DES MOINES, IOWA (February 25, 2019) — The US Election Assistance Commission announced the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office is the recipient of a 2018 Clearie Award for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities. The award recognized Sec of State Paul Pate’s “Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote” initiative that has educated thousands of veterans and Iowans with disabilities about resources available to help them participate in elections. Sec Pate was presented with the award last week at EAC headquarters in Maryland.
Sec Pate’s outreach efforts include the distribution of curbside voting signs to every precinct in the state, producing instructional videos, conducting training sessions and workshops, revamping the Sec of State’s website, implementing new administrative rules, and much more. The Sec of State’s Office partners with groups such as the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, Disability Rights Iowa, the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Iowa National Guard, on this initiative.
“I am very honored the EAC has recognized my office for this award, but the biggest honor for us is seeing Iowans cast their ballots in record numbers, as they did in 2018,” Sec Pate said. “There are around 300,000 Iowans who have a disability and many of those are veterans. Studies show that people with disabilities are less likely than the general population to vote, so I made it a goal to ensure those Iowans know about the resources available to them.”
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) serves as a national clearinghouse for information on election administration. Their annual Clearie awards recognize best practices and innovative efforts of election officials across the nation.
“The EAC applauds Iowa's clear commitment to ensuring every voter has the chance to vote privately and independently,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “The state's innovative ‘Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote Project’ is not only deserving of this Clearie award, but it is a best practice model that other election officials across the nation should consider as they seek to improve voter services. The EAC congratulates Secretary Pate and his dedicated team on this achievement."
Secretary Pate launched the “Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote” initiative in 2015.
For more information about the EAC’s Clearie Award and to view their news release, click here.
A photo of Secretary Pate receiving the Clearie Award at EAC offices in Maryland is available at this link. In the picture are, from left to right: EAC Commissioner Ben Hovland, EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and EAC Commissioner Don Palmer.