A-W volleyball ends season at Regionals

Posted November 2, 2018 at 7:07 pm

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The Akron-Westfield volleyball team ended its season Oct. 25 falling to Westwood 3-1 in Round No. 2 of the Class 1A Regionals. (Front Row l-r:) Megan Swancutt, Melissa Meinen, Megan Meinen, McKenna Moats, (Second Row l-r:) Jaden Harris, Lilly Stabe, Kayla Johnson, McKenna Henrich, Aubie Hartman, (Back Row l-r:) Assistant Coach Sarah Schroeder, Autumn Bundy, Kailee Tucker, Natalie Nielsen, McKenna Van Eldik, Brooke Koele, and Coach Robyn Van Eldik.

(See stories on Pages 12 and 13)

By Julie Ann Madden

If Iowans are worried about vote tampering, there is no reason to worry, according to Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate, who is visiting every Iowa county to assure voters their votes count.

“Iowans take voting very seriously — 92 percent of eligible Iowa are voters,” Pate told local media at a press conference Oct. 23 in Le Mars. “That speaks volumes.”

Iowans’ votes are safe and secure from tampering, including cyber hacking, he said explaining Iowans cast their votes on paper ballots and election officials do not use the internet in election procedures.

“Nobody from Moscow, Russia, or anywhere else is going to tamper with your vote to change it or influence it,” said Pate, explaining county and state election officials do not have control of social media though. Iowans with election questions are encouraged to contact their local county auditor’s office at 712-546-6100 Ext. 1 or visit the Iowa Secretary of State website at sos.iowa.gov.

The election process begins at the local level with extensive standardized training of poll workers and county auditor’s staff, he said. At the state level, state election officials partner with Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement personnel to protect Iowans’ elections, providing cyber security at no cost to the counties.

“I want to make sure Iowans know their votes count,” said Pate. “All the cyber protection we’re doing, all the training for poll workers — to make sure all counties have the same level of training, the modern equipment — all these steps to assure Iowans the integrity of the process.”

That’s also why election results are not available at 9 p.m. when polls close on Election Day, he said, explaining the ballots cast are checked and counted by local poll workers, then rechecked at the county auditor’s offices across the state before these results are sent to Iowa Secretary of State Office for further verification and finally vote certification.

“The voters don’t need to worry,” said Pate. “All the voters have to focus on is who they want to vote for and make sure they know they are registered and where they go to vote at on Election Day if they haven’t voted early.”

Plymouth County has 17,000 active voters who cast ballots at 13 voting precincts, which are staffed by your neighbors and community folks. Poll workers at each precinct are bipartisan — each polling site has Republican and Democrat poll workers.

In fact, voters with disabilities can cast their votes “curb-side.” A bipartisan team of poll workers (one Republican, one Democrat) can take a ballot to a disabled person at the curb outside a polling site so that they can vote. That bipartisan team is a system of checks and balances for voters.

“The transparency is there so they know we do our job every step of the way,” said Pate.

Election Changes

• Voter IDs: Voters will be asked to present identification such as their driver’s license or state voter identification card. If they don’t have either, they can sign an Affidavit of Identity at polling sites this year.

However, beginning Jan. 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to have identification or they will only be allowed to cast provisional ballots.

• E-poll Books: Counties have laptop computers with complete voter information so poll workers can verify people’s voter registrations, if they are at the right precinct, if they have already cast an absentee ballot, and if they are a felon who cannot vote. The computer laptop is in addition to paper copies of this information.

• Merged Elections: Starting Jan. 1, 2019, school elections and city elections will be merged into one election date.

• Straight Party Voting: Iowans can no longer cast “straight party” ballots, they must look at the individual names for each of the offices and cast individual votes.

• Teen Voting: Seventeen-year-olds may cast ballots at June primary elections if they will be 18 and eligible to vote by the November general elections.

• Early Voting: Iowans may cast their ballots during the 29 days of early voting, and 40 percent of Iowans do this.

Election Prediction

Every indicator shows a robust General Election this Nov. 6, said Pate. The high numbers of absentee ballots cast will be substantial.

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