Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro formally announced this morning  that he’ll seek a second term as the state’s commissioner of elections. Mauro, a Democrat, touts a series of changes he’s overseen in the secretary of state’s office.  

“One of them being the voter-verfied paper trail where we have all 99 counties using the same equipment,” Mauro says.  “…Also the streamlining of the elections, taking the school board elections from every year to every other year, this year alone will save the taxpayers of the state $1 million.”

Another cost-saving measure Mauro has pushed for established a once-every-quarter system for holding city and county elections on bond issues and other local elections.  “In addition to that we’ve brought in the voter registration system which is mandated to the secretary of state, brought it in-house,” Mauro says, “and we’re going to save somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 a year just in maintaining the system in-house instead of contracting with a private vendor.” 

Mauro served 10 years as auditor of Polk County before winning the post of Secretary of State in 2006.  Mauro says he isn’t concerned about running for reelection in what may be an anti-incumbent year.

“There’s some responsibility on the incumbent’s part — and I’m going to take it serious — to let the voters know what we do and how we do it, that we work for Democrats and for Republicans,” Mauro says. “…If they can have an informed decisions and know what you’re doing, I’ll take my chances on this election year.” 

Mauro argues his office has become a national model in how to run state elections. “This year we were recognized by the Overseas Voting Foundation as the top state in the nation for accessibility for military and overseas voters,” Mauro says, “making it more accessibly and easier to track their ballot — to make sure they receive it and get it back in a timely manner.”

The secretary of state’s office also has a business division which handles the paperwork for trademark applications and corporate filings. According to Mauro, 95 percent of the work in his entire office is now done on-line, allowing applicants to file paperwork on their own time schedule.

Three Republicans are competing in the June primary for the chance to run against Mauro in the fall. The Republican candidates are former State Representative George Eichhorn of Stratford; Chris Sanger who operates a bakery in Stuart; and Matt Schultz, a member of the Council Bluffs City Council.