditors, went to great lengths to protect our voter registration database and voting equipment. Our efforts were successful because laws are in place to guide security policies, the programming, use of our databases, and our voting equipment. However, our tools to protect against fraud are limited by current state law.
MYTH: This proposal is an unfunded mandate. FACT: While the Voter Integrity Act does strongly encourage e-poll books in every precinct, this is not mandated.
“Every voter in a federal primary election, whether he votes for a candidate with little chance of winning or for one with little chance of losing, has a right under the Constitution to have his vote fairly counted, without its being distorted by fraudulently cast votes.”-Justice Thurgood Marshall, Anderson v. United States, 1974