The two major party candidates who’re running to be Iowa’s next secretary of state disagree over whether Iowa needs a new law to require all voters to show a photo ID at the polls on Election Day. Republican Paul Pate says 93 percent of eligible Iowa voters already have a driver’s license and getting a photo ID in the hands of the other seven percent wouldn’t be that difficult.
“The track record we’ve seen in other states, it has not slowed down or inhibited them from voting,” Pate says. “Clearly, it’s one of those things that we like to talk about to create a smoke effect, if you will, in politics, but we’re not. In fact we’ve seen increased voter participation in the states who have stepped up with the integrity, if you will, of some kind of voter ID.”
Democrat Brad Anderson says current Iowa law works.
“The current voter ID bill on the books here in Iowa says that any poll worker can ask any voter for their ID in any election, period. And I support that for a simple reason. It’s because this law has been effective for decades,” Anderson says. “We have some of the cleanest, fairest elections in the entire nation.”
Anderson says he’d focus on ensuring each of Iowa’s 99 counties have access to the “electronic poll book” which lists voter registration information.
“And then the poll worker lets the voter know whether or not they’re at their correct polling location, whether or not they’re eligible to vote and whether or not they’re on the felon voting registry, for example,” Anderson says. “…It would prevent election misconduct, whether intentional or not, before it happens rather than having to spend all this taxpayer dollars in years of investigations after the fact.”
Forty-three percent of the votes in the 2012 election here in Iowa were cast before Election Day. Pate, the Republican candidate, says it’s time to equip county auditors with signature verification equipment to ensure the “absentee ballots” have been signed by valid voters.
“I think the issue that Iowans have spoke loudly on is they want voter ID,” Pate says. “Over 70 percent of Republicans and Democrats have said they want that, so to protect the integrity, I want to lead that charge to get that job done.”
Pate and Anderson appeared together Friday night on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. There are two other candidates for secretary of state on the November ballot. Jake Porter of Council Bluffs is the Libertarian candidate and Spencer Highland of Ames is the “New Independent Party” candidate.