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County Auditors' Task Force recommendations included in Election Modernization and Integrity Act
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
March 23, 2017

County Auditors' Task Force recommendations included in Election Modernization and Integrity Act

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate worked in concert with the Iowa State Association of County Auditors to include their recommendations in the Election Modernization and Integrity Act. House File 516, passed by the Iowa House on March 9, includes 10 of the 11 recommendations. Secretary Pate is working to include the other recommendation in separate legislation.

"My office has worked closely with all 99 county auditors for the past two years on a vast array of elections issues and we will continue to do so," Secretary Pate said. "They are our partners in conducting 260 annual elections throughout the state. I value their input and many of their concerns about election integrity were included in the initial draft of my legislative proposal. After meeting with ISACA's task force, we worked with the legislators, addressed all the auditors' concerns, and included ten of their 11 recommendations in House File 516."

The recommendations from the ISACA committee that were added to House File 516 include adding other forms of identifications voters can use for verification, exempting nursing home residents from the voter verification process, and changing the originally proposed non-photo ID cards to a less expensive form to reduce cost and limit duplication.

"Our report included recommendations regarding additional means of verifying voters, and I was gratified when reading House File 516 to see it included the great majority of them. Thank you to Secretary Pate and Representative Ken Rizer for listening to the county auditors and for taking our findings and recommendations to heart," said Cerro Gordo County Auditor Ken Kline.

"The Secretary of State crafted a bill that incorporated most of the things that the ISACA Voter Verification Committee identified in its final report, as necessary to improve voter integrity. Those things ended up in HF516," said Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott. "The Iowa Senate needs to pass HF 516."

The ISACA committee also pointed out that mailed-out absentee ballots are "the least secure method to vote" and recommended additional verification standards for these ballots. The committee also noted that ballot requests from family members sometimes appear to be signed by the same person, but auditors have no current authority to review signatures. The committee recommended that Iowa law give auditors that authority. That signature verification component requested by the county auditors is included in HF 516.

The auditors' committee wanted a holistic and inclusive solution that relies on multiple features of identification and does not disenfranchise the 85,000 registered voters who do not possess an Iowa driver's license or non-operator ID. By providing those voters, and any newly registered voter, with a free non-photo ID, automatically, House File 516 addresses those concerns and ensures no eligible Iowan is disenfranchised.

"I value the partnership between my office and all 99 county auditors and will continue to work with them to ensure Iowa's elections remain fair, clean and accessible for all eligible Iowans," Secretary Pate said. "I told the auditors at their annual gathering earlier this month that my door is always open to them and my staff remains available to assist them in anything they need. That has been my policy from the start and it will remain the policy of my office."