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Secretary Pate's "Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote" Initiative is Finalist for National Award
Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal WEBSITE:
Kevin Hall
Communications Director
(515) 725-2942
February 23, 2017

Secretary Pate's "Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote" Initiative is Finalist for National Award

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate's "Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote" initiative has been chosen as one of four finalists for the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 IDEAS Award. Established in 2011, the NASS IDEAS (Innovation, Dedication, Excellence & Achievement in Service) Award recognizes significant state contributions to the mission of NASS.

Upon returning to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office in January 2015, Paul Pate launched an unprecedented effort to help military veterans and Iowans with disabilities vote. Utilizing videos and social media, revamping the Secretary of State's website, producing brochures, hiring an outreach coordinator, conducting training sessions and workshops, implementing new administrative rules, and numerous other avenues, the Secretary of State's Office reached out to Iowans all over the state.

The office also partnered with organizations such as the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, Joining Community Forces, Operation Engage America and numerous other agencies. The goal was to make sure Iowans with disabilities, and those who serve them, are aware of the resources available to help them participate in elections.

"Secretary Pate's initiative aims to help two communities of underserved voters and represents a very unique approach that other states can learn from," said NASS President and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill. "We had many great submissions from offices around the state and Secretary Pate's really stood out as a vital program that could be a model for the rest of the nation."

"One of my top priorities is for every eligible Iowan to participate in the state's elections," Secretary Pate said. "That effort requires education and encouragement. An estimated 300,000 Iowans of voting age have some type of disability and studies show that people with disabilities are among the least likely to vote. I made it a goal to help those Iowans make their voices heard by participating in the election process."

Along with helping all Iowans with disabilities participate in elections, Secretary Pate's initiative includes a specific focus on the state's military veterans.

"Tens of thousands of Iowans with disabilities are military veterans," Secretary Pate said. "More and more, we're seeing veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We wanted those brave soldiers to know that curbside voting was one option for them. Entering a polling place might be a difficult experience for someone with PTSD, so being able to vote from their vehicle, or by mail, were options we promoted to them."

The final NASS IDEAS Award recipient will be chosen by a vote of the full NASS membership and presentation will take place at the annual NASS summer conference in July.

For more information on Secretary Pate's initiative and accessible voting, visit