The Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of state has released a list of proposals to deploy new technology for voter registration and require a photo ID check to ensure all voters are eligible to vote. Paul Paul, the Republican running to be Iowa’s next secretary of state, says he wants to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.
“We want to encourage voter participation and we want to maintain the integrity,” Pate says.
Pate says 93 percent of all eligible Iowa voters currently have a driver’s license and he’d seek funding from the legislature to ensure the other seven percent get a state-issued photo ID. Pate favors a state law requiring eligible voters to have that photo ID — and he says with new technology, electronic poll books for precincts on Election Day would have a photo of the voter beside their name, as another cross-check for poll workers.
“You’d have to have some proof of who you are and once that’s done, clearly we’ve done the best we can to ensure you’re a legitimate voter,” Pate says.
Pate’s also proposing that auditor’s offices in all 99 Iowa counties be equipped with software that could verify a voter’s signature on an absentee ballot.
“Dallas County, for an example, has over 50 percent of its voters voting absentee and it’s going to be growing more and more,” Pate says, “so I think we need to step up some of the protections if we can on that.”
Pate’s Democratic opponent is Brad Anderson. Anderson says he’s glad Pate has joined his call for “electronic poll books,” but Anderson says some of Pate’s other proposals, like new photo IDs and the new signature verification software, would require a dramatic increase in taxpayer spending. Pate says it wouldn’t cost that much to buy a laptop for each of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Pate is a former member of the Iowa House and Senate who also served as Iowa’s secretary of state for one term in the late 1990s. He’s seeking the job again this year. The current secretary of state, Republican Matt Schultz, is not seeking reelection.