DES MOINES, IOWA — Just six votes separated the winner from the defeated in an Iowa congressional race two years ago. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is using that race to remind Iowans that voting – or choosing not to vote – does have a real world impact.
“I think voters get it. I would remind them that elections have consequences and your vote does count,” Pate told WHO 13 as he pushes Iowans to vote in Tuesday’s general election, “Two years ago a congressional race was one by six votes – so you could be one of those six.” Pate is referring to Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks’ victory over Rita Hart. Pate’s officer certified Miller-Meeks, a fellow Republican, as the winner after numerous county level reporting errors in the days after the voting ended.
Pate is urging Iowans to be prepared if they want to be “successful” in voting this week. If you plan to vote in person you will need a photo ID – thanks to a change in law he helped usher through the statehouse. Pate suggests checking online with the Voter Ready Iowa site to find your polling location as many have changed this year.
“If you still have your absentee ballot in your possession, don’t put it in the mail”, Pate says. Thanks to another recent change in state voting law, ballots can only be accepted if they are received by Election Day – not just postmarked beforehand. “My message to folks out there is: if you’re voting absentee, don’t count on the mail. You’d better hand deliver it to your courthouse to make sure that you are successful on that front as well.”
Pate says they doesn’t appear to be an issue so far. “The people who’ve requested absentee ballots, we’ve had over 95% of them we’ve already gotten their ballot back,” says Pate, “We’re excited that we’re seeing a lot of people out there voting already. We had over 13,000 people who voted at courthouses on Saturday alone,” Pate says.
Pate is also confident about Election Day voting as well, thanks to volunteers. “Our best tool we have are poll workers”, Pate says, “It takes over 10,000 people across the state to be successful. We are really proud and pleased that we’ve had so many people stepping up.” Pate says some counties were so overwhelmed with volunteers that they asked his office to stop promoting the need for more.
Polls are open from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm on Election Day.