DES MOINES, IOWA (January 15, 2020) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s partnership with VoteShield sets a model for other states to monitor and protect their voter data. VoteShield is a secure web application that tracks changes to Iowa’s voter rolls and detects and flags anomalies. Iowa was the first state in the country to utilize the system.
Every state considers itself a target for foreign adversaries and bad actors whose possible goal is manipulating voter data. VoteShield is one of the numerous protections in place for Iowa’s voter registration system.
“VoteShield is an important component to help us ensure the integrity of Iowa’s voter data and elections,” Sec Pate said. “The system is available for all 99 county auditors to use. Auditors know their counties best, so if an anomaly is detected, they are able to investigate it themselves.”
Iowa began utilizing VoteShield prior to the 2018 elections. An updated version was unveiled to Iowa county auditors in November 2019. The system is now available in 17 states.
“Our partnership with Sec Pate is a model of how technologists and election administrators can work together to secure our elections and give the public greater confidence in their elections,” said Quinn Raymond, project lead at VoteShield.
Sec Pate’s office also partnered with voter registration expert Timothy Hagle, a professor at the University of Iowa, to analyze weekly reports generated by the system. The Secretary of State’s staff, Professor Hagle, and VoteShield regularly discuss the data, trends, and how to improve the reporting.
“Coupled with human expertise, VoteShield has provided valuable information and analytics to identify errors and to help ensure the integrity of Iowa’s voter database,” Professor Hagle said.
Election security is a critical, ongoing, and non-partisan issue. The threats are constantly evolving and Sec Pate’s approach to combating these threats continue to serve as a model for the rest of the country. The National Association of Secretaries of State honored Pate’s office with the NASS IDEAS Award in 2019 for his statewide election cybersecurity efforts.
“Sec Pate understands that ensuring all eligible citizens the right to vote means navigating a complex environment, including threats from sophisticated malicious actors,” said Quinn Raymond from VoteShield. “We’re excited that our system has provided him an important tool to secure the voter rolls against those evolving threats.”
Two soundbites from Secretary Pate are available for your use at this link.