Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is a finalist for a prestigious award from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) based upon his initiative to improve voter access for Iowans with disabilities. Secretary Pate collaborated with Disability Rights Iowa to produce the Voting Accessibility Quick Check Guide and distribute one to every polling place in the state. The booklet is a tool for precinct election officials to ensure polling places meet American Disabilities Act requirements and to quickly recognize and fix any accessibility issues that may arise on Election Day.
“Taking extra time to make sure the polling place is accessible allows Iowans with disabilities to have a positive voting experience when they show up to cast their vote,” Secretary Pate said. “We want to provide all 99 counties with as many resources as possible to achieve that outcome.”
The Voting Accessibility Quick Check Guide includes information about accessible voting equipment, spacing, signage and it can be used as a measuring tool. The panels in the booklet provide the necessary measurements and accessibility requirements for outside the polling place, entrances to the polling place and inside the building.
The initiative to produce and distribute the booklet statewide prompted NASS to name Secretary Pate as one of three finalists for the 2022 NASS IDEAS Award. It is given annually to recognize significant state contributions to the mission of NASS and honors the outstanding programs and achievements of NASS member offices.
Secretary Pate won the NASS IDEAS Award in 2019 for his efforts to enhance election cybersecurity in all 99 counties. He was a finalist in 2021 and 2017.
“I’m thrilled that NASS sees the value in the Quick Check Guide, and I hope it’s something every state will replicate,” Secretary Pate said. “Polling places are busy on Election Day. Due to a high volume of people coming in and out of the building, the initial set up could inadvertently change. That’s why the Quick Check Guide is such a useful tool.”
NASS will announce the 2022 IDEAS Award winner in July at the organization’s summer conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.