Pate stages workshops to help counties ‘safeguard’ Iowans’ votes

    The Iowa secretary of state is launching a series of election security workshops ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

    The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office is launching a series of virtual workshops intended to help counties guard against any disruption of the 2020 elections.

    The workshops are part of the state agency’s Incident Response Plan, and are expected guide county auditors, information-technology administrators and emergency management coordinators through a variety of scenarios that could have an impact on the elections.

    The scenarios will include natural disasters, power outages and cyberattacks.

    Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. (Photo courtesy Iowa Secretary of State)

    “Working with federal, state and county agencies assures Iowans that they’re getting the best protection possible — ‘the A-Team,’ I call it,” Secretary of State Paul Pate said. “When we work with the Iowa Department Homeland Security and Emergency Management and our other partners on the county level, we are giving them all the resources possible to assure them that the elections are being done with the most efficient process and safeguarding their vote.”

    The workshops are being conducted with the assistance of the Iowa-based information security services firm Pratum. Pate’s office and county officials also participated in a nationwide preparedness exercise this week that was organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    “One of our key missions is to support local emergency managers as they prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters of all kinds that may impact their communities,” said Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We are proud to partner with the Iowa secretary of state because we want Iowans to be confident that whether they mail in a ballot or step in a voting booth, their vote is secure and counted in Iowa.”

    Election Day in Iowa is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Absentee ballots will be available beginning Oct. 5, but Iowans can request an absentee ballot now. Visit VoterReady.Iowa.gov for more information.

     

    Clark Kauffman
    Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.