Iowa

Articles about voting issues in Iowa.

Iowa: Secretary of State seeks upgrades to battle attempted hackers | Des Moines Register

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says the integrity of the state’s elections system remains intact, although he acknowledges it’s been repeatedly attacked by outsiders who have included would-be hackers from Russia. “On a regular basis, we have bad actors who attempt to breach our system. Hundreds of thousands every single day … and we deflect them so that they are not successful,” Pate said. “To be a hacker, they have to actually get into the system. We have not been hacked. The Russians have not hacked us.” But Pate, a Republican who is Iowa’s chief elections official, confirmed to The Des Moines Register this week that he intends to ask the Iowa Legislature in 2018 for additional money for technology upgrades to the state’s elections system. The cost won’t be in the millions of dollars, but it will be significant, he added. “We have to stay ahead of the curve here. We need to make sure we are head of the bad guys before they come,” Pate said. Read More

Iowa: Groups express concern about rules for voter ID law | Associated Press

Proposed rules for Iowa’s new voter identification law will add unnecessary complications that could make it harder for people to vote, according to several voting advocacy groups. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the League of Women Voters of Iowa and six other groups offered a joint statement on the proposed administrative rules as part of a public comment period. They believe the rules could hurt people of color, low-income individuals, the elderly and the disabled. “We know that when it’s harder and more complicated for people to vote, that essentially disenfranchises them,” said Daniel Zeno, policy council for ACLU of Iowa. Read More

Iowa: Cybersecurity firm to review Linn County election system | The Gazette

The Linn County election commissioner has retained a Corridor-based cybersecurity firm to review the county’s voter registration and election system. Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said the review of the system by ProCircular will support the countywide school board elections Sept. 12. “This is a continuation of our efforts to improve the integrity of the voting process to ensure that our systems and records are secure, and that every vote is accurately counted,” Miller said. He also cited a “sense of urgency” because of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent declaration that voting systems are considered “critical infrastructure.” Read More

Iowa: Pate submits election commission correspondence | Quad City Times

In response to an open-records request, Secretary of State Paul Pate has turned over the “sum total” of correspondence between his office and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — two emails. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa requested the correspondence as part of its nationwide effort to gather all communications between the commission and state election officials. ACLU could have made a “simple inquiry” rather than go through the public records request process, Pate said. He suggested ACLU’s intent was “not to obtain information, but to receive media coverage.” ACLU of Iowa rejected that criticism, but Executive Director Mark Stringer said the organization is satisfied with Pate’s response. Read More

Iowa: Woman pleads guilty to voting twice for Donald Trump | The Independent

An Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Donald Trump last fall has pleaded guilty to election misconduct. Court records show Terri Lynn Rote entered a plea on 27 June to the felony charge and a district court judge in Des Moines accepted the plea. Sentencing is set for 15 August. Rote, who is 56 and lives in Des Moines, told police she turned in two absentee ballots before the November election because she believed Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election was rigged and that her first ballot would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton. She was arrested on 21 October at a satellite voting station in Des Moines attempting to vote the second ballot. Read More

Iowa: Statewide election changes coming July 1 | Daily Reporter

Some minor changes to Iowa election laws will go into effect July 1, while major changes to the election laws will be occurring in the next two years. Among the minor changes, voters not registered to vote in the precinct where they live will need to provide proof of residence, as well as identification, when they vote at the polling place. “This will be the last year that people vote for their school board in September. They vote for school board every two years in the odd years. In 2019, when voters vote for city council they will also be electing their school board. Which means everyone in the county in November 2019 whether rural or city will be able to cast a ballot,” Clay County Auditor Marjorie Pitts said. “If you live in a city you will have both city council and school board members on your ballot. To me this is a pretty significant change.” Read More

Iowa: Branstad signs controversial voter ID bill into law | The Des Moines Register

Iowa voters soon will need to show identification at the polls under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad. The measure overhauls Iowa’s election laws through a series of changes that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and to prevent fraud, but which Democrats and others argue will suppress votes by creating barriers for the poor, elderly, people with disabilities and minorities. “Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important,” Branstad said at a public bill signing Friday. “And we’re very proud that Iowa has a tradition and history of doing so, and this is going to strengthen our ability and make it more effective and efficient.” Read More

Iowa: State officials disagree on what to do if Governor resigns | Iowa State Daily

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued a formal opinion Monday that if a governor resigns, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for all intents and purposes, but does not have legal authority to appoint a new lieutenant governor. Sen. David Johnson, I-Ocheyedan, requested the opinion following Governor Terry Branstad’s announcement that, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will serve as U.S. ambassador to China, according to a release. “The lieutenant governor takes on this authority because she is lieutenant governor,” Miller wrote in his opinion. “In other words, upon a governor’s resignation, the lieutenant governor will hold both the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor.” … Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate disagrees.  Read More

Iowa: Minutemen’s support for Voter ID bill reinforces voter-suppression concerns | Des Moines Register

Of the 54 groups that registered a lobbyist’s opinion on a bill tightening voting requirements in Iowa, only one expressed support: the Iowa Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. The national Minutemen corps has a storied history for its anti-immigrant, and in the view of civil right groups, white-supremacist positions. In earlier times, it took a vigilante approach to patrolling the border and nabbing undocumented immigrants. Lately it has focused on  rhetoric and advocacy, and tipping off law enforcement on where to look for the undocumented. Though individual chapters remain, the national corps seems to have disbanded after its president in 2010 called on members to “return to the border locked, loaded and ready to stop each and every individual we encounter along the frontier,” and then she thought better of it. Read More