JOHNSTON, Iowa — With the midterm election just days away, officials laid out how they plan to keep the elections secure.
Secretary of State Paul Pate was at the Iowa National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters with other state and federal officials that are in charge of different security efforts on election day.
Recently, Secretary Pate changed the random precinct recounts in all 99 counties from only one race to two. He said the move was a way to further protect the state’s electoral process.
“We’re dedicated to protecting the integrity of our elections and the sanctity of our vote,” said Pate (R).
The Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner, the Director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa’s Chief Security Officer and the Regional Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity Agency were all in attendance and gave remarks.
The secretary said that he was aware of ballot box intimidation in other states going around in the news and he wanted to guarantee voter safety at the precincts.
“We’ve got your back, you will be able to cast your vote safely,” said Pate. “And if anyone tries to impede that process in any way, our friends in law enforcement will deal with them, we have these guys on speed dial.”
The Iowa Department of Public Safety reiterated the secretary’s point about protecting people at the booths and making them aware of potential scams ahead of election day.
“The ones that have appeared most readily in Iowa have been phone-related,” said Stephan Bayens, the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. “Within the last 45 to 60 days phone calls were being made attempting to gain either personal information or to leave a false impression that they could vote via the telephone.”
The U.S. Cybersecurity Agency shared that whenever they get intel on credible threats, they share that information with all levels of government.
“To address potential threats, we have been sharing information and intelligence with election officials and keeping them informed and appraised of evolving threats landscape,” said Phil Kirk, the Regional Director of the agency.
Pate also commented on those who don’t believe in the results of the election, with President Trump campaigning in the state on Thursday night.
“Anytime someone talks about elections and questions the integrity it makes our job challenging. That’s why we constantly have to be on vigil and go out and spread the word, build the choir,” said Pate. “I will mention that when the President was here last in Iowa, he did indicate he felt Iowa did it right.”
Election day is next Tuesday and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information to find your voting location, questions about early voting or absentee ballots, head to the Secretary of State’s website.