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New resources to be dedicated to protect security of Iowa’s elections

This news story was published on June 7, 2018.
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DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, in partnership with the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announces the dedication of new resources to all 99 counties to ensure the security and integrity of Iowa’s elections. The Secretary of State’s Office will conduct cybersecurity workshops with county auditors and their information technology staff on June 20 and June 21 to give them more information about these free resources.

“First in the nation in voting demands first in the nation security,” Secretary Pate said. “Iowa goes first in the presidential nominating process, we’re one of the top states for voter registration and voter participation, and we’re working hard to make sure we have the best cybersecurity in the nation.

The free resources for counties will be provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). Secretary Pate made the announcement during a media availability inside the Security Operations Center for the OCIO. He was joined by Chris Krebs, one of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s top officials. Krebs is the president’s nominee for Under Secretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD).

“If I had one message for the voters of Iowa, it’s that all levels of government and the private sector are working together to ensure the security and resilience of today’s election,” Krebs said. “Everyone is working around the clock to ensure your vote counts, and is counted correctly.”

Secretary Pate emphasized that election cybersecurity requires a team effort. Last month, he created a Cyber Working Group, that includes DHS, the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the OCIO, the Iowa National Guard, county auditors, and more.

“The Secretary of State is taking the right approach to ensure that our election systems are secure and will protect the integrity of the process while maintaining voter confidence,” said Jeff Franklin, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the State of Iowa. “By bringing stakeholders and cybersecurity experts together, I am confident the State of Iowa will be successful.”

“We are building a human firewall that needs to be just as strong as the technological ones, and that firewall must include all 99 county auditors,” Secretary Pate said. “Requiring two-step authentication for access to Iowa’s voter registration database is one new requirement we are placing on all 99 counties. This is about protecting the integrity of the vote. Iowans have fought and died for this right. We must ensure the legitimacy of our elections.”

Pate also announced that Iowans shattered the records for absentee voting in a primary election this week. A total of 49,808 Iowans had cast absentee ballots for the June 5 primary by the close of business on Monday. The previous high mark was 40,718 in June 2014. Along with a record number of absentee ballots cast and requested, there are more Iowans registered to vote that at any point before a June primary in state history. Iowa has 1,964,522 active registered voters, as of June 1.

“I want to compliment Iowans for stepping up in record amounts and making their voices heard. These are fantastic numbers and provide solid evidence that it’s easy to vote, but hard to cheat in Iowa,” Secretary Pate said.

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