Secretary of State Paul Pate says Iowans will easily break the early voting record in this state, as county election officials have received 642,000 absentee ballot requests as of this morning.
In addition, early in-person voting started this morning in county auditors’ offices around the state. “It’s kind of like the opening of a Broadway play,” Pate says. “The curtain’s gone up and this is the first act.”
Today is the first-day absentee ballots mail be mailed out. Pate says voters should take their time, read the directions and make sure to sign the outer envelope used to the ballot back to the county auditor.
“If they’re doing a mail-in, if they get it in before October 31, the auditor then has 24 hours to reach back out to you if there’s any deficiencies, to help you be successful because we want everyone’s vote to count and we’ve had a really good track record,” Pate says. “We have very few ballots that are not successfully cast because of lack of signatures or their ID number. We’re very good about it in Iowa.”
Pate also reminds Iowans to use both envelopes for their absentee ballots. Pate says there is a process in Iowa for dealing with returned ballots that are not inside the “secrecy” envelope. A Republican and a Democrat are present when all ballots are opened.
“They will remove the ballot and place it into another envelope to create and give it that element of secrecy and put it in a separate stack, but we won’t be throwing it out. We will still honor it and make sure that it’s cast,” Pate says. “We just want to make sure that we have a secret ballot.”
The secretary of state’s office has had more than 50 researchers who specialize in election security review the electronic infrastructure Iowa uses for voting. That includes the state website where Iowans may track their absentee ballots.
“We had about two or three small items they brought to our attention and we’ve already started fixing those,” Pate says. “In fact, they may be fixed by today.”
Pate says this sort of testing is recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the researchers will continue their review for at least a year.