This week, Secretary of State Paul Pate brought forward an emergency order to address mailing absentee ballot requests for the 2020 General Election in November. We want as many people as possible to vote, and with the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases, it was agreed by the Legislative Council that three things need to be achieved in the upcoming election: 1) We need this election to be as accessible as possible; 2) It needs to be uniform across the state so Iowans in every county are treated the same, and 3) We need it to be as secure as possible with appropriate and necessary Vote ID.
This recent order accomplishes all those things and the Secretary of State will send out an absentee ballot request form to every registered voter in Iowa just like he did for the Primary election in June where we saw record turnout.
With the recent Voter ID Law that was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds, Iowans can also know that the Absentee Ballot requests will be secure. This order confirms that county auditors will follow the law and only send blank request forms where voters must fill out all required fields. If forms are received by the auditors that do not have all the required information, then the auditor shall contact that voter to verify the information and ensure that they are who they say they are to avoid potential election fraud.
I have heard from many Iowans who appreciated Secretary of State Paul Pate mailing their Absentee Ballot Request to them for the Primary Elections and I believe this is a smart move to ensure that we are protecting voters from unnecessary exposure to the virus if they prefer to not vote in person. This emergency order provides exactly what Iowans want in their elections: accessibility and safety for everyone, uniformity in its application across all counties in Iowa and security so Iowans know their vote will be counted and that the integrity of our elections is maintained.