The State of Iowa is getting more than four-and-a-half million dollars from the federal government to help update the state’s voter registration system and improve cyber security.
“One of my colleagues said: ‘Cyber security is a race without a finish line,'” Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says. “And Iowa intends to lead in that race.”
Pate says some of the money will help pay for mandatory training of county officials who conduct Iowa’s elections.
“We talk so much about the technology side,” Pate says. “It’s vital we build a human firewall that’s just as robust as the technological one.”
Pate says 2003 was the last time the software for the state’s voter registration system was upgraded. While state legislators did set aside some money for updated software, it wasn’t enough to complete the project now. Pate says with this infusion of federal grant money, the work can be completed as soon as possible.
“The HAVA money allows us to accelerate it, get it done now,” Pate says. “That’s a big plus.”
Pate says 60 percent of the federal “Help America Vote Act” or HAVA funds will benefit Iowa counties. Some of the four-point-eight million dollars will be used to buy “curbside equipment” for disabled voters. Pate also plans to use some of the money to hire more staff in his office who will provide digital security assistance to counties.
For the first time since 2010, congress this past March approved a new round of “Help America Vote Act” grants to states.