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Old 09-14-2018, 04:10 PM
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Default Iowa Sec of State Pate to attend voter ID roundtable in Newton

The Jasper County Auditor’s office has announced Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate will be in Newton on Tuesday to take part in a discussion on the state’s new voter ID law.

The Jasper County Voter Ready Round Table is set for 2 p.m. at the Jasper County Community Center, 2407 First Ave. E.

In a press release signed by Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott and Jasper County Director of Elections Tina Mulgrew, the event is billed as an opportunity for local organizations to come together to learn about the “voter integrity election laws,” more commonly known as Iowa’s voter ID law, signed by former Gov. Terry Branstad in 2017.

“It is not a forum or debate on the law,” the press release states. “It’s not a rally expressing a political agenda or position on the law. Rather, during the discussion we envision a few minutes explaining the law, asking participants how best to reach their local members, and then inviting them to use our toolkit to help educate their members.”

Voter ID laws have come under scrutiny nationally by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, calling the rules discriminatory against low income and minority voters. Proponents say the laws are a defense against voter fraud.

Iowa’s voter ID laws have been in the spotlight in the lead-up to the November midterm elections. In August, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the law’s provision reducing the number of days allowed for absentee voting from 40 to 29 days. The court upheld portions of a lower court’s July decision, blocking other provisions in the law.

The Jasper County roundtable is one in a series Pate is holding around Iowa before the midterm elections, meant to educate leaders and voters on the law’s requirements. Kevin Hall, communication director for the secretary of state’s office, said Pate — who is also facing a re-election challenge in 2018 from Democrat Deidre DeJear —*plans to hold “a few dozen” more stops in various Iowa counties before the election.

“The Voter Ready roundtables are designed to help Iowans understand the new voting laws and to be prepared when they’re ready to cast their ballots,” Pate said via email Thursday. “I want every eligible Iowan to register to vote and participate in our elections. We’re traveling the state and partnering with county auditors to prepare voters and poll workers for the general election. I look forward to seeing the folks in Newton and answering their questions.”

In his written statement, Parrott said the auditor’s office wants voters to find the new law easy to understand and follow and is still hoping for higher voter turnout.

“We want to get correct voting information*into the hands of every voter,” the statement reads. “We all have a vested interest in making sure information is clear, accurate and accessible. ... No matter your political views or your political party allegiance, please joins us in this roundtable discussion and then help us inform voters on the new voting laws. We want everyone to vote and every vote to count.”

Contact Mike Mendenhall at 641-792-3121 Ext 6530 or at

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