Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is distributing a half a million dollars in federal grant money to county auditors, to help with the expense of safety measures for the June 2nd Primary.
Pate, who is chairman of the National Association of Secretaries of State, says all states were offered this kind of federal financial support for primaries. “We did ask them to waive the match. You know, they sent this money to the state and said: ‘Oh, by the way, there’s a 20% match,'” Pate says. “Well, most state legislatures have adjourned, so how do you get the match to be able to draw the money to use it for the election? Fortunately, most states have figured out ways to deal with that.”
Pate has redirected money in his office budget to come up with the state “matching” funds needed to qualify for the federal grants.
Last week, Iowa National Guard soldiers delivered masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for use at polling places on June 2. Pate’s office has also sent social distancing markers and face shields to all 99 counties for use at the polls.
Pate has encouraged Iowans to vote early, with an absentee ballot, but those who wish may still vote at a polling place on June 2nd.
“Iowans like choices,” Pate says. “They want to choose whether they can vote in person at a polling location, they want to know if they can vote absentee or at the courthouse or curbside and that’s my job to make sure they have those.”
Pate cautions, though, that with fewer Primary Day polling places and all the public health precautions of the pandemic — like fewer voting booths at each location — it will take longer than five minutes to vote. Pate made his comments on the “Iowa Press” program on Iowa PBS.