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Paul Pate’s Remarks On Voter Integrity At Public Hearing

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Thank you Chairman Rizer, Representive Mascher and all the members of the House State Government Committee. for the for the opportunity to speak with you today. And thank you to all the Iowans who have come here tonight to make your voices heard. This is what a representative Republic is all about: the free exchange of ideas.

There are a few points I would like to make clear: This bill is about modernizing our elections technology, streamlining the system, and securing integrity by preventing the potential for fraud and human error.

It should be easy to vote, but hard to cheat. This bill accomplishes both of those goals. I want to make this clear: No eligible voter will be denied their right to vote by this legislation. I am adamant about that fact and will fight to ensure voters are not disenfranchised.

If you do not already have a form of ID, we will give you one, for free, automatically.

I have worked very hard in my administration to help Iowans vote. We gave Iowans another simple way to register to vote last year when we instituted online voter registration, and 70,000 Iowans utilized the system to register to vote in 2016.

We worked with colleges and universities across the state in the College Voter Engagement Drive, to encourage students to get involved in the process and that program was a huge success.

My office is a finalist for a national award for our “Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote” initiative. Studies show approximately 300,000 Iowans have some type of disability. We wanted to make sure they knew of all the resources available to them to help them register to vote and cast their ballot, including curbside voting.

My office conducted a statewide outreach effort and worked with groups like Disability Rights Iowa, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, Operation Engage America and many others to help Iowans with disabilities vote, and that initiative is one of four finalists for an IDEAS AWARD from the National Association of Secretaries of State.

I want every eligible Iowan to vote and I will continue to strive toward Iowa being number one in the nation in voter participation. Nothing in this legislation will prevent any eligible Iowan from voting.

It is disappointing that some folks have decided to politicize this issue, especially when poll after poll has shown overwhelming support for a voter ID program. In the Des Moines Register just two weeks ago, 69 percent of Iowans said they support voter ID, with only 28 opposed. 71 percent of registered independents support voter ID, and even 48 percent of Democrats support it. And those numbers hold true in every poll taken in Iowa and nationally on this issue over the last several years.

No one will be disenfranchised. I repeat, no one will be disenfranchised. For those Iowans who want to vote and don’t already have a driver’s license or state-issued ID, we will send them one, automatically, for free, with no extra effort required by them.

If someone loses the card or forgets to bring it on Election Day, they still will not be turned away. At the very least, they will be able to cast a provisional ballot.

We do have a history of fair and clean elections in Iowa, and I intend to keep them that way. This proposal makes it easy to vote, but hard to cheat. That’s how it should be. Thank you for your time.