Iowa Secretary of State part of national panel making recommendations on vote counting

DES MOINES — The National Association of Secretaries of State Task Force on Vote Verification has released six recommendations for states on handling post-election audits.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate was on the bipartisan task force and says the “best practices” are similar to what Iowa already does.  “We do post-election audits, in fact, I am very proud of the fact we did 99 post-election audits — one in each county,” Pate says. “And the hand count matches exactly what the tabulator said, and I think that speaks to the integrity of our process.”

The recommendations include how to handle ballots and being transparent in releasing the results. “It is imperative that the public has total confidence in the process and the results,” Pate says.

He says the public is now demanding more information. “They want to know more than just that you ran a safe election. They want you to share with them what steps are you using,” according to Pate. “The fact that we have bipartisan teams working side-by-side who can observe the process from beginning to end. The fact that the machines are certified in front of other people and tested and retested. Our ballots get hand-counted in the post-election audits.”

Pate says another key recommendation is to get the process set long before the voting starts. “Let’s set the rules for an election well before the election — none of this midstream stuff.  That’s when you start creating doubt with the public,” Pate says. “My role as Secretary of State, I am a referee, I don’t get to wear a uniform.  If you are at a sporting event don’t change the rules in the middle of the game and go ‘hey you know we are going to rethink that’.”

The task force released its recommendations late last week.

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